Real reason NOT to wear helmet; & TJ Maxx treasure
33 posts
23 users
17k+ views
JimK - DCSki Columnist
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,726 posts
I was in a TJ Maxx store the other day in Tyson's Corner, VA. I saw a handful of Leedom ski helmets for $39. They also had ski gloves from $7 to 20. Decent Gordini gloves&mittens with down and leather were $20. Also some with goretex. Lots of ski hats including Burton brand from $2.99 and up. Also had Smith and other goggles for $14.

I thought twice about the helmets. Have never owned one. Think they were the Scream model. $39 seemed like good deal. Bought some other stuff for self and kids, but not the helmet. Actually I think helmets are great, esp for skiing double diamonds and trees, and for people like instructors and patrollers who spend dozens of days on slopes each season. I might get one someday, but at this time I still have a hang-up about them for myself.

Right or wrong, here's the real reasons why I didn't buy one the other day: I'm too old, too slow, and don't ski often enough to make like a hot shot and wear one. I ski mostly in the mid-Atlantic where I feel embarrassed to be wearing a helmet on lame terrain. It was super warm wearing it in the store, but again in mid-Atlantic I rarely ski in single digit temps requiring super warm gear. I'm too square to be making a fashion statement by wearing one. I have never had a head injury on the slopes (knock on wood), rarely ski glades, and I try not to hang around dangerous beginner areas for long periods.

If I didn't have these hang-ups I'd have bought the helmet. Maybe one of youse guys with more brains will?
Murphy
December 21, 2005
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
I was actually in a store trying them on yesterday. And no, I didn't buy one and yes, the primary reason was because it made me look like a goofball (even more so than usual). Not to mention it made me realize I have a pumpkin head . I'm sure I'll get one sooner or later I just got to find one that fits right.
Roger Z
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I'm a stubborn old mule- no helmet, never will wear one if I can help it. I figure if I crack my head open in a fall, I probably deserve it anyway.
tgd
December 21, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Finally broke down and bought helmets for the wife and I this year. In my case, just could not go on feeling like a hypocrite making my 4 year old wear one - while mommy and daddy go natural. I've always been sold on helmets for bicycling - even before I cracked 2 this summer alone. I agree it with JimK that helmets do seem a little like overkill around these parts, but I think crowded slopes and out-of-control sliders pose a unique risk around here - so the helmet might get some use afterall. Anyway, you have to have one to try airboarding!
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
rmcva
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/28/2004 🔗
187 posts
Bought my first helmet this year, a Giro Fuse. After four days on the slopes with it, I think its great. It's very warm, fits perfect, has on-the-fly adjustable vents which allow more air circulation when needed, and provides additional security. Like stated by others, maybe it's not really needed around here but it sure doesn't hurt having it.
snowcone
December 21, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
JimK ... All it takes is one out of control slider to cause an nasty accident, at which point a helmet may be all that is between you and a serious concussion, or worse. It's not about your quality of skiing if you don't ski aggressively, but about protecting yourself from the other guy. I've been the recipient of a couple of spectacular take outs and believe me I have been really thankful I was wearing a helmet. Do yourself and your family a favor, buy a helmet and wear it.
fishnski
December 21, 2005
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Sonny Bono!
jimmy
December 21, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Sloppy hockey stop . it's allright jimK. I got one last year, warmer on a cold day, dryer on a rainy day, nice if ur bushwacking but i'm not uncomfortable w/o it in the trees, does seem like overkill here in mid atlantic, impressionable youngsters i ski with already no i'm crazy, won't fit in pocket, haven't worn mine this season.
k_alice
December 21, 2005
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
I agree that it's hard to not wear a helmet while insisting that our kids do so - which is why my husband and I have both been wearing helmets for the past few years. My older son had a skull fracture at age 3, and since then we've been pretty careful about protecting our kids' heads! But I disagree that it's overkill in the mid-Atlantic. I see more collisions on ski slopes around here than I ever have skiing in the Alps. And that's another reason I wear a helmet - not as much because I'm worried about falling myself, but rather people crashing into me. Last year someone slammed into me from behind - I had no chance to react, but wasn't too concerned about my head hitting the hard-packed surface. My husband also had a spectacular (and embarrassing) wipeout under the lift line on lower Wild Turkey at Wintergreen - although he lost all his equipment and rolled quite a bit, he was not worried about his head, and likely was more relaxed as he fell.

