My husband skis with an iPod. He started last year and to be frank, I didn’t really think it was a good idea. I am one of those moms who tries to “lead by example” and since I didn’t really want our sons to start skiing to music, I didn’t want anyone in the house to ski to music either. I was concerned about distraction, about being unable to hear…you know the worries.
But my husband makes some good points. He enjoys skiing while listening to music. It relaxes him. It gets him in a rhythm and frankly, he has more fun skiing when he is distracted from his own thoughts. For him, it is a good thing. But sure enough, once dad plugged in, so did son number one.
Rather than fight these guys, I turned to the Internet to do some research. While probably not academically acceptable, I posted a query on my favorite skiing-related forum site, TheSkiDiva.com. Now, this probably wasn’t the best place to get a perspective on male iPod use, as SkiDiva is limited to women only, but it is a great place to connect with women skiers from all over the world and get some opinions.
Here’s what I found out about skiing and iPods, circa February 2011.
Of the replies, about half of them were pro-iPod and the other half were anti-iPod.
From the Pro-iPod Skiers…
For those women who were pro-iPod, they get joy and rhythm from listening to music while they ski. Yet, almost all of them agreed that the music volume needs to be kept low.
Why? First of all, to stay in touch with what is going on around you when you’re skiing. As a matter of safety, they think it is important to hear everything, not just music. Secondly, because most of these women thought that it would be rude to be unable to hear conversation on the lift and with their friends on the slopes.
Aside from keeping the volume low, many of them suggested skiing with only one ear bud in or putting the ear buds in the ear pads that come with some helmets. That is what my son does, and I do think he hears better when the music is not in his ears, but rather an inch or so removed from his ears.
Also, one woman wrote that she had heard about ear buds forcefully entering the ear in a fall. That would probably depend upon the size and shape of the ear bud, but why risk it if you can put the buds in the helmet pads?
The Anti-iPod Skiers Weigh In…
As for the anti-iPod women, there was one skier who had been in an accident while listening to music and skiing. She felt that her ability to hear what was going on around her was so impaired that she was completely taken by surprise when she was hit from behind.
Other women stated that they don’t ski with music because they like to hear the wind in the trees, and the sounds of nature when they are outside, whether skiing, running or biking.
Or as on skier put it,
“In a world where we are constantly overstimulated and bombarded with music, ads and multimedia, it’s good for the soul to do just one thing at a time and extract pleasure from that alone. I don’t need a constant soundtrack to my life!”
Purely A Matter of Personal Choice (And Responsibility)
The upshot? Skiing with or without music is a totally personal decision based primarily on enjoyment. Whether or not you enjoy listening to music while you ski, most everyone agrees that you still need to be aware of other skiers and the conditions around you. If you are not distracted by music and it adds to your skiing, go for it.
Just remember you’re not the only one on the slopes or on the lift. When your friends are telling you how well you’re ripping, you do want to hear them. Don’t you?
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