This 10-year retrospective review of spinal injuries at a destination ski r
esort was done to determine the incidence and type of spinal and neurologic
injury associated with alpine winter sports. Spinal injury patterns and ou
tcomes in skiers and snowboarders over a period of 11 seasons at a destinat
ion resort were studied. One-fourth of cervical injuries were associated wi
th a temporary neurologic deficit. Only 1 in 25 thoracic injuries had an as
sociated neurologic deficit, and this was permanent. None of the lumbar inj
uries required surgery, nor were any associated with a neurologic deficit.
There was approximately one significant spinal injury every 100,000 skier-d
ays, and only 9% of spinal injuries required surgery. The incidence of deat
h or associated permanent neurologic deficit is low (approximately one per
two million skier-days). Skiing and snowboarding have a low incidence of si
gnificant spinal trauma.