Exactly Two Months After Sarah Burke’s Death, Another Canadian Skier Dies

Less than two months after the death of 29-year-old Canadian free-skier Sarah Burke, another Canadian free-skier has died in a tragic skiing accident. (See my article, "Olympic Favorite Sarah Burke Dies at 29 Following Training Accident") Canadian skicross racer, Nick Zoricic died on Saturday during a World Cup skicross event. Zoricic's death was the second death of a Canadian skier this year. These closely spaced deaths have many questioning the safety of skiing.

Zoricic's skiing career

Zoricic's career was just off to its start when he fell victim to the accident that claimed his life. Zoricic was born in Sarajevo but emigrated to Canada with his family as a child. Zoricic originally began as an alpine skiier. Zoricic came in fifth places in the 2011 overall standings and had two podium finishes. Skicross has only been part of the winter Olympics since 2010, an addition that Zoricic was likely excited for.

Zoricic's fatal accident

Zoricic died as the result of head injuries following crashing directly into the nets lining the side of the skicross course. Zoricic had attempted to go wide over the final jump of the course, and instead, barreled through the nets and lost his skis and poles. Zoricic was treated by on-site physicians, prior to being airlifted to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead after sustaining severe trauma to the brain. Zoricic, like Sarah Burke, was only 29-years-old at the time of his death.

Zorcic's death raising safety concerns once more

Following Zoricic's death, World Cup organizers canceled the remaining men's and women's events for Saturday, as well as the World Cup Finals which were scheduled to take place on Sunday. Following the death of skier Sarah Burke, many became critical of the safety of winter sports, especially newer additions such as free-skiing and skicross. (See my article, "Sarah Burke's Accident Wasn't the First; Fans Doubt Half-pipe Safety") Despite the close proximity of the two Canadian skiers' deaths, officials are still calling the events "freak accidents."

*Samantha Van Vleet is a former high school athlete and winter sports enthusiast.

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Updated Sunday, Mar 11, 2012