Skiing, snowboarding, and sledding injuries in a Northwestern State

Carol S. Federiuk, Jamie L. Schlueter, Annette L. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective - Winter sports continue to be a popular form of recreation, but few studies have focused on serious injuries. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the major morbidity associated with downhill skiing, snowboarding, and sledding and to determine the incidence of serious injuries sustained while downhill skiing and snowboarding. Methods - State trauma registry data from the 1992-93 through 1998-99 ski seasons on all snow sports participants transported to tertiary trauma hospitals in Oregon were analyzed. Results - Of 132 patients, 80% were male and 20% were female, with a mean age of 30.4 ± 15.6 for skiers, 24.1 ± 10.5 for snowboarders, and 18.8 ± 11.9 for sledders. The mean Injury Severity Score was 12.3 ± 7.6 for skiers, 10.3 ± 7.4 for snowboarders, and 12.8 ± 8.5 for sledders. Head injuries accounted for 55% of sledding injuries and 39% of all injuries. Skiers and snowboarders were less likely to have head injuries than sledders (odds ratio [OR] = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21 to 0.98). A higher proportion of injuries sustained by snowboarders were due to falls from heights (29%) compared with injuries sustained by skiers or sledders (OR = 4.8; 95% CI, 1.6 to 13.7). Sledders were more likely to be injured during collisions than were skiers or snowboarders (OR = 16.7; 95% CI, 5.8 to 47.6). The incidence of serious skiing and snowboarding injuries was 6.4 injuries per million visits. There were 4 deaths (3%), 1 each from snowboarding and skiing (head injuries) and 2 from sledding (1 from head and 1 from head and thoracic injuries). Conclusions - Serious snow sports injuries are rare but potentially debilitating. Head injuries account for the majority of deaths and functional impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-249
Number of pages5
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Injury
  • Skiing
  • Sledding
  • Snowboarding
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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