Safety on the Slopes – A Case for Helmets

When I first got back into skiing in ’09, I used to think that wearing a helmet wasn’t necessary for a slow poke like me. I thought that they were simply reserved for people who tore down the mountain, did tricks or liked skiing through glades. Since I was none of the above, I figured I was perfectly fine pizza pie-ing down the mountain sans helmet.

That was until I took a few falls while skiing last winter. This was in large part due to starting to challenge myself to start trying tougher terrain. You can’t improve without challenging yourself, so as I felt more comfortable I pushed the bar a bit. So I started to casually look into helmets and price them out online. Since I was still a casual skier, I felt like I didn’t want to pay $100 for a helmet, so I kept up the search for a good deal. Unable to find one, I decided perhaps renting a helmet to see which one I liked best might be a good solution.

I rented this little gem one weekend:

It was during that ski trip to Stowe Mountain Resort that one of my friends, who was a very experienced skier, took a bad fall by hitting a patch of ice shortly after getting off the chair lift. She was skiing at what was probably her slowest speed of the day, and with extreme caution because of the crowded trail. I wasn’t there when it happened, but her boyfriend told me that she hit a patch of ice, went flying straight forward and hit her head extremely hard on the packed ice. The fall was so hard that she had a gash in her helmet. She managed to get herself together and ski down the trail, head up the chair lift and visit ski patrol to get tested for a concussion. It wasn’t clear how many tests they ran on her, but they said she was OK to ski for the rest of the day, but she ended up calling it quits early because of a headache and a sore neck. That’s what really sealed the deal on buying a helmet.

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