As the winter sports season reaches its peak in Europe and North America so the toll of deaths and injuries will surely mount.
Every year in the United States alone, an average of just over 40 people lose their lives on the slopes as a result of accidents in skiing and snowboarding, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. National Ski Areas Association.
They are sobering figures and often trotted out when a high-profile celebrity such as actress Natasha Richardson, the victim of a tragic accident in Canada in 2009, is involved.
This was drawn into sharp focus again when Claude Nobs, the 76-year-old founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, died Thursday in a Lausanne hospital following an accident on Christmas Eve.
Even elite level athletes are not immune to the dangers and in the past year World Cup ski cross racer Nik Zoricic and fellow Canadian world championship winning freestyle skier Sarah Burke, have lost their lives.
Regine Cavagnoud of France was the last leading alpine racer to be killed in 2001 and while there have been no deaths since then in alpine skiing World Cup or Olympic competition, there have been numerous sickening crashes.
Austria's Mathias Lanzinger lost control in a men's World Cup downhill at Kvitfjell in Norway in 2008 and had to have his left leg amputated below the knee.
To an extent, that must be a calculated risk for the professionals because competitors in the Olympics or World Cup push themselves to the limit at incredible speed or attempting dangerous flips and turns.
However, nearly every amateur skier will have a tale of someone whose alpine adventure has unfortunately ended up with a stay in the resort medical facility, flying back home with a leg in plaster with months of rehabilitation in prospect.
Over Christmas, Ryder Cup golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez fell victim to a skiing accident, breaking his leg in the Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains and wrecking the early part of his 2013 season.
But are winter sports really any more dangerous than other activities and what measures can be taken to cut down on the risks ?.
Mike Langran, is a Scottish doctor who specializes in skiing safety and related issues and runs a dedicated website which gives advice and updates on the latest developments.
He is also the President of the International Society for Skiing Safety and a Director of the Scottish Snow Sports Safety Study.
Langran is adamant that skiing gets a bad press when it comes to perceptions about safety and quotes international statistics, collated by the ISSS, to back up his claim.
"For snow sports, the average injury rate is 2-3 per 1000 participants on any one day. Compare that to an average game of soccer or rugby where perhaps the same number, or more are injured out of a much smaller number of players," he told CNN.
The most typical winter sports accidents would involve knee sprains, head injuries and shoulder, wrist and lower leg injuries, according to figures on his website.
"With regard to fatalities, in the U.S. during the past 10 years, about 41.5 people have died skiing/snowboarding per year on average. During the 2010/11 season, 47 fatalities occurred out of the 60.5 million skier/snowboarder days reported for the season.
"The rate of fatality converts to 0.78 per million skier/snowboarder visits. Although it's not directly comparable, in the United States in 2009, 2,400 people drowned while swimming in public areas and 800 died while bicycle riding," Langran added.
World governing body FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) is only too aware of the potential dangers for leisure skiers and has produced its top 10 tips for safety on the slopes.
FIS has recommended the use of helmets on the slopes since 2006, but their use remains voluntary, despite the type of accident which befell Richardson.
However, some travel insurance companies now insist they are worn otherwise claims by injured skiers could be invalidated.
"I always recommend skiers and snowboarders to wear an appropriate helmet," said Langran.