Objective: To identify injuries and profile the characteristics of injured skiers and snowboarders younger than 18 years of age in Southern Alberta, Canada.
Design: Case-series over one year.
Participants: Injured skiers and snowboarders younger than 18 years of age presenting to the ski patrol members at each of seven ski areas in Southern Alberta.
Main outcome measures: Information on injured individuals reporting to the ski patrol at the involved areas was documented on a standardized injury reporting form. Anonymous information was then copied and sent to the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre, where the data were analyzed. Proportions of injured skiers and snowboarders with specific characteristics or participating in specific environmental conditions are presented.
Results: There were a total of 832 (60.0%) injury reports filed for skiers and 557 (40.1%) for snowboarders, reflecting 1,635 separate injuries. Head injuries were the most frequently reported (19.1% of all regional injuries). The most commonly injured region was the knee among skiers (n = 213; 22.8%) and the wrist among snowboarders (n = 173; 27.8%). Lower extremity injuries in skiers and upper extremity injuries in snowboarders were most common. Younger male skiers and snowboarders reported high proportions of head, neck, and back injuries.
Conclusion: The lower extremity in skiers and the upper extremity in snowboarders were most susceptible to injury. A cause for concern is the high proportion of head injuries reported for both male skiers and snowboarders of younger age groups. Further study into protective equipment design and function is required.