Finally, I have to say I think helmets are way more comfortable. I always thought hats were too tight and scratchy.

p.s. I got great ski pants for my kids at TJ Maxx too.
JohnL
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

If I didn't have these hang-ups I'd have bought the helmet. Maybe one of youse guys with more brains will?




Jim, great to meet you at Wisp this past December. IIRC, none of us from DCSki were wearing helmets that day. So, mebbe we're not da guys wiss da brains.

But if you're asking the question, you probably know the answer for yourself ...

We all have to make our own choices and live with them.
myrto
December 21, 2005
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
All you have to do is search these boards if you really need to find out why. Every year sadly we have this discussion usually as an off shoot thread started due to a fatality on the slopes caused by head trauma.
It is not based on what kind of skier you are it is the fact that just like in cars, you can be doing everything right and still have an accident. It is after all a sport based on sliding down ice. How far are we ever from losing control?

Wear a helmet. They are comfortable, warm, affordable and the right thing to do.

Please. I don't want to hear about any unecessary sadness.
JohnL
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Another thing just occured to me after looking at my tagline. Helmets are required in all local hockey leagues, whether ice or roller. Face shields or cages are optional. I'll never step onto the ice without a full bird cage in front of my face, even if it's a friendly game at a rented rink. That decision has saved me from the facial stitch count in my lifetime (not zero, unfortunately.) But I skate with several players who just use the half shield in front of their eyes. They're happy with their decision and I'm happy with mine. But I wouldn't trade and they probably wouldn't either.
Crush
December 22, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,026 posts
.. well ... a totally unbaised opinion. I teach a computer course for docs. I often ask what they think of brain buckets. A specialist in head trauma and face/head reconstructive surgery stated that he thinks helmets are a negative factor in most ski accidents because of the additional spinal loading of the protection and the " I feel invincible" factor according to Dr. R.Weeks. As of now I do not feel that hemets are a positive factor in the majority of ski-related trauma based on direct input from the skiing medical community. Take my comments at face value. This is what I have heard. I also find in intersting that virtually *none* of my skiing docs ski with a brain-bucket. Draw your own conclusions.
canaanman
December 22, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Well, time for my annual sentimental pro-helmet story:

5 years ago I had a friend, a sophomore in high school. She was fairly smart, active in a lot of clubs, your typical good student. On a Ski Club trip with the school to Timberline we caught a few chairs up with her in the morning and one time, just so happened to be the last time, she was mocking us for wearing helmets. She got off the lift, pointed her skis down Thunderstruck, and even though she was a good skier, lost control on the corner.

I was coming over the crest of the trail as she fell and slid, at a high velocity, head-first into the trees. I was one of the first people on the scene. It was horrific. Blood everywhere, probably some brains too. We went to get Ski Patrol, in tears, not knowing if she was alive or not.

She broke EVERY bone in her face and skull and was CONCIOUS, albeit dazed, when they took her off the mountain to the waiting helicopter. She spent the next two months laid-up in a Maryland hospital, undergoing tremendous reonstructive surgery.

Life went on for her, she graduated in 2 years, somehow managing to keep-up with her work that semester of 10th grade. She went to college, I don't remember where, but it was a heck of a lot better than WVU. Then it happened.

One night she came down with viral meningitis, went to the campus health station and 4 hours later she was dead. Why? Because the plates, screws, wires, etc associated with the post-accident surgery, tore her meninges to shreds and she basically bled to death hand-in-hand with tons of subdural hematomas.

Where the punch really comes in is that the Ski Patrol, doctors, EMTs, and insurance agents determined if she'd been wearing a helmet she would've suffered a moderate, non life-threatening concussion at best. I've been wearing a helmet religiously since then, esp. after I landed on my head in Timberline's park and smashed the helmet, not my head.
tgd
December 22, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
On biking boards anytime someone brings up helmet use in a thread it is an all-out invitation for a flame war. The topic really draws the trolls out. Lots of senseless discussions about how many more head trauma incidents occur in bathtubs than cycling (or skiing); therefore, why don't we wear helmets in the shower? blah, blah, blah.... It comes down to a personal choice, and personal freedom. As a person who religiously wears a helmet when cycling, I do not have a conflict not wearing one skiing. Honestly it was setting an example for my little girl that made the decision to buy a helmet this year easy for me.

