Ski injury bill over $10m
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.