Statistics of Global Ski-Lift Accidents in the Last 20 Years

The March 16 ski-lift accident at one of Georgia’s most famous ski resorts, Gudauri, which left 11 people injured, was covered worldwide, resulting in negative reactions from potential tourists and visitors to the country.

The most-asked question tourists had after the accident was: “How safe are ski-lifts in Georgia?”

Georgia’s authorities claim all the remaining ropeways function properly and are absolutely safe for visitors. In parallel with the launched investigation, the authorities also invited a group of independent, international technical experts to study the situation in detail and produce an unbiased report.

However, many tourists have raised doubts as to whether Georgia can really have high-standard ski resorts like those of leading countries. In Georgia’s favor are the statistics of accidents at world ski resorts over the last 20 years, which show that fatal incidents can occur anywhere, even in the world’s leading countries.

The Illicit Snowboarding reads that Austria is the most deadly place to travel on a ski lift, but the United States leads the way in terms of injuring people and by the sheer number of accidents.

The list of accidents which happened in various cities since 1998 due to ski lift failure is as follows:

3 Feb 1998: Cavalese, Italy: 20 dead

1 Jul 1999: Saint-Etienne en Devoluy, France: 20 dead

26 Dec 1999: Crans Montana, Switzerland: 1 dead, 4 injured

6 Jul 2000: Oberstdorf, Germany: 32 injured

11 Nov 2000: Kaprun, Austria: 155 dead

4 Jan 2001: Powder Ridge, Minnesota, USA: 1 dead

1 Feb 2001: Angels Flight, San Francisco, USA: 1 dead, 7 injured

3 Jan 2003: Arthurs Seat, Melbourne, Australia: 18 injured

19 Oct 2003: Darjeeling, India: 4 dead, 11 injured

2 Apr 2004: Yerevan, Armenia: 3 dead, 6 injured

27 Jul 2004: Abisko National Park, Sweden: 1 dead, 3 injured

5 Sep 2005: Sölden, Austria: 9 dead, 10 injured

24 May 2007: Zillertal, Mayrhofen, Austria: 1 dead, 2 injured

28 Nov 2007: Heavenly, California, USA: 1 dead

2 Mar 2008: Chamonix, France: 1 dead

3 Jan 2008: Grindelwald, Switzerland: 1 dead, 3 injured

16 Dec 2008: Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada: 10 injured

2 Mar 2009: Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain: 17 injured

1 Sep 2009: Heavenly, California, USA: 1 dead, 1 injured

17 Dec 2009: Devil’s Head, Wisconsin, USA: 14 injured

December, 2010: Wyoming, western USA: 2 dead

Dec 2011: Carrabassett Valley, Maine, UK: 8 injured

Jan 2013: Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland: 2 dead

Dec 2014: Hunter Mountain Ski resort, US: 1 dead

Mar 2015: Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, UK: 7 injured

Feb 2016: Timberline Resort, West Virginia, US: 100 people stranded and two injured

Dec 2017: Tussey Mountain, Pennsylvania, US: 100 people stranded and five injured

Regarding the Gudauri incident, six of the 11 injured remain in hospital in the capital Tbilisi. The remaining tourists were discharged the day after the accident with only minor injuries.

Thea Morrison

19 March 2018 17:03