The announcement by Intrawest has made me want learn more about helmet and their use when skiing or boarding.
To begin with I have been skiing and riding and racing for over 30 years. I’m a helmet wearer, and my son wears one also. Lets evaluate the facts why you should and your children should wear a helmet.
Intrewest’s reason for making this statement might be more than “underscoring Intrawest’s commitment to guest safety,” it could be insurance reasons or a PR reasons in light of the high profile death at Mount Trembant last season of Natasha Richardson. To me I personally applaud them for stepping up to the plate and making a statement no matter what the reason.
there are several sites that talk about this but I feel this site http://www.ski-injury.com/prevention/helmet has some relatively current and easy to understand stats.
In the 2008/09 ski year there was approximately 48% of skiers/border wearing helmets. This stat at my local hill seems pretty accurate. There has been a 25% increase in helmet use since 2002/03. Also interesting fact that 77% of children 9 yrs and under wear helmets.
Why not to wear a helmet? The common resons I have heard are increases accident rate, increases neck injury and the expense. The increase in accident rates can be from the increase of population of ski/boards without looking at the ratio in comparison. There is also the fact that people feel they can do dumb things because they have a helmet on. Just because you have a helmet doesn’t mean you can ride a rail unless you have the skills. The research shows that there was no increase in neck injury since the voluntary use of helmets began. Is there an expense? Well yes you can spend $ 50.00 to $ 200.00 for a helmet but I personally wouldn’t purchase the cheaper helmet without researching it testing and approvals standard. Lets face it, if you live in US what does one hospital visit cost you? My guess is much less than a helmet. Also head size doesn’t change as fast as feet so your helmet will properly fit for several seasons unlike a boot or coat.
Should a helmet be law? The facts and my personal feelings don’t support it as the main cause of injury or death so making it a law or ski hill regulation isn’t right. The better choice is to promote it like Interwest has said not only by a press release but supported in marketing materials and adds, again like Interwest has committed to do.
The reasons I wear one and also why my son isn’t allowed on the hill without his.
- Warmer then any hat
- Protection from falling (yes I still fall as do most people who push themselves)
- Protection for being struck by other skiers/boarders
- Can’t expect my son to wear one if I don’t set the example
My son wears one for the same reasons above, we had an incident last year the reinforced my reasons. Last season at the bottom of a run as my son was turning to get to the chair lift he was cut off and that forced him to fall. The area he fell was completely ice and the first thing to hit was his head and it was hard. My first thought is he is going to be hurt but when I help him up he was completely fine and ready to go again. And to me the cost of the helmet was nothing my boy wasn’t hurt or upset.
So are you a helmet wearer? What is your reason? I would love to know.