In the winter season 1995/96 approximately 8 million skiers and snowboarders took part in these sports on Austrian slopes (7.4 million skiers, 0.7 million snowboarders) . Two-thirds of these were visitors from abroad. In the same period, some 70 000 skiers and 8000 snowboarders were injured so seriously that they required medical treatment . The purpose of this study is to evaluate and analyze risk factors involved in skiing and snowboarding and to derive preventative measures. Between January and March 1997, 160 injured skiers and 102 injured snowboarders were interviewed in four Austrian hospitals. As control groups, 750 skiers and 750 snowboarders were questioned directly on the slopes in four ski areas. A comparison between the injured and the noninjured groups enabled relevant risk factors to be identified. This study shows that skiers and snowboarders have different risk factors. These differences should be considered when developing preventive measures.
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