Orthopedic group teams up with Alyeska

Alyeska Resort on Friday announced that Orthopedic Physicians Anchorage has signed on as a sponsor, "the first relationship of its kind in Alaska," according to resort officials.

Orthopedic Physicians will offer free athletic-readiness assessments and injury-prevention seminars throughout ski season.

In November, Orthopedic Physicians surgeons and staffers helped train Alyeska ski patrollers. Paid and volunteer Alyeska patrollers now both have 24-hour phone access to local orthopedic physicians.

In addition, skiers and boarders injured at Alyeska will be given priority access to Orthopedic Physicians' walk-in Anchorage clinic, open seven days a week. The clinic's walk-in hours are Monday-Friday, noon-8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon- 6 p.m.

"Safety is our top priority on the mountain," Alyeska general manager Di Hiibner said in a release. "By offering on-hill injury prevention sessions, we are focused on providing a better experience for our guests and hopefully a life-long commitment to winter outdoor activities."

Free 20-minute sessions led by athletic trainer Lynne Young will focus primarily on knee injury prevention with an ACL awareness program.

"We have some great sessions planned that are really going to help skiers be safe on the slope," Young of Orthopedic Physicians said in the press release.

Skiers recovering from an injury can be evaluated to see if they're physically ready to hit the slopes again.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that snowboarding was the leading cause of winter sports injuries in 2007, with 149,388 snowboarders across the country visiting hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices and clinics. Skiing reporting 131,454 injuries, ice skating 58,380, ice hockey 47,594, sledding and tobogganing 107,890 and snowmobiling 34,699.