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If you're hurt, it's serious injury. If someone else is hurt, it's a statistic. Isn't that how you think? We do. But when we stop being flip and start pondering physical risk, we know there are injuries and there are injuries. Some are no big deal -annoying mini-injuries, boo-boos that with minimal attention pretty much heal themselves, mild sprains, abrasions, and the like. Of far more concern are injuries that would set you back some but heal you totally -torn ligaments, fractures, and so on. Then there's the category of really severe injuries -flight for life stuff- that are long-term debilitating or, worse, fatal.

Despite its image as a risky activity, skiing stacks up surprisingly well compared to other sports. The injury rate for cyclists and in-line skaters is far greater than for skiers, and the fatality rate for snowmobilers and jet-skiers is greater than for skiers and snowboarders.