Ski in­jury bill over $10m

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Ski­ing ac­ci­dents have al­ready cost the tax­payer over $10 mil­lion this win­ter as thou­sands of peo­ple make claims for ski and snow­board-re­lated in­juries.

In Queen­stown-Lakes Dis­trict, 2000 peo­ple had al­ready lodged claims with ACC this year at a cost of over $2.5m, statis­tics re­leased to Fair­fax show.

Across the coun­try, 4842 claims have been lodged so far in 2016, at a cost of over $10m.

Those num­bers are ex­pected to rise as the win­ter snow sea­son con­tin­ues.

Last year 14,743 claims were made in to­tal, amount­ing to over $22m.

The fig­ures show a con­tin­u­ous rise in claims for the Queen­stown-Lakes area over the past five years.

The most se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents at­tended by the Otago Re­gional Res­cue He­li­copter in­cluded an 8-year old boy who sus­tained se­ri­ous head in­juries in a ski­ing ac­ci­dent on July 29, while a 13-year-old boy suf­fered se­ri­ous head and limb in­juries on July 22.

The res­cue he­li­copter had been called to eight ac­ci­dents since the Queen­stown ski sea­son opened at Coronet Peak and The Re­mark­ables in June.

An ACC spokes­woman said most ski­ing and snow­board­ing in­juries were mi­nor, but more se­ri­ous in­juries like frac­tures, dis­lo­ca­tions and head in­juries could be avoided.

The in­crease in claims was likely due to greater par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sport.

The top five sport-re­lated in­jury claims in any given year were gen­er­ally rugby union, soc­cer, fit­ness train­ing, net­ball and cy­cling, she said.

‘‘This is pri­mar­ily due to higher par­tic­i­pa­tion rates in these ac­tiv­i­ties.’’

NZSki chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul An­der­son said both Coronet Peak and The Re­mark­ables reg­u­larly mon­i­tored and changed trail routes to avoid col­li­sions.

His records showed a de­cline in in­juries over the past few years. He sus­pected ski of­fi­cials were not be­ing made aware of some in­juries.

‘‘You don’t get as many col­li­sions as you would ex­pect,’’ An­der­son said.

NZSki has in­tro­duced a five­day be­gin­ners pack, which pro­vides train­ing on ski­ing safety and a dis­counted sea­sons pass.

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