In the ski industry, we all know Channel 4’s ‘The Jump’.  It’s light-hearted, vacuous fun (even if it might be fixed).

But were it not for the number of injuries in recent years, it’s unlikely the show would still be going into its fourth season.

the jump davina

Injuries = Viewers

If there’s one thing that TV executives know, it’s that the press love stories about injured celebrities. And the more stories, the better the viewing figures.

Let’s be honest – while there is some skill on display, the interest in watching ‘The Jump’ is mainly about seeing how many celebrities will be injured during the course of the show.


‘Your chances of getting injured skiing are extremely high’

So when the show’s presenter, Davina McCall, says (in an interview to be screened on the ‘Jonathan Ross Show’, 24 September) that she’s ‘amazed’ that people still want to do the show, we have to agree with her.

But what the hell is she talking about when she says:

“If you think of anybody going away on a ski holiday for a week your chances of getting injured on that holiday are extremely high.”

davina mccall the jump


What do the facts say?

McCall clearly has no idea what a ‘normal’ skiing holiday is like. Typically, no one does the skeleton. Or takes part in skier cross. Or goes off a ski jump.

Maybe her idea of ‘extremely high’ is different. It makes it sound to me that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get injured if you go skiing. Or at least there must be a 75% chance of getting injured.

But what do the facts say?

Not a normal ski holiday

Not a normal ski holiday

Risk of injury comparable to cycling

study by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons looked at the incidence of head injuries treated in US hospital emergency rooms.

Taking into account participation rates, this study showed that the risks of sustaining a head injury in skiing was similar to cycling or American football.



Treadmills more dangerous

This is backed up by a Forbes ranking in 2008 of the top ten sports by injuries. In this case, even running on a treadmill was regarded more dangerous than skiing or snowboarding.













0.001% risk of injury when skiing or snowboarding

In more data from the States, the National Ski Areas Association data for the 2011-12 season showed only 0.001% of visitors suffered a major injury across 1.06 million skier days.

Another study in Norway showed that the overall injury rate among skiers was around 0.9 per 1000 days – in percentage terms that’s exactly the same as the NSAA study with 0.001% of visitors injured.

A further study in Scotland showed that you would have to ski 447 days on average before you would sustain an injury.

Inaccurate and misleading

Based on the evidence – rather than opinion – it’s clear that skiing and snowboarding cannot be regarded as a dangerous sport.

While the risk of injury always exists – as in any active sport – to say the chances of getting injured on a ski holiday is ‘extremely high’ is evidently inaccurate and misleading.

Skiing...not dangerous (even with a dog on your shoulders)

Skiing…not dangerous (even with a dog on your shoulders)

Would TUI sue for loss of revenue?

It could also be argued that spreading these inaccurate views on national television is injurious to the business of UK ski companies.

Larger operators such as TUI could consider suing for loss of revenue.

A case such as this would perhaps come down to proving that McCall is sufficiently ‘influential’. She currently has 2.79 million Twitter followers and promoted her appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show earlier today.

We call on Davina to apologise

We therefore ask Ms McCall on behalf of the ski industry to retract her statement and issue a public apology via social media.

You can encourage Davina McCall to take action by retweeting the Tweet below and by using the hashtag #SaySorryDavina