Journal Published Online: 02 May 2005
Volume 2, Issue 5

Injury Rates and Injury Types in Alpine Skiing, Telemarking, and Snowboarding



A central ski patrol-based registration of skiing and snowboarding injuries was performed by the Norwegian Ski Lift Association during the winter seasons 2000/2001 and 2001/2002. A control material of 3002 randomly sampled uninjured skiers was collected from the same ski resorts throughout the 2001–2002 season.

6138 injured skiers/snowboarders and 4 167 476 skier/snowboarder days were recorded during the two seasons, giving an injury rate of 1.5 injured per 1000 skier/snowboarder days. Most of the injuries occurred during alpine skiing (49%) and snowboarding (45%), whereas telemark skiing accounted for 6% of the injuries. The injury rate for snowboarders (2.3 injuries per 1000 skier days) was significantly higher than that of alpine skiers (1.1) and telemarkers (0.7) (P < 0.001). Wrist injuries were common among injured snowboarders (26%) compared to only 4% for alpine and telemark skiers (P < 0.001). Snowboarders also suffered more arm and back injuries than alpine skiers and telemarkers (P < 0.001). The knee was the main injury location in alpine skiers (28%) compared to 13% among telemarkers and only 6% among snowboarders (P < 0.001), but the percentage of knee injuries was almost twice as high for females compared to males in alpine skiers and snowboarders (P < 0.001).

As percent of all injuries injured snowboarders suffered more fractures (33%) than alpine (20%) and telemark skiers (19%) (P < 0.001), but fracture of the lower leg was uncommon among snowboarders (1%) and telemarkers (3%) compared to alpine skiers (6%) (P < 0.001). Lower leg fractures accounted for 3% of the injured alpine skiers 20 years and older compared to 5% for adolescents aged 13–19 years and 17% for children 12 years and younger (P < 0.001).

Beginners had an injury rate 3 times that of expert skiers/snowboarders (P < 0.001), and use of a protective helmet reduced the injury rate P < 0.001).

In conclusion, snowboarders had a higher injury rate then alpine skiers and telemarkers. Beginners had an injury rate 3 times that of experts, and use of protective helmet reduced the injury rate. Injured alpine skiers were most prone to knee injuries, and lower leg fractures were still a common injury in children. Injured snowboarders were most prone to suffer wrist, arm, and back injuries. The percentage of knee injuries among females was almost twice that of males in alpine skiers and snowboarders.

Author Information

Ekeland, A
Martina Hansens Hospital, Baerum, Norway
Sulheim, S
Orthopaedic Center, Ullevaal University Hospital and Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Oslo, Norway
Rodven, A
Norwegian Ski Lift Association, Oslo, Norway
Pages: 9
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JAI12526
ISSN: 1546-962X
DOI: 10.1520/JAI12526