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Thrills not spills

Friday August 11, 2006

Thrills not spills

With a phenomenal ski season upon us and record amounts of the white stuff, kiwis are heading for the hills in droves for their annual dose of snow sports action.

But with the mountain thrills also come the costly spills - sprains, fractures and broken bones caused by skiing and snowboarding accidents – many of which are avoidable.

So it is timely then that ACC’s National Safety NZ Week, a national initiative targeted at all sectors of the community, kicks off on Monday (August 14).

As part of National Safety NZ Week, the New Zealand Snow Industries Federation (NZSIF), Ski Areas Association NZ, NZ Mountain Safety Council and ACC have joined forces and launched the annual 2006 Injury Prevention Programme educating skiers and snowboarders about safety on the slopes.

According to ACC statistics, snow sports ranks as the fifth most costly sport for ACC ahead of both rugby league and horse riding.

Snow sport injuries are relatively severe. For the 2005/2006 financial year, ACC received 973 new snow sport entitlement claims with an average cost of $5,780. An entitlement claim means that a person sustained a moderate to severe injury sufficient for them to require a week or more off work.

NZSIF spokesperson Miles Davidson says an integral part of the injury prevention programme is the promotion of protective equipment.

“Snow sports involve a whole lot of people speeding around on a slippery and often unforgiving surface. The effectiveness of protective gear such as wrist guards and helmets should never be underestimated.

“Our aim is to raise the awareness of the benefits of wrist guards and helmets and increase the number of people using them on the slopes.

“Mountain safety cannot be taken for granted and the rules are simple – shop where you get the best before- and after-sales service. Getting your gear checked pre-season is the best safety investment you can make and many shops will do a check for free.”

Davidson says before hitting the slopes you should ensure your bindings have been checked and calibrated, your boots checked for correct fit and any damage, and you have protective equipment such as wrist-guards and helmets.

“Be wary of buying second hand on the Internet or in gear sales. Shop at a reputable retailer for the right gear for you, for the best after sales service, free fitting and servicing and warranties.”

As part of their involvement in National Safety NZ Week, all NZSIF retail store members are running an in-store competition with the first prize being $500 towards a snow sports equipment purchase and consolation prizes including 500 free binding checks and five pairs of wrist guards.


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