You have always heard about the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bicycle, or skateboard, but have you considered how important it is to wear a helmet on the ski slopes? When you are skiing or snowboarding, you are at risk of suffering a serious head injury just as you would be when biking.
There are numerous reasons to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet when skiing has reduced head injuries such as fractured skulls, facial lacerations, and head lacerations by as much as 50%, according to a report in The New York Times. When you wear a helmet and strike your head, the helmet will spread out and absorb the shock wave of the impact. Yes, you can still be injured, but the severity of the head injury is likely to be much less.
Studies indicate that only 25% of those on the slopes in 2003 wore helmets. But by 2013, that figure had gone up to 70% of those skiing and snowboarding. While the number of head injuries on the slopes has not declined, the severity of those injuries has definitely improved. While a helmet won’t prevent head trauma, it can have a major impact on the severity of your head injury.
If you are concerned about a helmet affecting your visibility or hearing, causing a negative impact on your skiing or snowboarding, your fears may be unfounded. Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that proved helmets do not impact vision or hearing enough to impact riding. The research also showed that helmets do not cause neck injuries, such as whiplash, when you fall. Instead, the benefits of having a helmet on far outweigh the risks of not wearing a helmet when skiing.
Other Benefits of Wearing a Helmet
There are other advantages to wearing a helmet when skiing. It can help block the sun from your eyes and keep snow out of your face. Helmets can also help keep your head warm, which is important as the body loses more heat from the head than anywhere else. Also, the helmet can help hold your goggles in place. Your goggles are needed to help you keep your eyes free from obstructions, so this is a very positive bonus to wearing a helmet.
Why Aren’t Helmets Required at Ski Resorts?
Most ski resorts do not require helmet to be worn for recreational skiing because the helmet does not “completely” prevent a head injury. It’s possible to still be injured during a ski crash, even while wearing a helmet. Because of this, many people argue there is not enough benefits to wearing a helmet. When viewed in that light, though, there are not enough reasons for people to not wear a helmet. While, yes, you may still be injured the odds of a reduced injury are really in your favor.
Head trauma is a serious matter. People who have suffered traumatic brain injuries will tell you how those injuries have made a significant impact on their entire lives. There is more to safety while skiing than simply strapping on a helmet though. You need to be aware of what is happening around you and you need to be aware of your skill level and not try to exceed your abilities.
Choosing the Right Helmet
Now you understand the importance of wearing a helmet, you probably want to go out and buy one if you don’t have one already. Don’t just buy the first helmet you see because it is on sale or you like the style or color. Make sure you get a helmet that properly fits. You want a helmet that sits on your head evenly, and that does not tilt from side to side when the strap is fastened. Make sure your helmet fits snugly, and that it is not too loose.
After you have found the perfect fit, you can then worry about the appearance. You can get a helmet in the color of your choice and decorate it to suit your personality. You can add designs or stickers, or even have it painted by an artist to convey your style and message. If you have young ones learning how to ski or snowboard, it is important that you start them out wearing a helmet early so they will continue wearing a helmet throughout life.
Make a Difference for Future Skiers and Snowboarders!
The Edmonton Ski Club encourages everyone to wear a helmet, even if you have been skiing and snowboarding for years and do not believe you require one. If you don’t wear a helmet, you’re telling your children and other kids that helmets simply aren’t important. Regardless of your skill, when you wear a helmet, you set a great example for youth.
*This article was not written by a legal professional, and it is up to you to decide whether or not you wear a helmet. Before you ski without one, just be sure to weigh out the pros and cons of keeping yourself safe!