[Safety requirements and risk factors of skiers and snowboarders]

Sportverletz Sportschaden. 2009 Mar;23(1):41-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1109075. Epub 2009 Mar 20.
[Article in German]


Background: Injuries in leisure sports, especially with skiers and snowboarders are a challenge for medicine as well as for economy. The risk of getting injured depends not only on the performed sport but also on the individual readiness to take a risk and the worn safety devices.

Material and method: 663 persons performing leisure sports in an alpine ski resort were questioned concerning their individual readiness to take a risk and need for security. It was distinguished between skiers and snowboarders. Also the worn safety devices as well as the reasons for and against the use of safety devices were asked. As safety devices helmets, back protectors, wrist guards, knee-, shin- and elbow pads were considered. There were also questions about the behaviour on the ski slope and injuries so far.

Results: 52.5 % of all questioned persons are skiers, 36.0 % snowboarders, 11.5 % practise both sports. Safety devices are widely accepted in leisure sports: 78.1 % of all persons questioned wear at least one device. 76.8 % wear it for their own safety. The most common reason against safety devices are "lack of need" with 59.6 %. 28 % mentioned lack of comfort. Males show a significantly riskier behaviour on ski piste than females, 7 versus 5 on an analogue scale 0 - 10. After all 47.2 % of all persons have suffered from an injury, which needed medical treatment. In 75.7 % the cause was a fall, 14,7 % were results of a collision. In this context 49.5 % would appreciate the introduction of a ski slope controller. 90.5 % deny the consumption of alcohol while performing their sport and 78.4 % consider the consumption of alcohol as a risk either for themselves or for others.

Conclusion: Our study shows a broad acceptance of safety devices in leisure sport. A lot of studies have proved the value of helmets to prevent injuries. The introduction of mandatory helmets at least for children and juveniles in alpine sports would be well accepted. Males show a significantly riskier behaviour on ski pistes than females. Efficient controls on ski pistes to avoid ruthless behaviour would be appreciated and declined by equal numbers.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protective Clothing*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Skiing / injuries*
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult