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The total number of skiers is assessed at 200 million. Approximately 2 to 3 million new skiers join these annually. The injury rate per season is 1 to 2% on average. Comparatively speaking, this is low, but as an absolute figure it is high, “3 million.”
This circumstance places a moral obligation on the International Skiing Federation (FIS) and other institutions to pay increasing attention to safety factors in skiing. Seventeen of the total 48 FIS committees are, in fact, concerned with safety problems. For three of these, the Medical Committee, the Equipment Committee, and the Legal and Safety Committee, these safety factors are the main concern.
Two major fields must be taken into consideration: recreational skiing and competitive sport in its various forms and its classifications according to sex and age, and the related aspects. The committees have drawn up rules, modes of conduct, tips and recommendations pertinent to both fields and have published these and made them compulsory for competitive events. In addition, proposals have been made with regard to equipment, piste markings, conduct at lifts, rescue work, and various preventive measures.
In the 60th year of its existence and in full awareness of the responsibility borne by an international federation of this kind, the FIS and its committees can pride themselves on having paid a major contribution to safety in skiing. In the future, the federation will continue to give priority to these tasks.
skiing, medical organizations, safety measures, prevention
Professor, University of Innsbruck,