How Dangerous Is Snowboarding?

How Dangerous Is Snowboarding?

by Fraser

There’s no denying that snowboarding is an adrenaline-filled sport.

Newbies (and professionals) are often left wondering, just how dangerous is snowboarding?

Whilst snowboarding is usually relatively safe, it can be extremely dangerous at times. Beginners generally sustain more injuries than seasoned snowboarders; however experienced snowboarders often pick up more severe injuries.

In this article, I’ll discuss how dangerous snowboarding is and how you can stay safe on the slopes. Read on!

how dangerous is snowboarding?

How Dangerous Is Snowboarding Really?

Snowboarding is a high-adrenaline sport. This is what makes it so damn fun!

It’s also one of the fastest-growing winter sports in the world. But do snowboarders really know the risks involved?

Snowboarding is dangerous for beginners, particularly those who do not seek proper instruction. Riding too fast may result in loss of control and collisions. Tricks such as jumps, grinds and sharp turns can lead to severe injuries if not landed properly.

But don’t worry!

Whilst this may sound intimidating, the risk of injury is relatively low.

In fact… you’re statistically at higher risk whilst driving to the slopes than whilst actually riding. Check out some of the stats below. 

Is Snowboarding Safer Than Skiing?

Both sports are adrenaline filled, which almost always comes with risk. But is snowboarding safer than skiing? 

A thorough investigation demonstrated that snowboarders are 50-70% more likely to sustain an injury but 33% less likely to die than skiers. This suggests that the overall risk of major injury is lower for snowboarders than for skiers. 

Basically, if you hit the slopes 20-days a season, you’ll sustain a significant injury every 16-20 years [source].

This is reflected in the injury rates:

  • Injury rates for snowboarders are around 4-12 injuries per 1,000 snowboarding days.
  • For skiers, it’s only 3 per 1,000/days.

I know what you’re thinking… “I take a couple of knocks every weekend!”

Venturing into the terrain parks skews the odds of injury against us (as per the below video above). But the overall average odds remain in our favor. 

Are Beginner Snowboarders At Higher Risk Of Injury?

Unfortunately, yes.

Beginner snowboarders are at the highest risk of injury. 

The good news?

Beginners are more likely to sustain relatively minor injuries. Experienced riders have a much lower incidence of injury, but when it does happen, it tends to be much worse. 

Likewise, beginner skiers are injured less, but usually sustain worse injuries than snowboarders. This may be because it’s harder to achieve high speeds on a snowboard as a beginner. 

Learning To Fall Safely As A Beginner Is Essential!

As a beginner, you’ll fall. Often.  

This makes sense when you consider that both of your feet are essentially tied to a wooden plank!

Learning how to fall correctly reduces your risk of injury, particularly wrist dislocations or breaks.

Picking up some protective gear (like impact shorts) will also make the process a hell of a lot less painful! 

Unfortunately, falling and getting hurt is not the only thing to worry about when snowboarding. 

Let’s take a look…

The Risks Of Snowboarding

Like any other sport, snowboarding comes with a few risks.

It’s still totally worth it though (in my humble opinion). 

Snowboarding is a lot of fun and injuries are still relatively rare; just be careful. Remember that you don’t need to impress anyone to have a good time. 

Below are some of the risks associated with snowboarding:

1. Going Too Fast Can Lead To Collisions

Hurtling at top speed is exhilarating, but it makes it way more difficult to stop. Trust me.

Hitting another snowboarder or object could result in serious injuries. In fact, colliding with stationary objects is one of the leading causes of snowboarding fatalities. Keep your eyes open!

2. Losing Control Causes Falls

Falling while snowboarding is unavoidable; whether you are a beginner or a pro. 

Falling might not sound too bad, but it can cause a variety of painful injuries, including sprains, breaks, and concussions. You can get seriously injured if you land wrong or hit your head. 

3. Off-Piste Snowboarding Is Particularly Dangerous

Snowboarding in the backcountry might sound like a great adventure, but it can lead to some serious problems.

The terrain is unkempt, increasing the risk of hidden rocks. There is also the ever present risk of avalanche. 

Reserve your off-piste adventures for when you have a couple of seasons under your belt. Revise these basic avalanche safety tips!

4. Extreme Weather Conditions

The weather in the mountains can change. Fast.

If you’re not careful, you can easily get caught in a storm, stranded on a backcountry mountain in freezing conditions. It doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in. 

It’s essential that you practice caution while on the slopes. Avoid getting stuck in conditions that are too hairy. 

5. Off-Piste Soft Snow Can Pull You Under

Sliding down untouched soft snow might sound like a dream come true (it is). However, this environment is particularly dangerous for snowboarders.

