Infographic on Olympic Winter Sports Injuries

Winter Games Accidents – An infographic by the team at Paul Rooney Personal Injury Solicitors

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Vanessa Mae in Sochi

Vanessa MaeWatching Vanessa Mae, clearly an outstanding skier, navigating the Giant Slalom circuit in the Sochi Olympics just reminds me what a gulf exists between professional ski racers and the likes of us weekend skiers. Mae’s diminutive size is obviously one factor in her being something over 30 seconds off the pace, but I am always astonished at how hard some of the circuits are. The steepness of the descent is not so obvious on TV, nor how often the surface is so icy an average skier wouldn’t be able to get any edge on it at all. Visiting runs like the Lauberhorn also fails to alert you to the fact that these runs are deliberately made harder for the big races.

Mae has bought a home in Zermatt, where she has been training the last six months. Coincidentally I was in Zermatt last weekend, as I often am, but have yet to see the violin maestro on the slopes in person.


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Winter Olympics ski injuries

Watching Sochi and all those talented athletes tumbling on snow and ice reminds me of how their dedication must be matched in equal measure by sheer guts. So it was with interest I read an article about the injuries that winter sports athletes get.

The article quotes Lucy Macdonald, physio at Octopus Clinic Physio (which has worked with Team GB’s ski team), who says that the most common injuries for freestyle skiers are:

  • Nasty pelvic fractures from performing stunts and riding rails
  • Ligament damage in the knees, as well as damage to the meniscus and cartilage.
  • Labral tear and cartilage damage in the hips – Apparently most activities only require the hips to move backward and forward, whilst skiing demands that the hips follow lateral outward motions.
  • Shoulder fractures and tears from landing and stretching injuries.
  • Traumatic injuries as well as wear and tear of the back.

So be careful next time you’re in the park and you fancy trying out a little slopestyle!

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February Snow Conditions and Deals

Family skiing in the AlpsThe winter sports season is approaching its peak period, and the prospects for snow conditions are promising. Temperatures have dropped, new snow is forecast throughout the Alps and conditions are generally good. However the outlook is still for the weather to be warmer than the seasonal average and not particularly sunny, with the northern Alps possibly experiencing the dreaded Föhn, with its potentially dramatic increase in temperatures. Meanwhile the southern Alps has a considerable risk of avalanches, possibly rising to a high risk.

Looking around the resorts, all but a few of the low-lying resorts are fully or near-fully open. Across over 150 open resorts in Switzerland, the average snow depth at the valley stations is 50cm, with many reporting over a metre. The top stations average 105cm and Andermatt has a massive 4 metre base at the top. There seem to be no resorts covered by the Snow’n’Rail scheme that have anything less than good snow conditions.

With it being peak period, the deals and discounts around are not so plentiful. Swiss Railways has some interesting discounts in February for tobogganists, though, with a 30% discount on combined travel ticket, lift pass and toboggan hire at Fräkmüntegg (Pilatus) and Preda/Bergün. Futhermore there is massive 50% discount on the same offer for Klewenalp.
kids tobogganing
Bergün is probably the best place in the world to toboggan, amidst the dramatic scenery of the Rhaetian Railways UNESCO-recognised section. Klewenalp is probably the best place to toboggan in central Switzerland with a 9 km run from Klewenalp to Stockhütte-Emmetten and a tough 4km airboard and toboggan run near the Chälen chairlift.

There is also a 30% discount on travel and a return lift journey at Engelberg-Brunni, the sunny side of the valley, during February – mainly aimed at people wanting a walk and a meal in the mountains. Both the Klewenalp and Engelberg offers may be sufficiently attractive for some people to use in combination or even instead of Snow’n’Rail – for example for a mixed group of skiers and non-skiers.

Further details on the February Swiss Railway discounts at their web site.

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