The year our oldest son was born, my parents gave my husband a ski helmet for Christmas. As he opened it, my mom told him “You have a child now. You have to take care of yourself” (subtext: we’ve seen you ski the trees and it is better for everyone that you wear a helmet). Figuring that what is good for the Christmas gander is good for the New Year’s goose, I went out and bought myself a helmet in the post-Christmas sales.
I love my helmet. My husband loves his helmet and our kids don’t know anything different. They have never skied without helmets. So, I am always amazed when I see people skiing — especially skiing aggressively — without helmets.
Yeah, you might have to get used to the feel of wearing a helmet, but at least a helmet doesn’t itch. And, yeah, you might get hot in the spring, but during the deep mid-winter you will be toasty warm and comfortable.
Oh, and there’s the safety factor. Remember Natasha Richardson, the actress taking a beginner skiing lesson in Canada in 2009 who fell on the bunny slope and DIED from a head injury? If she could die of a brain injury from falling when she was probably going less than 5 mph, think about the brain injury you could incur Ms. or Mr. Tree Skier (or Downhill Skier, Park Skier, Intermediate Trying Out Moguls Skier, or Any Fill-in-The Blank Skier)?
A very nice compliment that I have received about the Brave Ski Mom blog is that I am not “preachy.” Thank you. But today I am going to be a bit preachy. I have taken my soap box out of the closet and I am about to get on it.
First of all, helmets for kids. I think that kids should wear helmets. So do most ski resorts. Helmets are nearly universally required for kids to take lessons whether on skis or a snowboard. Many resorts also require them for kids in terrain parks.
According to Colorado Ski Country USA, the ski resort trade association in Colorado, 90% of the state’s skiers 9 years of age and younger wear helmets and approximately 50% of all skiers and snowboarders in the US wear helmets (both facts from the Denver Post 9/2/10). So, it is not a matter of standing out or looking foolish. And, as our kids have shown, if you’ve always worn a helmet, there is nothing weird or uncomfortable about wearing a helmet, it is just what you do. Start ’em young and keep ’em safe.
Second, helmets for adults. Yes, a helmet may take a bit of getting used to. It may feel hot, or tight or binding at first, but so did your bike helmet when you got it and I bet you wouldn’t go mountain- or road-biking without it today. A study in Canada this year found that the risk of head injury decreases by 35% when you’ve got a helmet on (again, the Denver Post 9/2/10). Not a huge number, but if you hit a tree or hit the snow hard, wouldn’t you want the odds to be as much in your favor as possible?
Finally, if you need more convincing, page through some skiing magazines. Powder, “the Skiers’ Magazine,” which focuses more on extreme and park skiing than the other mags, rarely shows a skier without a helmet. Same with Freeskier. SKI, the mass market magazine geared more toward destination skiers, rarely shows a skier with a helmet — except in the advertising. There are very few major resorts advertised in SKI that don’t feature some skiers wearing helmets.
Ski helmets are good. Yes, it is your choice not to wear one, but take a look around you. Watch the best skiers on the mountain. Chances are they are wearing helmets.
Thus endeth the sermon. Time to strap on the helmet and hit the slopes.
Some Tips on Helmet Fitting…
It’s easy! The helmet should be snug, but not too tight. It shouldn’t wobble.
The helmet should rest above your eyebrows and it should not touch the nape of your neck.
The pads should be flush against your face, without gaps.
All heads are shaped differently, so try on several helmets until you find one you like.
Some kids’ helmets now come with a crank dial on the back that helps you tighten it down and then loosen it up as they grow.
Finally, once you’ve found one that is comfortable, fasten it on, and try to roll it off your head. If the skin on your forehead moves with the helmet, you have a good fit.
(Fitting tips courtesy of Kent Foster at the Board and Buckle Company and SkiHelmets.com)
And Announcing a Junior Helmet Giveaway!
Check back here tomorrow for information on how you can win a helmet for your son or daughter from Ski ‘n See ski shops in Utah! Now there is absolutely no excuse not to put a lid on your kid. See you manana!
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