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Significant fall in New Zealand skiing and snowboarding injuries attributed to risk management and education
New Zealand's Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) spent $23.5 million on skiing and snowboarding injuries in 2019 - a 17% fall on the year before - with operators saying well managed risk management and ongoing injury-prevention education are behind the decline.
ACC statistics show 13,179 claims were made by the end of October 2019 for skiing and snowboarding injuries, down 17% on 2018 (when 15,854 claims were made).
It is the lowest number of such claims for five years, although it is expected more will be made before the end of the year.
Reduced numbers at most skifields after last year's record season were partly responsible for the drop, but the industry operators saying their focus on programs to reduce injuries had played a big part.
Paul Anderson, Chief Executive of Queenstown-based NZSki, which runs The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt ski fields, said that while in the past the injury rate had been as high as three per 1000, that number had fallen to less than two skiers in every 1000 suffering injuries this year.
Anderson explains “it is a significant reduction. We are pretty happy with that.”
Advising that the company was widening and adjusting trail routes, particularly where trails merged, and had staff present at trouble areas, Anderson told media "I do think we're getting better at managing those hot spots."
He went on to note there had been two deaths at Coronet Peak this year - one a medical event and the other a "tragic accident" involving former ski instructor Anita Graf.
Advising that overall the season was the second busiest the company had experienced after last year's record season, Anderson added “last year we grew 19%. It wasn't unexpected that it would come off that exceptional year especially when we had that very lean start.”
Cardrona Manager Bridget Legnavsky said the rate of injuries in 2019 was consistent with previous years. About 315,000 people visited the ski area, down slightly from the 325,000 who went in 2018, which had been a "phenomenal" season.
About 40% of the claims made to ACC this year were made in Otago, the Manawatu-Whanganui region was responsible for 12% and Canterbury 14%.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Chief Executive Jono Dean said visitor numbers dropped by about 30,000 at Turoa this year as the area experienced its second warmest July on record.
There were also fewer injuries, which he said was likely due to the reduced number of visitors and greater awareness about safety, which the Company had been working on over three years.
Ski Area Association of New Zealand Chairman Marty Toomey said the season was "incredibly positive" for the industry given the late arrival of snow throughout the country.
ACC has spent $163 million on skiing and snowboarding claims since 2013.
1st December 2019 - Coronet Peak opens chairlifts for summer recreation
25th November 2019 - Mt Hutt named New Zealand’s best ski resort for fifth year
19th September 2019 - NZSki celebrates the return of kea to The Remarkables
19th August 2019 - Research assesses merits of season passes for New Zealand’s ski fields
28th November 2018 - Fiona Boyer appointed to the role of General Manager Customer at NZSki
27th September 2018 - Coronet Peak extends 2018 ski season
25th July 2018 - Cardrona Alpine Resort set to double in size
23rd March 2017 - The Remarkables skifield to install double lift enclosure
3rd November 2016 - NZSki retains 2016 season pass prices for 2017
9th February 2012 - Lake Wanaka named in world’s best ski towns
29th September 2009 - Aussie Skiers Boost New Zealand Tourism
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