I cannot see how the helmet though is going to make me take bigger risks than I am comfortable with now. Personally, my self-defense mechanisms tend to be as averse to broken bones and twisted ligaments as head injuries. What I mean is that I can't see consciously or subconsciously weighing a decision to ski a glade or not based on whether I'm wearing a helmet or not. I'll drop in if I think I can ski it - period. I care about compound fractures, separated shoulders, blown knees, and other season-ending potentialities as well. But again it's all very personal.

When the NHL first mandated helmets, they grandfathered players who were in the league before the new rule was in place. Most of these players still chose to use helmets. Guy Lafleur, the great winger from the Montreal Canadiens played for a while wearing the helmet, but abandoned it later. His reasoning was that wearing the helmet made him more conscious of the risk of injury and hence caused him to play more cautiously. Like I said, it's all very personal.
JohnL
December 22, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

Guy Lafleur, the great winger from the Montreal Canadiens played for a while wearing the helmet, but abandoned it later. His reasoning was that wearing the helmet made him more conscious of the risk of injury and hence caused him to play more cautiously. Like I said, it's all very personal.




I think Guy's true reasoning was that he got a better hair weave.
Rickh
December 22, 2005
Member since 12/2/2004 🔗
142 posts
I'm going to chime in on the Pro Helmet side. I like others never used a helmet then "made" the kids wear one. Yes, I got the dad if I have to wear one why don't you. Around the same time I was getting ready to take a "guy" trip out west. Went up to the local ski shop (Pro-Fit) and purchased a Giro 9. I've never regreted it since. They are so comfortable, and if you get a little warm just remove the vent plugs and you'll get cool air.

But, as with a few other threads I have a quick story. My wife finally went out and purchased a helmet for herself we usually ski TLine which has fewer people on the slopes. But, we also ski Whitetail a lot and everyone knows how busy that can get. The very next trip to Whitetail she was skiing Exhibition and a boarder wiped her out. She has a nice cut on the side of the helmet from the boarders edge. That helmet saved us a trip to the hospital or worse.

Finally, helmets don't itch!!!!!
Crush
December 22, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,026 posts
JohnL -lol you always come up with a laugh!

I have heard so many persuasive arguments on both sides it makes me crazy! I just think if you want to wear a helmet then do it if you don't the just don't for whatever your reasons. My motorcycle helmet definetly saved me in '91 when I crashed my Honda Hurricane and 50+ miles and hour the crack in it was scary. I just had a friend last week hit a tree going maybe 20-30 mph on a green trail because something (probably snowmaking) "grabbed" on his board as he attempted to go around a beginner and threw him speeding backwards into the trees. He protected his head and hit the tree with his body and actually bounced off of the tree and flew 5-6 feet before stopping. He did have to have his spleen removed and has a partially collaspsed lung. He was wearing a helmet. So in this case the helmet was not a factor, neither positive or negative.

My only point is in certain accidents a helmet is a great help in avoiding injury, and in some it is not. I talked with a nurse that flies with the University of Utah Hospital trauma helicopter and (he *was* wearing a helmet) said most of the deaths (about 2 per year at The Canyons) are from tree incidents. 50% are head trauma, 50% body. The head ones are from people falling down and sliding head-first into trees. The other 50% are from skiing/riding in trees and hitting them with the body.

ps the doc I taught today had a helmet!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 22, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
OK... throw stones at me... I have five helmets. I keep different wardrobes at home and at Snowshoe and wanted to color-coordinate them with the ski jackets. I am in the search with helmets with iPod attachments now

As I ski in both Vermont, Maine and Snowshoe regardless of the temperature, I have found that helmets provide much better insulation than hats. At 10 below, my head and ears are toasty warm in a helmet. Not so with a ski hat.

