Backcountry Hut Survey Summary
Michael Tuggy, MD and Ric Ong, MD
For the past two seasons, we have surveyed many backcountry hut operations throughout North America to obtain a superior denominator for evaluation of overal injury rates. The beauty of this survey is the large numbers of skier-days that can be studied over a season. All together, over 17,000 skier-days are included in these results. Of greatest interest was determining the overall injury rate which was 1 per 1000 skier-days in the backcountry.
Distribution of injuries are similar to those seen in the remainder of this study with knee injuries being the most common. Also of note is that these data are not self-reported and are subject to reporting bias (i.e. less serious injuries are less likely to be reported to the guides in the hut operations.
Skill level of skiers:
The skiers found in the backcountry hut survey had a similar distribution of skill levels as judged by their guides as we have seen in the other surveys. Eighty-one percent were telemark skiers, while the remainder were using randonee gear in the backcountry.
Of the 17,059 skier days reported there were 9 avalanches triggered by the various parties during the season, none causing injury. No helicopter evacautions were needed and 3 ground evacuations to the huts were required.
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Last Updated 8/99
Copyright © 1999 Michael Tuggy, MD