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This paper compares snowboarding injuries on alpine ski slopes with downhill skiing injuries. Such information is essential in determining the risks and injury patterns of the sport, the relative safety of the sport, what standards might be needed to regulate the equipment and the sport, the risk for insurance purposes, and so forth.
Information on snowboard-related injuries was gathered during the 1985/1986 season at three ski areas in the United States. The data were analyzed with respect to demographic variables (age, gender, weight, and so forth) as well as injury variables (part of body, type of injury, possible injury mechanisms, and so forth). Comparisons were made to alpine ski injury data, including the injury rate.
The results indicate that the overall rate for snowboarding is comparable to alpine skiing. Relatively speaking, snowboarding has more ankle, wrist, hand, and finger injuries, and fewer knee injuries than alpine skiing. The distributions for upper and lower extremity injuries is about the same. In snowboarding, almost twice as many lower extremity injuries are to the left leg as opposed to the right leg.
snowboarding, alpine skiing, injuries
Professor of industrial engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Vice-president, The Burton Corporation, Manchester Center, VT