If you fall and are dragged under the snow’s surface, there’s a chance you could get stuck and suffocate. 

Tips for Snowboarding Safety

Feeling the adrenaline pumping through your veins is exhilarating, but staying safe should always be the top priority.

Remember, there is nothing fun about breaking bones (I’ve learned this many times over). 

Make sure you follow the following snow safety guidelines:

  • Master the basic snowboarding skills.
  • Be aware of other snowboarders.
  • Prepare before hitting the slopes.
  • Follow resort guidelines and designated areas.
  • If you do head out of bounds, bring an avalanche transceiver

Let’s discuss these in a little more detail.

1. Practice Essential Snowboarding Skills

If you have never snowboarded before, make sure to take some lessons. 

It is also vital to ensure that you are fit; snowboarding is a high-intensity sport!

Knowing how to fall is essential, it might sound strange, but it will save you a lot of pain in the future. 

A knowledgeable instructor will be able to show you all the proper techniques. Alternatively, here’s a handy article on how to fall when snowboarding.

2. Be Aware Of Other Snowboarders

Vigilance is key. Ensure that you’re always aware of where your fellow snowboarders are. 

Don’t ever stop in the middle of the slope.

Only stop when it is safe to do so. Otherwise, another rider might collide with you.

3. Prepare Before Hitting the Slopes

Always know the weather forecast. Avoid snowboarding if there is a high chance of snowstorms. 

Wear layers and bright colors so that you are easily visible. Make sure your gear is high quality as well as water-repellent. Wear wrist guards and a helmet that fits properly. 

You can also grab some impact shorts before hitting the slopes. These protect your hips, thighs, and tailbone. They are durable and flexible, so you can comfortably wear them under your pants. 

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4. Follow Resort Guidelines And Designated Areas

Snow resorts have designated areas for snowboarding and skiing. These are much safer than heading into the backcountry.

That being said, if you are going backcountry snowboarding, make sure not to go alone and that somebody knows where you are. 

Always have some form of communication with you. It also never hurts to attend a first aid course. 

Final Thoughts

So how dangerous is snowboarding?

Snowboarding can be dangerous, both for beginners and seasoned professionals. The most common injuries for beginners are fractured or dislocated wrists. Professional snowboarders are more likely to pick up severe injuries, as they perform riskier tricks. 

Be cautious when you are out on the snow: watch out for other snowboarders, and don’t go faster than you are comfortable with.

Am I trying to put you off?

Absolutely not!

Snowboarding is incredible. The better you get, the more epic it becomes. As the saying goes, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. 

Where to next?

Well… have you heard about the 9 worst ski resorts in the world?

Happy reading!

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Jace April 28, 2023 - 6:28 pm

yeah ima have to disagree with james

Fraser April 29, 2023 - 3:30 pm

Hey Jace, that’s a shame.

Any pointers on what we can do better?

Jace May 2, 2023 - 6:15 pm

well, first off it would look better if you removed James comment

Shawn Boday May 12, 2023 - 1:11 pm

Agreed! Snowboarding is one of the most exciting and adrenaline-fueled extreme sports out there!

THEREALJAMES May 22, 2023 - 6:11 pm

wow this article would be great if you deleted JAMES COMMENT. #IHATEJAMES!!!

Fraser May 22, 2023 - 6:20 pm

Damn. What did James do to you guys?

Howard Curn May 22, 2023 - 6:28 pm

Me personally I dislike James because he clearly can not spell ” A lot of tіmes it’s very hard
tto get that” As you can see it is not Grammarly correct. #IHATEJAMES

THEREALJAMESFAN May 22, 2023 - 6:21 pm

I cant believe these comments. James has a great opinion on this topic. You guys need to grow up ASAP.

Fraser May 22, 2023 - 6:27 pm

James? That you?

Howard Curn May 22, 2023 - 6:31 pm

Me personally I strongly dislike James because he can’t spell ” A lot of tіmes it’s very hard
tto get that” In this sentence you can clearly see it is not Grammarly correct #IHATEJAMES

Howard Curn May 22, 2023 - 6:40 pm

did not mean to double comment this sorry please remove

THEREALJAMES May 22, 2023 - 6:39 pm

yea thats me, what you going to do about it FRASER. #IHATEJAMES

Howard Curn May 22, 2023 - 6:42 pm

James, why do you hate James?

#NOJAMES May 22, 2023 - 6:46 pm

Personally I think Jame should keep his trap shut

Fraser May 22, 2023 - 7:15 pm

Poor James


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