Canadian Ski Racer Nick Zoricic Dies After World Cup Crash

5 years ago

Horror on the slopes once again. There was terrible news out of Switzerland this morning as it was confirmed that Canadian racer Nick Zoricic died after crashing in a World Cup skicross event in Grindelwald, the International Ski Federation said in a statement.

The 29-year-old Zoricic, the second Canadian skier to die this season, suffered severe neurotrauma (which I think means he broke his neck) when he crashed into some safety netting.

In January, 29-year-old freestyle skier Sarah Burke died following a freak training accident on a halfpipe in Utah.

Zoricic crashed directly into nets lining the side of the course after going wide over the final jump. TV cameras captured Zoricic tumbling, his skis and poles thrown clear and  landing lifeless on the slope. (Use caution when watching)

Skier Nick Zoricic Credit Image: © Imago/

The young Canadian from Toronto has raced on the World Cup circuit for more than three years and was competing in his 36th event.

Skicross -- a downhill race of four skiers around hairpin turns and over jumps -- made its Olympic debut in 2010 at the Vancouver Games.

Grindelwald has been a venue on the skicross World Cup circuit since 2005. The Swiss village beneath the Eiger and Jungfrau mountain peaks was hosting a meet for the fifth straight year.

Race organizers canceled the World Cup events at the site for men and women on Saturday, as well as the scheduled Final Sunday at the same venue. They will work with FIS and the Swiss ski federation to analyze the accident and course security.

Christoph Egger, president of the race organizing committee, told The Associated Press . "We are an experienced organizer but, nevertheless, skicross is a sport where four racers fight to win a race. In these circumstances there is a risk to fall or risk of injury, and since today we know there is a risk for death."

America skier Ted Ligety posted a message of condolence for Zoricic on Twitter soon after winning a World Cup giant slalom race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

"Skiing is a great sport that gives but it also takes, sad day to lose Nick Zoricic, you'll be missed bud," Ligety tweeted.

Thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Nick Zoricic and the Canadian Ski Team.

With a slew of recent tragedies, including Zoricic, Burke and snowboarder Kevin Pearce who suffered a career-ending injury, is there anything that can be done to make winter sports safer?


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