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Stay safe on the slopes this ski season

ACC media release

27 June 2013

Stay safe on the slopes this ski season

As the New Zealand ski season, which traditionally runs between June and October, gets into full gear, ACC is urging Kiwis to take steps to avoid joining the thousands of people who were injured on the slopes last year.

ACC’s Programme Manager Sport, Isaac Carlson, says “New Zealand is blessed with easy access to prime skifields, making it a paradise for those who enjoy the thrill and challenge of winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

“While these are fantastic ways to keep active and enjoy our great outdoors, it’s important to remember that these are physically demanding activities which often involve challenging terrain – so following safety guidelines is a must.”

Last year, ACC received over 13,000 claims for injuries resulting from skiing and snowboarding.

“While the majority of claims were for minor, soft tissue injuries such as bruising, sprains and strains, there were also significant numbers of claims for more serious injuries such as fractures, dislocations and head injuries.  Common causes of injuries on the skifield are falls and collisions.”

The total cost of skiing and snowboarding injuries in 2012 was $18.2 million.

To reduce the risk of injury, Mr Carlson recommends the following:
·        warm up before you start skiing or snowboarding, as you would before any physical activity
·        ideally, get lessons from a qualified instructor - they can teach you important techniques such as how to fall safely.
·        make sure you’re familiar with, and you follow, the ‘Snow responsibility Code’, endorsed by the New Zealand Snow Sports Council.

Snow responsibility code

1.  Stay in control at all times
Know your ability, start easy, be able to stop and avoid other people.

2.  People below you have the right of way
The skier or boarder downhill of you has the right of way, also look above before entering a trail.

3.  Obey all ski area signage
Signs are there fore your safety, keep out of closed areas.

4.  Look before you leap
Scope jumps first, ensure the area is clear of others, use a spotter on blind jumps.

5.  Stop where you can be seen
When stopping, try to move to the side of the trail and where you can be seen from above.

6.  Don’t lose what you use
Equipment must be secured while walking or stashing.

7.  Stay on scene
If you are involved in, or witness, an accident, remain at the scene and identify yourself to Ski Patrol.

8.  Respect gets respect
From the lift line, to the slopes and through the park.

ACC claim statistics 2012

Skiing-related injury claims – 7,623

Top four skiing-related injuries:
Soft tissue injuries (bruises, sprains, strains) – approx 78% of claims
Fractures/dislocations – approx 12% of claims
Lacerations/puncture wounds – approx 3% of claims
Concussion – approx 3% of claims

Snowboarding-related claims – 5,402

Top four snowboarding-related injuries:
Soft tissue injuries (bruises, sprains, strains) – approx 67% of claims
Fractures/dislocations – approx 22% of claims
Concussion – approx 5% of claims
Lacerations/puncture wounds – approx 4% of claims


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