According to figures published by the assurer SUVA, the cost of winter sports accidents has risen by 70% over the last 15 years.
Around a quarter of Switzerland’s population partake in snow sport.
Every year around 33,000 people living in Switzerland, who are insured for accidents via their employer, are hurt while skiing or snowboarding. The annual cost of all these accidents comes to around CHF 280 million.
The increase is driven by better skis, which make it easier for inexperienced skiers to go fast, better pistes, which make skiers feel safer, and a rise in the average age of skiers – older skiers tend to be in poorer physical condition, so they suffer worse injuries that take longer to heal.
The most common ski injuries involve the lower body (43%), including knees, and the upper body (34%), including shoulders. The most common snowboard injuries involve the upper body (42%) followed by the lower body (25%).
Snowboarders are more than twice as likely as skiers to suffer injury. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 765 injuries per million hours of snowboarding compared to 351 injuries per million hours of skiing.
Between 2012 and 2016, skiing and snowboarding accounted for 18% of all sporting accidents.
The main causes of accidents are excessive speed, poor physical condition, poor technique and a lack of control, insufficient protection, improperly adjusted bindings and not understanding the risks, according to SUVA1.
1 SUVA is Switzerland’s largest accident insurer.