Background: Annually, in Austria more than 10 million people participate in winter sport activities such as alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and ski touring. About 80 - 90 % of all accidents are caused by a fall without other people involved and about 10 % are caused by collisions between people.
Methods: In the winter season 2011/2012, skiers and snowboarders injured due to a fall or a collision on a ski slope have been interviewed about potential intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors in the Austrian province Vorarlberg.
Results: In total, 1741 people injured by a self-inflicted fall and 137 people injured due to a collision have been interviewed. People injured due to a collision showed more often a head injury (15 vs. 8 %) and more often a concussion (15 vs. 6 %). Furthermore, people injured due to a collision were significantly older (41 vs. 33 years) and showed a higher proportion of skiers (86 vs. 79 %) as well as of higher skilled people (83 vs. 74 %) compared to those injured by a self-inflicted fall. Collisions between sport participants incurred significantly more often on slope intersections (11 vs. 4 %), when more people were on ski slopes (30 vs. 12 %) and when the sun was shining (85 vs. 69 %).
Conclusion: According to the results of this study, preventive recommendations to reduce the risk of a collision include an adaptation of the individual skiing or snowboarding behaviour and the actual speed on skill level, weather conditions and number of other skiers and snowboarders on ski slopes. In addition, influences of adaptive visual information and supervision systems at slope intersections and in relation to weather and traffic conditions should be evaluated.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.