Table 5

Qualitative content analysis: generalised quote categories and example quotes of the top five perceived injury risk factor categories derived from the interviews

Risk factor and quote categoriesExample quotes
System ski, plate, binding, boot
 System is too aggressive in ski–snow interaction“The system ski, boot, binding, plate is too aggressive and there should be more room for mistakes”
 System is too direct in force transmission to the body“It is always tried to make the force transmission more direct … but this development could go at the expense of safety”
 System is difficult to control“It happens often, that if you lose the grip on the outer ski the inner ski catches the edge and catapults you out of the turn”
 System has a strong self-dynamic/self-steering behaviour“If the equipment is once out of control, it develops a certain self-dynamic behaviour and the athlete does not get rid of the edge”
Changing snow conditions
 Changing conditions from run to run make it difficult for the athletes to adapt“Every injected slope is different making it hard to have the proper equipment”
 Changing conditions within one run make it difficult for the athletes to adapt“A mix of injected and aggressive snow on the same slope is a problem for injury as it is hard to setup the equipment for both situations”
 Changing conditions due to bib-number can be a safety problem“Changes of the slope during the race mainly affect racers with lower levels”
Speed and course setting aspects
 Speed in combination with small turn radii is dangerous“Speed in combination with tight turns is more dangerous than a more opened turn at high speed”
 Speed in combination with small turn radii leads to higher forces“As result of the high turn speed, there are acting high external forces”
 Speed in turns is higher today than in the past“The increase of turn speed was in the last few years disproportionately higher than the increase in athletes’ strength”
 Speed can be controlled through course setting“Speed control must be done by course setting”
 Speed control through course setting can be problematic“A tighter course set does not decrease the risk, since forces are increased. Therefore, speed reduction by course setting is not wise”
 Speed cannot be controlled through course setting in every case“Speed control through tighter course setting is useless as long as the athlete is still able to carve the tighter radius”
Physical aspects
 High fitness level is important to reduce injury risk“Physical training is very important for athletes to avoid injuries”
 Athletes’ fitness levels are not always sufficient“A lot of younger athletes (women in particular) don't get enough time to work on their conditioning as they are selected at young age and have pressure to move up in the ranks”
 Athletes’ fitness levels are already at the limit and cannot be further improved“The physical conditioning of the human body reaches its limit earlier than the equipment development”
 Forces acting on the body are too high and must be reduced“The forces are too high for the human body and should be reduced in reasonable degree”
 Too specialised physical training is a safety problem“Physical training usually aims on reaching with a minimal effort a maximum for the competition, so that there are reserves left”
Speed in general
 High speed increases the ‘destructive potential’ of the energy involved“Crashes at high speed lead more frequently to injuries than crashes at low speed”
 Constantly high speed over a long sector is a injury risk factor“The factor speed is a huge problem, especially a constantly high speed, which deceives the senses”
 Speed in general should be lowered for safety reasons“A speed reduction of 20–30km/h would make sense”