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Accid Anal Prev. 2011 Jul;43(4):1421-6. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.02.018. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Accident prevention on ski slopes - Perceptions of safety and knowledge of existing rules.

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  • 1Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Fuerstenweg 185, A-6020 Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. Carolin.Hildebrandt@uibk.ac.at


Increases in the numbers of people participating in snow sports raise safety concerns. Despite declining numbers of skiing injuries among recreational skiers, collisions resulting in severe injuries appear to be on the rise. Skiers' risk of injury depends on a considerable number of different factors but only a few studies have investigated risk-taking behaviour and knowledge of proper skiing behaviour. To promote safe skiing the International Ski Federation (FIS) introduced regulations in 1967. We investigated participants' familiarity with the FIS regulations on the ski slopes in relation to age, skiing ability and country of origin. Random interviews were conducted with 1450 recreational skiers at 17 ski resorts in Tyrol, an Austrian province. A questionnaire assessing skiers' knowledge of existing rules, their intuitive behaviour in given situations and perceptions of safety was developed. The study revealed that beginners, young skiers and those who were not local residents displayed insufficient knowledge. Risk-inducing situations that could result in collisions, such as moving upwards during carving, were largely assessed incorrectly. Appropriate intuitive behaviour increases with experience, and beginners are less able to implement FIS regulations than more experienced skiers. Ski resorts, the media and schools should direct educational efforts toward these high-risk groups. More research is needed to determine the causal connection between skiing injuries and disregard of the FIS Rules.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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