gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Österreich

A comparative study of ski and snowboard injuries

Meeting Abstract

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  • Aleix Vidal - Baqueira-Beret, Pyrenees, Spain

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm001

doi: 10.3205/11esm001, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0018

Veröffentlicht: 24. Oktober 2011

© 2011 Vidal.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Since ski season 1998/99 we have documented 33,351 ski injuries and 5,069 snowboard injuries. During this time frame the number of visitors in our ski resort has been over 10,000,000.

Observing the general slope population in our Ski Resort the vast majority were downhill skiers (86%), snowboarders representing 12%.

In this retrospective study 72% of injured snowboarders were male while in downhill ski males accounted for 53%. Age distribution showed that snowboarders were younger in comparison to skiers (average age for snowboarders was 25 years old compared to 35 years old for skiers).

The incidence of injury during these 13 consecutive seasons (1999–2011) was 2.51 per 1,000 downhill skiers and 5.29 per 1,000 snowboarders.

According to anatomy, alpine lower extremities ski injuries showed to be more common compared to upper extremities (66% versus 34%), however lower extremity injuries in snowboarding showed to be less common than upper extremities (33% versus 67%).

For both alpine ski and snowboard injuries the most common diagnosis was “contusion”, being “contusion in upper extremities” the foremost diagnosis in the contusion category (30% for skiers and 39% for snowboarders).

After contusions, “Knee Ligament Injuries” represented the second most frequent diagnosis with an incidence of 22% of the total alpine ski injuries and 9% in snowboarding accidents. Generally speaking, the third most common diagnosis was “Contusion in Lower Extremities”, representing 15% of the total diagnosis for each speciality.

“Contusions in Head/Face” in snowboarders were 13% versus 6% in skiers.

We observed the reverse numbers for “Trunk Contusions” (6% in snowboarders versus 13% in skiers).

“Skier’s Thumb” represented 9% of total injuries in the ski group and 3% for snowboard.

“Wrist and Forearm Fractures” were seen in 6% of the snowboard and 2% in the skier groups.

Analyzing the specific diagnosis “ACL Injury” we observed it was more common in skiers while “Simple Knee Sprain” and “MCL Injury” were more prevalent in snowboarders.

Although “Extremity Fractures” is almost exclusive to skiers, “Wrist and Forearm Fractures” usually were observed in the snowboarding group.

Interestingly enough looking at “Shoulder Girdle Injuries” Gleno-Humeral Dislocations tended to be associated with Great-Tuberosity Fractures in alpine skiers, nevertheless, Acromio-Clavicular Dislocations tended to be more widespread in snowboarders.

Studying A-C Dislocation and Clavicle Fractures we observed that the proportion of incidence for both diagnosis was comparable between skiers and snowboarders.

The same was true for Skier’s Thumb; although the injury totals are completely different, the degree of injury was corresponding between both groups.

When speaking of collisions snowboarders are most likely to collide against an object or another snowboarder. While skiers most commonly collide with other skiers.