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Ski Helmets

Ski Helmets & Snow Boarding Helmets

To be or not to be, in this case to wear or not to wear is the question? The debate over the wearing of ski helmets whilst skiing or snow boarding came to the fore after the sad death of actress Natasha Richardson, who, in 2009 fell at low speed during a beginners’ lesson at Tremblant in the Canadian province of Quebec, and later died from a blood clot to the brain after her injuries initially seemed innocuous.

There was also a mother of four, who died on an Austrian ski run in the same year when she collided with a German politician. The politician was wearing a ski helmet and survived. The woman, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered a fatal brain injury.

Since then various authorities have carried out studies and issued statements such as;

‘Ski Helmets should be included in ski hire packages to protect against head injuries, say researchers in the British Medical Journal.’

‘Austrian researchers from the Department of Sports Science at Innsbruck looked at a number of past studies in this area to inform their view. They found that between nine and 19% of all skiing injuries reported by Austrian ski patrols and emergency departments are head injuries - and severe head injuries, including traumatic brain injury, are a leading cause of death in winter sports which a ski helmet could prevent.’

Other studies found that 74% of head injuries occurred when skiers hit their head on the snow, 10% when they collided with other skiers and 13% when they collided with fixed objects and again ski helmets if worn would help prevent or reduce injury.

Many countries and ski areas as a result have decided to promote and encourage the use of ski helmets on the slopes. In Austria, for example, it is obligatory for children under 16 to wear a ski helmet when skiing or snowboarding. In the United States, where latest data shows that ski helmet use has risen to nearly 50%, some resorts have made helmets compulsory for their employees.

Like everything people have different points of view and there are those who say that there is not enough concrete proof that ski helmets are the answer in all cases and in fact can contribute towards accidents;

‘Ski Helmets impair hearing and reduce a skier or snowboarder's field of vision’

‘Ski Helmets could provide a false sense of security and encourage more risky behaviour on the slopes.’

At the end of the day, unless every country makes it obligatory to wear a ski helmet you have a choice, like wearing a cycle helmet and you must way up the odds, but remember you may not get a second chance to make that choice.

The other issue is whether to rent a ski helmet or buy your own in advance. Again this is down to personal choice and you need to weigh the cost of hiring a helmet (it can be up to 50% of the cost of buying one outright) versus the purchase of your very own.

Other issues to consider are ones of hygiene and fit. Obviously with a rental ski helmet a large number of people will have worn that helmet before you and it is whether you are comfortable with that notion.

With regards the fit of the ski helmet we feel it's important to be certain of the fit, adjustability and quality of your ski helmet in advance rather than be lumped with something you feel is unsuitable or inadequate at the point of hiring your gear.

Remember, a ski helmet is not an optional fashion accessory, it is an essential piece of safety equipment. Be safe, don’t be sorry!

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