With France rumoured to reopen its borders to British holidaymakers, hundreds of thousands of Britons are waiting anxiously for confirmation of their February half-term ski holidays. France has long held the crown of being the UK’s most popular winter sports destination with over a million people taking part in skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports each year.

While these pastimes are widely enjoyed, these extreme sports do carry a real possibility of severe injuries. More than one million people have been injured over the last decade while participating in winter sports, including 101,000 people in 2019 alone. And despite popular belief, you don’t need to be an elite winter sport athlete to get injured.

Skiing and snowboarding account for the largest percentages of injury, at 27 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, comprising over half (52 per cent) of all winter sports injuries. Others high up on the list include ice skating, sledding, and ice hockey. The age group which accounts for the most injuries (64 per cent) is the 10-to-29 bracket.

Common injuries

Being aware of the most common injuries sustained from winter sports can help to identify potential risks and treat injuries appropriately if they occur.

  • Head injuries, including concussion, which can be recognised by blurred vision, headache, confusion, dizziness, and vomiting
  • Neck and shoulder injuries such as whiplash
  • Wrist strains and sprains
  • Dislocated or broken elbow
  • Torn, fractured, or broken knee, and ACL/PCL/MCL tears
  • Spinal injuries
  • Ankle sprain or fracture
  • Finger fractures
  • Skier’s Thumb, a torn ligament of the thumb

Because cold weather causes the body to conserve heat, sending blood to our core organs, the blood vessels in the extremities constrict meaning injuries tend to hurt more in cold temperatures by increasing nerve sensitivity.

Causes of accident

  • Unsuitable, poorly maintained, or defective equipment
  • Lack of personal protective equipment
  • Negligence of other participants which may result in collisions between skiiers and snowboarders
  • Poor tuition
  • Defective or poorly maintained ski lifts and machinery
  • Serious weather conditions

Making a claim

Sustaining a serious or catastrophic winter sports injury can be life-changing. While all the appropriate preventative measures can be taken, accidents can still happen, and in these cases, it’s vital that the accident and your injuries are documented.

If you sustain an injury as a result of defective equipment, poor training, as a result of someone else’s’ negligence and lack of care, it may be possible to make a sports injury claim. In the event of an accident, it is vital to firstly seek medical treatment and advice.

Once the accident and injuries have been documented, you should consider contacting a legal expert who specialises in personal and catastrophic injuries. Our highly skilled solicitors have over 20 years’ experience working in the Claimant personal injury sector to lead and support you through the claim and compensation process smoothly. Injury claims can be complex, especially if an injury is sustained abroad which may change the way a claim can be pursued.

To talk to one of our lead solicitors, such as Christine or Lucy, or get in touch via our website.