Severe ski and snowboarding accidents now twice as common in Switzerland
A new report from the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) has found that accidents in Switzerland’s ski resorts have become more common and more severe in recent years. The number of accidents that involve multiple injuries are now twice as common as they were 15 years ago.
Higher ski speeds make accidents in Switzerland more common
SUVA said that the advent of better ski equipment has made the sport a lot faster in recent years, leading to more severe accidents. In 2019, of the 34.000 snow sports accidents reported, 20 percent of them involved more than one injured body part - double the rate in 2004.
Age groups of 55 and up were the most affected by multiple injuries, with women slightly more affected than men. SUVA says that injuries sustained on Swiss mountains today are more likely to result in an admission to hospital, resulting in longer periods of immobility and higher costs for insurance. Rega, Switzerland's air rescue service, said it had a record year in 2021, with over 18.000 operations to evacuate patients from the Alps.
“Exercise in the fresh air is important for people's health and we certainly don't want to advise against it. However, it is currently crucial to do everything possible to ensure accident-free snow sports days,” said snow sports expert at SUVA, Samuli Aegerter. He explained that the advent of well-groomed slopes and high-quality equipment has made the sport much faster, with serious accidents usually involving the knees and ankles.
How to prepare for skiing in Switzerland
To avoid injuries on the slopes this winter, SUVA has prepared a list of recommendations to help prepare yourself for skiing. They are:
- Warm-up: In order to be optimally prepared for the stresses of skiing and snowboarding, they recommend a warm-up shortly before the first ride.
- On the slopes: Ski according to the conditions, your skiing ability and your level of fitness. Don't try to keep up with your faster friends if you aren't comfortable.
- Speed: Only ski as fast as you can so that you can avoid or brake if you encounter a hazard.
- Stress: Monitor your stress levels and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Fatigue: The faster you ride and the tighter you carve, the greater the stress on your body. Take enough breaks.