Jo McKenzie-McLean17:00, Aug 04 2020

An avalanche of domestic skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes during the school holidays left 1558 people nursing injuries.

A spike in bumps, breaks and bruises on skifields over the two-week winter break ranged from soft-tissue injuries (1081) and fractures/dislocation (282) to lacerations (54) and concussions (68), according to ACC injury claim figures.

Injuries on skifields around the Queenstown Lakes region accounted for 757 claims.

During the same period last year, 1476 people lodged ACC claims for injuries over the winter school holiday period, including 703 from the Queenstown Lakes region.

A total of 17,935 ACC claims were made last year by skiers and snowboarders who had injured themselves on the slopes.

ACC and the ski industry hope to see that number decrease this year following the launch of an app designed to help the ski industry record and respond to near misses and injuries as soon as possible after they happen.

Mt Ruapehu safety and environment manager Andy Hoyle said the National Incident Database app was launched at the start of the 2020 season and had already become a critical tool for ski area managers.

“With the old database we had to manually enter data from handwritten forms, which was inefficient, and it meant there was a lag between when the data was collected and when we could use it.

“We can also load images to an incident file in case there is a need to look at the site to see if it can be made safer or for investigation purposes.”

The information could help prevent future injuries – for example if a field operator saw there had been several near misses on a particular run, all by inexperienced skiers, they could revise the rating of that run, Hoyle said.

ACC injury prevention leader Kirsten Malpas said ACC helped fund the development of the app.

“Being able to see where injuries are happening is a great way for skifield managers to respond and make decisions that can improve safety … This is the first time they have had access to that fine level of detail,” she said.

“Longer term, there could be potential to use this type of technology in other recreation settings such as mountain bike trails.”

App designed and developed by the Zero Harm team.

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