Background: Approximately 70’000 people sustain injury in accidents on Swiss slopes every year. High velocity of skiers and snowboarders increases the risk of severe injury of the head, back or knee in case of a fall or collision. To develop effective measures to prevent such injury, an understanding of the underlying injury mechanisms is mandatory. However, determining the necessary biomechanical data is difficult.
Method: Collisions between two skiers were investigated experimentally. Crash test dummies were used to mimic a collision and to determine the biomechanical loading of different body regions during impact. Based on those recordings, injury criteria were calculated to estimate the injury risk of AIS 2+ injuries. The experiments were performed at 30 and 50 km/h.
Results and discussion: The experimental set-up and the methodology chosen were suitable to measure the biomechanical loading of the dummy. The results indicate that a collision at 30 km/h can result in a significant head injury risk even if a helmet is worn. While at 30 km/h the primary impact causes the highest loading, the importance of the secondary impact (i.e. the impact on the ground) increases at higher collision speed. The data established in this study are an important basis for the development of effective prevention strategies.