About the ISSS

Mission

Winter sports have changed dramatically over the course of the last 20 years.The development of snowboarding, telemarking and skiboarding has produced a number of interesting differences in injury epidemiology from those of traditional alpine skiing. Alpine skiing itself has being transformed by the emergence of new equipment and disciplines. Since its formation in 1974, ISSS members have been at the forefront of research promoting safety in all aspects of snow sports.

The International Society of Skiing Safety exists to bring together researchers and other interested parties from around the world to discuss and advance all aspects of snow sports safety. Of paramount importance is high-quality research in all relevant disciplines including epidemiology, mechanical engineering and orthopaedic surgery. Our biannual international conferences provide a platform for dissemination and discussion of the latest research pertaining to snow sports safety and each conference is followed by a Special Technical Publication of many of the highest quality papers presented published by ASTM in America. We have recently switched to an open access publication for our conference proceedings. This publication is supplied free of charge to all ISSS members.

Many of the problems and challenges that modern snow sports present can only be addressed by the use of appropriate scientific techniques and high-quality research. Unfortunately, much of the science and research in this area does not meet this criteria but the ISSS is committed to continuing its aim of continually improving snow sports safety by this means. A considerable number of equipment improvements over the years (such as releasable bindings for alpine skis) have been driven by the work of ISSS members.

History

The International Society Of Skiing Safety was founded as a result of the 1st World Congress on Skiing Safety in Riksgräsen, Sweden in 1974.  The organization of the meeting was held under the enlightened leadership of Ejnar Eriksson, MD of the Karolinska Hospital of Stockholm, Sweden and an honorary life member of the Society.  The first official meeting of the ISSS took place in the Sierra Nevada region of Spain in 1977 and has been held biennially since.  The Spanish Meeting was hosted by another founding father of the ISSS, Dr José M. Figueras.

Participants

The International Society of Skiing Safety was founded with the primary purpose of providing a forum for discussion and education concerning skiing safety.  ISSS members come from a wide variety of backgrounds including ski physicians, ski patrollers, bio and mechanical engineers, ski and snowboard manufacturers, ski area management, orthopaedic surgeons, sports medicine and epidemiology. We are keen to promote new research in all areas of snow sports safety and in particular welcome student participants and encourage them to engage with the Society and undertake research projects of their own.

ISSS Research Meetings

The ISSS hosts a Ski Trauma and Ski Safety Congress every two years – our most recent meeting was held in April 2017 in Innsbruck Austria under the chairmanship of Prof Werner Nachbauer and his team. We will reconvene in 2019 in Squaw Valley, USA for our 23rd meeting.

For more information click the ISSS Congresses link at the top of this page.

The full list of ISSS Congresses held since 1974 is as follows:

Riksgräsen, Sweden hosted by Ejnar Eriksson, MD – 1974
Sierra Nevada, Spain hosted by José M. Figueras, MD – 1977
Queenstown, New Zealand hosted by Michael Lamont, MNZSP – 1979
Boronio, Italy hosted by Max Magi, MD – 1981
Keystone, Colorado hosted by C.D. Mote, PhD & RJ Johnson, MD – 1983
Naiba, Japan hosted by Koreo Kinosita, D.Sc & Kenichi Yahashi, MD – 1985
Chamonix, France hosted by M-H. Binet, MD – 1987
Riksgräsen, Sweden hosted by Ejnar Eriksson, MD – 1989
Thredbo, Australia  hosted by John Zelcer, MD – 1991
Kaprun, Austria hosted by Peter Schaff, MD & Wolfhort Hauser, MD – 1993
Voss, Norway hosted by Arne Ekeland, MD – 1995
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada hosted by RJ Johnson, MD & R. Cadman, PhD – 1997
Breuil Cervinia, Italy hosted by Paolo Zucco, MD – 1999
Queenstown, New Zealand hosted by Michael Lamont, MNZSP – 2001
Pontresina, Switzerland hosted by Greog Ahlbäumer, MD – 2003
Arai, Japan hosted by Tsuneo Yamagishi, MD – 2005
Aviemore, Scotland hosted by Mike Langran, MD – 2007
Garmisch-Partenkirschen, Germany hosted by Veit Senner, PhD – 2009
Keystone, USA hosted by Rick Greenwald and Irving Scher PhD – 2011
Bariloche, Argentina hosted by Cali Martinez and Guillermo Estevez – 2013 (held jointly with SITEMSH)St Vito di Cadore, Italy. Hosted by Nicola Petrone PhD – 2015

Innsbruck, Austria. Hosted by Werner Nachbauer, 2017

The next meeting of the ISSS will be held in Squaw Valley, USA, in 2019.

A major accomplishment of each of the ISSS meetings has been the publication of the proceedings of the presentations given during the congresses.  These publications on skiing injuries can be found at the ISSS Publications link and can be purchased directly from the ISSS (contact us for more information).

All of these special technical publications (STPs) are also still available to purchase through the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).  Information concerning prices and ordering these publications can be obtained through the Customer Service Department of ASTM, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, USA. Phone: 610-832-9585 Fax: 610-832-2955 E-mail: service@astm.org.

The overall skiing injury rate in the early 1970s was over five injuries per thousand skier days and that rate has dropped to below 2.5 per thousand skier days at the present time.  The vast majority of the improvement has occurred due to the reduction of injuries to the lower extremity primarily involving fractures and sprains of structures below the knee.

However, during this same period of time we have observed a significant increase in the incidence of severe knee ligament sprains, especially to the anterior cruciate ligament.  In spite of our ongoing efforts, we have not made major inroads in solving this problem.  It is hoped by continuation of the efforts by all members of the International Society of Skiing Safety that the means of eventually finding a solution to this continuing nemesis of the sport of snow skiing will be found.  Although many frustrations have been encountered, the goal of reduction of these knee injuries is still one of our highest priorities.

We have seen that winter sports have changed dramatically.  The development of snowboarding, telemarking and skiboarding has produced a number of interesting differences in injury epidemiology from those of alpine skiing.  It is certainly within the purview of our societies to continue to work to identify the differences and attempt to find means of mitigating these problems.

It is hoped that individuals who read this information will be stimulated to further support the efforts of all of us to reduce the risk of injury in winter sports.  We hope that not only those off us who have been involved with the ISSS for many years but also new investigators will bring their expertise into the ever expanding field of winter sports safety.  We challenge all who have the opportunity to read this document to bring their ideas, methods, and expertise into the unique format offered by the ISSS.  We invite all those who are interested to join our society and participate in future symposia.