26 September 2023

Snow goers told take care as injuries soar

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With just over a month left in the snow season, Canberra Health Services is calling for caution as the number of people treated for snow field injuries in the ACT climbed above 70.

Emergency Department Registrar at Canberra Hospital, Dr Karen Peters said that since June the hospital had seen more than five times as many people injured on the snow fields than it did last year when only 13 people were injured during the same period.

“It’s been great to see so many enjoying the snow fields this year,” Dr Peters (pictured) said, “after a couple of tough years of staying home.”

“Being out in nature is great for our wellbeing and a change of scenery can be refreshing,” she said.

“But unfortunately, sometimes people do hurt themselves.”

Dr Peters said injuries at the snow this year ranged from minor to significant trauma and, unfortunately, fatal injuries.

To keep safe at the snow, she recommended saving the alcohol for after skiing: “so you’re less likely to do something too risky and your reactions are quicker if there is a near miss”.

“You should also always wear a helmet for that extra level of protection, just as you would going down a mountain on a bike, stay on the runs at your level, and if you’re very experienced and go off piste, let someone know where you’re heading and when you’re due back,” the doctor said.

“Even a personal location beacon can be a great tool in case of emergency, as it’s often in difficult conditions that ski patrol/mountain rescue are trying to find you.”

She also advised motorists to ‘drive to the conditions’ and think about tiredness on the way to, or from, the snow.

“When skiing or snowboarding, we’re all there to have fun, but it’s no fun to have your day end in a hospital visit,” Dr Peters said.

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