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Risk factors for injuries in alpine skiing, telemark skiing and snowboarding – case-control study
  1. Steinar Sulheim1,2,
  2. Ingar Holme2,
  3. Andreas Rødven3,
  4. Arne Ekeland4,
  5. Roald Bahr2
  1. 1Orthopaedic department, SIHF, Gjoevik, Norway
  2. 2Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3Norwegian Ski Lift Association, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4Martina Hansens Hospital, Baerum, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Steinar Sulheim, Orthopaedic department, SIHF, Gjoevik, Norway; steinar.sulheim{at}


Background Alpine skiing and snowboarding have a substantial risk of injuries, but precise risk factor estimates are limited.

Objective To determine the risk factors among skiers and snowboarders.

Study design Case-control study.

Methods Ski patrols reported cases (N=3277) in eight major Norwegian alpine resorts. Injury type and risk factors (age, gender, nationality, skill level, equipment, helmet use, ski school attendance, rented or own equipment) were recorded. An uninjured control group (N=2992) was obtained at the same resorts. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between individual risk factors and risk of injury.

Results The overall injury risk was increased among beginners (OR 2.72; 2.12 to 3.47), children (OR 1.72; 1.41 to 2.13), adolescents (OR 2.16; 1.72 to 2.66) and non-Nordic skiers (OR 1.80; 1.37 to 2.36). Snowboarders had a higher overall injury risk than skiers (OR 2.11; 1.81 to 2.46). Alpine skiers (OR 2.65; 1.47 to 4.80), beginners (OR 2.50; 1.61 to 3.85), children (OR 11.1; 6.7 to 20.0) and adolescents (OR 4.17; 2.44 to 7.14) were prone to lower leg fractures. Knee injuries occurred more frequently among alpine skiers (OR 1.82; 1.39 to 2.38), females (OR 1.67; 1.38 to 2.03) and beginners (OR 3.13; 2.50 to 3.85). Males (OR 1.85; 1.45 to 2.38), telemark skiers (OR 1.70; 1.30 to 2.23), children (OR 2.22; 1.37 to 3.57) and adults (OR 1.64; 1.11 to 2.37) had an increased risk for shoulder injuries.

Conclusions Snowboarders, beginners, children and adolescents had an increased injury risk.

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  • Funding The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center has been established at the Norwegian School Sport Sciences through grants from the Norwegian Eastern Health Corporate, the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture, the Norwegian Olympic Committee & Confederation of Sport, the International Olympic Committee, and Norsk Tipping AS. Data collection was funded by the Norwegian Ski Lift Association.

  • Competing Interests None.

  • Ethical approval The study was based on anonymised data from the Norwegian Ski Lift Association injury and marketing research databases, and ethical approval was not required by the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned, externally peer reviewed.