Profiling Australian Snowsport Injuries: A snapshot from the Snowy Mountains
Snowsport tourism provides a major economic contribution to the regional areas surrounding the major resorts in Australia. Barriers to participation in snowsport are that people perceive snowsports as dangerous and fear of being injured. Understanding snowsport injuries will help managers to diminish the risk of injuries and marketers to address perceptions of danger. This descriptive study explored snowsport-related injuries to participants aged eighteen years and older in the Snowy Mountains, Australia, over thirty-one days during winter 2006. Of 497 skiers surveyed, 76.3% were visiting the area for a holiday, while 16.9% were working in the area for the snow season; 45% were women, 55.0% were men; 33.2% were aged 18-24 years; with 49.3% being alpine skiers and 46.1% snowboarders. For skiers the main injury was to the knee (75.6%), while for snowboarders the wrist was the main injury location (84.6%). The primary location where injuries occurred was on-piste at the resort (47.5%) with the main mechanism of injury being falling over (38.2%). Most injuries, as reported by the respondents, were either bruises or sprains (72.0%). Most people did not wear any protective equipment while participating (73.2%). Of the two main activity groups, skiers had the highest proportion who did not wear any protective equipment (78.8%) while snowboarders were most likely to wear helmets (18.8%). Results from this study will be useful to inform future snowsport safety messages and strategies that target various factors that may contribute to snowsport injuries including behaviours and attitudes before and during participation.