Canterbury skiers keep rescue chopper busy
Skifield accidents have triggered Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust helicopters into action every three days on average this season.
The rescue service has picked up 14 casualties on Canterbury slopes since the season started in June, with injuries including back strains, leg breaks and head knocks.
The latest incidents involved an 18-year-old man who sustained leg injuries from a fall at Roundhill skifield at 9am on Monday, followed by a man concussed from a fall on Mt Hutt a few hours later.
Both were taken to Christchurch Hospital, Westpac Rescue Helicopter flight paramedic Wayne Ledgerwood said.
''We are called because access by ambulance isn't so easy" he said.
"Also with the helicopter we can be back to Christchurch from Mt Hutt in 25 minutes, but if you take someone by road to Ashburton, that can take the best part of an hour."
The 14 skifield-related calls make up about 16 per cent of the 83 calls the rescue service has received since the season began.
Ledgerwood said this year's skifields rescue number was below average, after 49 calls were received from June to August last year. He said that could be attributed to a poorer season attracting fewer punters.
''Last year, if we got to 4pm and we hadn't been up to the mountain, we would say it's time to put your boots on.''
He said the team covered accidents at Mt Hutt, Roundhill, Porters, Craigieburn and Temple Basin skifields.