Safety urged on ski slopes over holidays

Otago Olympians are encouraging New Zealanders to stay within their limits on the skifields over the school holidays.

A report by the ACC showed the Otago region had the highest number of snow-related injuries last year, with 6388 skiing and snowboarding claims.

This was almost half the total 13,304 claims made across the country.

To help lower this number, skier Nico Porteous and snowboarder Cool Wakushima partnered with the ACC and the Ski Area Association of New Zealand (SAANZ) to ask snowsports enthusiasts to "Have a Hmmm" before hitting the slopes this holidays.

In a video released by the ACC, the athletes listed safety tips for both skiing and snowboarding.

Young Kiwis hit the slopes during the school holidays. PHOTO: CARDRONA ALPINE RESORT
Young Kiwis hit the slopes during the school holidays. PHOTO: CARDRONA ALPINE RESORT
"We’re all out here to make the most of the day, but make sure to keep your energy levels up," Wakushima said.

"I love a hot choccy between runs," she said.

Porteous said his "No 1 tip" was to "look before you leap".

"Check out the feature and make sure that it’s within your ability."

Both athletes reminded the public to "have fun" while following the safety tips.

All New Zealanders should follow Porteous’ and Wakushima’s tips this season, ACC injury prevention programme leader James Whitaker said.

"Hitting the slopes with friends and family is one of the most wonderful things you can do in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"We want everyone to embrace that and enjoy this winter season on the slopes safely so they can keep doing what they love."

He urged the public to be mindful of others, especially during busy periods such as the school holidays.

"If we get injured on the slopes, it can significantly affect our lives as well as the lives of friends, family and workmates too."

Otago had had the most snow-related injuries in the country since 2014, Mr Whitaker said.

Soft-tissue injuries were the most common, fractures and dislocations coming second and third.

There had already been 33 snowboarding-related claims and 89 skiing-related claims in Otago this year.

His tips for those hitting the slopes were to complete a warm-up and stretch beforehand, Mr Whitaker said.

"That will get your legs warmed up and ready for your first run of the day."

He also recommended people follow the snow safety code, wear the right gear, leave room for others, check the conditions, take it easy the first few runs and pay attention to their energy levels.

"It’s a busy time of year on ski slopes all around New Zealand.

"Know your limits and enjoy the mountain in a safe and respectful way so that everyone goes home happy and injury-free."