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Ski and snowboard injuries climb each year 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver



Ski and snowboard season has barely started but local health authorities have already experienced their first severed spine from a young man who committed to a jump he couldn’t land.

Dr. David Evans, Vancouver Coastal Health’s regional medical trauma director, said officials still can’t understand why the number of on-mountain injuries continues to rise each year.

Stats from three Lower Mainland hospitals — including Lion’s Gate on the North Shore, where such injuries are commonly treated — show the number of related injuries increased to 1,070 last season, up from 615 three years ago.

“There’s a preponderance of young males, ages 11 to 19 is a big category, 80% of them (the injured people) are guys,” he said Thursday.

“That’s the demographic of what’s doing the boarding or skiing. Most of them are extremity fractures.”

Last week, Evans said a young man in Whistler was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital after severing his spine following a jump.

“It was just a lot of big air. It was a long horizontal and a high vertical component to the jump. It was a jump and just didn’t land right.”

Tim Jones, North Shore Search and Rescue team leader, said watching your back is the top safety precaution recreation skiers and snowboarders must be aware of.

“You cannot get yourself into a position where you’re going to get hit from behind by a snowboarder or skier travelling at high speed,” he said.

“If you’re going to stop, move off to the very side of the ski run, don’t be in mid-snow.”

He added beginners being pressured onto more difficult runs is another reason people are injured.

“Peer pressure will put a lot of young skiers and snowboarders to do things they shouldn’t be done,” Jones said. “Know your skill level.”


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