Celebrity sightings at ski resorts have becoming increasingly common. Every winter, Hollywood stars vacation at premiere skiing destinations for skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more. Seal, Harry Styles, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are among the stars that vacationed at luxury ski resorts in December of 2013. Aspen, Colorado, the French Alps, and Quebec are frequented by the rich and famous because they boast some of the word’s top ski resorts.
The stunning views, charming ski towns, luxury accommodations and one-of-a-kind amenities available at exclusive ski resorts make them an attractive option for celebrities that want to travel. Yet, despite the growing popularity of ski holidays, skiing can be a very dangerous sport. Celebrities have been hurt and some have even died after suffering severe injuries while out on the ski slopes. Safety devices, such as ski helmets, cannot do much to protect those skiing at top speeds. Stars increase their odds of peril by skiing off-piste, The climbing number of star fatalities may be why some now view the sport as a death trap.
Which stars have been injured, or killed, while out on the slopes? Here is a list of unfortunate celebrity ski accidents:
9 Michael Kennedy - 1997
Michael Kennedy died in 1997 after sustaining fatal injuries from colliding into a tree while skiing at the Copper Bowl Ski Run on Aspen Mountain. The son of Robert Kennedy was reportedly playing football on skis with other members of the Kennedy family at the time of the accident. The Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol had cautioned the family that the game was too risky, but they failed to heed the warning. Witnesses told the media that Kennedy later slammed head first into a tree after catching a pass. The coroner said Kennedy died as the result of sustaining massive head and neck trauma. His body was flown back to Massachusetts the next day for burial.
8 Sonny Bono - 1998
Former singing star and California congressman, Sonny Bono, died in 1998 after crashing into a tree at full speed while skiing at the Heavenly Ski Resort in Nevada. The lifeless body of the avid skier was recovered two hours after he was reported missing. Nevada officials claimed Bono died of massive head trauma and speculated that his death was instantaneous upon collision. Bono was on vacation with his wife, Mary Whitaker, and their two children, Chiana, 6, and Chesare, 9. The resort told the media that he had been a regular guest for more than 20 years. Bono famously performed with his then-wife, Cher, in the 1960’s as part of the pop musical duo ‘Sonny & Cher’. Bono and Cher divorced in 1974 and shared one child, Chaz.
7 Doak Walker - 1998
In 1998, football legend Doak Walker was paralyzed after a ski accident at Rocky Mountain Peak in Denver, Colorado. Walker reportedly tumbled while skiing on the slopes at high speeds. Eight months later, the NFL Hall of Famer died, due to medical complications from his paralysis. The Heisman trophy winner gained fame while playing college football for Southern Methodist University and professional football for the Denver Lions. In 1986, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
6 Princess Caroline of Monaco - 2001
Grace Kelly’s daughter, Princess Caroline of Monaco, had to be airlifted off the side of a mountain after injuring her knee in 2001. Her husband, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, initiated a $36k rescue mission after another skier slammed into her at Zeurs in the Austrian Alps. The skier was never identified. The Princess suffered torn knee ligaments as a result of the collision. She was reportedly vacationing with her husband and children at the five- star Loruenser hotel, where they visit annually.
5 Arnold Schwarzenegger - 2006
In 2006, former California Governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger broke his right femur while vacationing with his family at the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho. The ‘Terminator’ star reportedly tripped over his ski pole and sustained the injury. No one else was involved in the accident. Schwarzenegger reportedly owns homes at the resort, which frequently attracts celebrities, and the resort has a ski trail named “Arnold's Run” after the star. His oldest son with Maria Shriver, Michael, made headlines in 2012 after being rushed to the hospital for sustaining an injury at the same resort. After a nasty fall while skiing on the slopes, the teen posted photos on Twitter of a deep gash on his buttocks that required stitches.
4 John McWethy - 2008
Former ABC News national security correspondent, John McWethy, died in a 2008 skiing accident at the Keystone Resort in Colorado. McWethy missed a turn and hit a tree, sustaining massive chest injuries. He and his wife had reportedly just moved to Boulder, Colorado, to live out retirement near the ski slopes and golf courses. McWethy was at the Pentagon when it was struck by an American Airlines passenger plane in 2001, during the September 11 attacks, and continued to report on the events after being evacuated from the building. During his broadcasting career he reported for ‘World News Tonight With Peter Jennings,’ ‘Good Morning America,’ and ‘Nightline’. McWethy is survived by his wife and two sons, Adam and Ian.
3 Natasha Richardson - 2009
British actress Natasha Richardson’s life was tragically cut short on March 19, 2009, after she died from head trauma. The Tony Award winner fell during a beginner’s ski lesson at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec. She was not wearing a skiing helmet, but did not appear to have sustained any injuries initially. An hour later, she fell ill and was eventually flown to New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital when her condition further declined. Her mother, actress Vanessa Redgrave, was among the relatives that hurried to the hospital to be by her side. Husband Liam Neeson spoke out about his grief over his wife’s death during a 60 Minutes interview in February. It was his first interview about Richardson’s fatal accident. The couple married in 1994 and had two son’s together, Michael, 13, and Daniel Jack, 12.
2 Heather Mills - 2011
The ex-wife of ‘Beatles’ singer Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, shattered her shoulder-blade and injured her right knee in 2011 while training for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. The former model competed on 'Dancing with the Stars' in 2007 and stood out due to her leg prosthesis. Mills lost her left leg after being hit by a police motorist in 1993. A few years later (2011) Mills was involved in a ski accident that took place on Moelltaler Glacier in Austria. With a fracture to her right shoulder blade she was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital for treatment. Mills brushed off her injury as being part of the risk of the sport. She was reportedly training in hopes of joining the British skiing team. Mills divorced Sir Paul in 2008 and received a £24.3 million (approximately $40.4 million) settlement. They share a daughter together, Beatrice, 10.
1 Michael Schumacher - 2013
In December of 2013, Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher suffered massive head injuries while skiing at the French Alps at Meribel. The incident occurred while he was skiing on unmarked slopes. Witnesses told the press that Schumacher lost blood for 8 minutes until the paramedics arrived. Though he was wearing a ski helmet, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and was placed in a drug-induced coma after emergency brain surgery to stabilize his condition. Recent reports claim Schumacher has not woken up from the coma and doctors do not believe he will ever make a full recovery. Sources report his wife is building a $16.6 million medical suite for his eventual home care.