December 10, 2015

Skiing and Snowboarding with a Helmet

Should you wear a helmet when you go skiing or snowboarding? This is perhaps the most commonly asked question that we get from clients of our ski rental delivery service. A lot of us began skiing many, many years ago. Long before anyone thought that it just might be a good idea to protect one’s brain from injury when engaging in a sport where you are zipping down a hill on two small wooden planks. A hill surrounded by trees, rocks and boulders with steel lift towers and a lot of other people on said hill also zipping down on their two small wooden planks. Granted we didn’t even wear helmets when riding our bikes (or motorcycles or horses) back in those days, so it certainly didn’t seem necessary on the slopes.

BUT, times have changed. According to statistics gathered by the National Ski Areas Association, 78% of skiers and snowboarders at US ski resorts wore helmets during the 2014 / 2015 ski season. Helmet usage by children 9 and under was recorded at 97% that same year. Wearing a helmet has become the norm!

One of the most significant changes to occur in the snow-sports industry over the past 10-15 years has been in the design of skis. Most notably, skis have become shaped and shorter and wider. What does this change mean for most of us? We are skiing at considerably higher rates of speed than we did on our “old school” skinny skis. A co-worker casually mentioned to me the other day that the ski app that he uses clocked his speed at 65 mph on a groomed run at Heavenly. 65 mph! At 65 mph (or realistically 35-40 mph in my case), I am going to do anything that I can to protect myself from injury.

A lot of locals will also tell you that they wear a helmet because they worry about the “other” people on the slopes. It is certainly possible for someone to run into you or to slide into you, but it is just as likely that you might catch an edge or miss your perfect landing in the park and go down. If I’m going to hit my head on the often hard snow, I’d much rather do so with the cushioning that a helmet provides.

Here are the reasons that I wear and that I love my helmet:

  1. It’s warm!
  2. It’s stylish.
  3. I feel protected with it on. This makes me a more confident skier.
  4. Bluetooth. For phone calls and for music. (“background” music on low volume…so I can hear everything else around me also)
  5. It’s warm!

So, back to the original question…should you wear a helmet on the mountain? YES-DO IT!

**Disclaimer: We cannot and do not make the claim that an individual who suffers a collision, fall, or other blow to the head or person while wearing a ski helmet will never suffer any concussion or other injury. User assumes all risks, including all risks of bodily injury or death, arising out of user’s participation in athletic, recreational and other activities while wearing a ski helmet.**

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