Snowboarding is a growth sport and its participants are competing with downhill skiing for a share of the piste (or ski field). The totally different style of the snowboarders, their age, and their desire to perform tricks make them an additional, at-risk group using a ski field. Because there are now a number of competing piste users, it is important to delineate injury rates from ski field rate (incorporating all people on the ski field), or skier rate—that is, those participating in downhill skiing, or snowboarders. The increase in telemark skiing—spreading from its origins in Norway—will add another dimension to the piste competition, and another subgroup of ski field injuries.
Snowboarders present different injury patterns, having almost the same incidence of leg and arm injuries, compared with downhill skiers, who sustain almost twice as many leg as arm injuries. The injured snowboarder is younger than the injured skier, and the snowboarder is more likely to be male. Regrettably, the New Zealand data do not allow an analysis of injury rates for snowboarders because the composition of the total snowboarding population is unknown.
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