How dangerous is snow boarding really?

4:10 min

A 25-year-old snowboarder died from injuries sustained over the weekend after landing wrong on the way down from a snowboard jump at a popular skiing destination in Dalarna. The man's death threw into question the safety of snowboarding, but most experts say the sport is just as safe as skiing.

Several people die every year in Sweden from accidents sustained on the slopes. Around 11,000 people are sent to the emergency room each year.

Statistics from the Swedish Civil Contingenies Agency show that even though snowboarders only account for 10 percent of all people on the slopes in the country, they make up a third of all injuries here. That gives the impression that snowboarding is more dangerous.

Ants Neo, one of the founders of the now defunct Swedish Snowboard Association, disagrees. "Snowboarding is no more dangerous than skiing, and maybe even less dangerous," he says, adding that what happened in Sälen was likely a case of bad luck.

But he says one thing that snowboarders have to be careful with is their wrists. “I’ve seen a lot of wrist injuries. Both in beginners and very good riders," he says.

A report last year from the National Ski Areas Association in the US found that while snowboarders are more likely to get injured, there is less risk of a serious injury.

That report also showed that the number of head injuries have gone down drastically in the past few years because more people are using helmets.

“The most important thing is to build the jumps correctly because when we have a bad jump the injuries come fast,” says Martin Grönqvist, who manages the slopes at Hammarbybacken, a small ski area just outside of Stockholm.

In several weeks, the winter sport vacation starts so people from all over Sweden will flock to the slopes to enjoy the action. Many say snowboarding is now making a comeback, but nothing suggests that injuries will rise.

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