The trick is to find a helmet that will allow a balaclava in case of extreme weather while still fitting snugly.
JohnL
December 22, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

I have five helmets. I keep different wardrobes at home and at Snowshoe and wanted to color-coordinate them with the ski jackets. I am in the search with helmets with iPod attachments now




Are you color-coordinating the iPods also? Something to consider.
jimmy
December 22, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Lou Lou Lou
Tell ya what i'll do
If we ever meet at the shoe
I'll wear grey
If you'll wear blue

wear u bin i've missed u .
KevR
December 23, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I got a ski helmet two or so yrs ago now -- because I wear bicycle helmets when biking. I got a bicycle helmet because not only does virtually everyone wear the dang things these days but I used to race (and suck at it, so no lancy armstrong for me) -- but I believe you HAD to... the rules or somesuch.
Now I have been bike riding a long time. So it stands to reason that shoving a lid on my head is near second nature to me. And in all those year, I have made use of my bike helmet all of ONE time while riding, which involved a fairly low speed crash caused by my front wheel catching the rear wheel of a rider in front of me in a small "pack". The end result was a nearly instantaneous slam into the road on my side, followed quickly by my head hitting the pavement hard as if at the end of whip...CRACK! Cracked the helmet right down the middle too. I really felt that but was ok, no headache, no doctor visit nothing... just serious ringing of the old bell, a severe all over body soreness that lasted a week & (of course!) a new helmet! Anyway -- in 12+ yrs of bike riding -- that's it. (although I did get hit by a car, that's another story and involves the helmet not at all.)

As for skiing, well one day I started to feel odd WITHOUT a helmet on. I grew up skiing years ago and helmets weren't even invented back then, so its not like i even wanted one or had any predisposition to own one, except for the bike riding. Well -- so the feeling crept in that something was a amiss, and so I high tailed it to the nearest ski shop where I bought a lid for me head. And now all is well. Still no accidents in which this has turned out to be useful. On the hand, I have no interest in having one of them either... also I ski the same, still suck overall. Helmets are warm though.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 23, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
JohnL, what I am looking at now is the Spyder Special Edition, with 6-way stretch material that has the iPod BUILT IN into the ski jacket, and a panel on the sleeve with the controls. Ultimate gadget! That and a Bluetooth-equipped helmet. Very tempting purchase....
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 23, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy... I used to wear blue
when I was in an airplane crew
But now that I'm a wiser fellow
I traded my outfit for Yellow
as my personality shows through
taking my life in stride
shopping everywhere with pride
helmets, outfits, gloves worldwide
restaurants, wines, articles of hide
retail therapy not denied
and that's how I can be so Mellow
snowcone
December 23, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
ibotta ... Giro Fuse ... look around and sometimes you can find them on sale. I picked up mine about 2 months ago ... sale at REI, helmet was $40 off. The high-end Fuse is cool because it hase a splitter so that you can attach to your iPod -and- your cell phone. SigOther is trying to figure out how we can rig it to work with a FRS rather than a cell phone.

Spyder Special edition huh? The jacket alone is more than $2k! But cool!
Roy
December 24, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
I love technology but do we really need the cell phones on the slopes? Ipods ok when you have to ski alone (although I have yet to buy one)
twin58
December 24, 2005
Member since 04/1/2000 🔗
198 posts
Quote:

... here's the real reasons why I didn't buy one the other day: I'm too old, too slow, and don't ski often enough to make like a hot shot and wear one.




Snowboarding grommets refer to such an individual as a "slow-moving target." No flames please; look at my handle first. It's just like being on a motorcycle; if you get hit by somebody else, it's going to hurt.

Ross Dress for Less has on rare occasion had snowboarding apparel, but it's usually in offbeat sizes, like XXXS, that aren't close to fitting me. I see goggles and gloves there too, but it's catch as catch can. Most of the time, you see nothing of interest, but then one day you walk in and see exactly what you're looking for.

When in doubt, buy, as you have something like fourteen days to take the item back.

I was was one of the early adopters to have a bicycle helmet. I got my original Bell helmet in the spring of 1975. It has a four-digit serial number. I felt like such an idiot for wearing one that, at first, I wouldn't even go out of the house with it on. Really. I stood at the door trying to get my courage up. Eventually I went outside, and I haven't been without one for the last thirty years, except for a rented bicycle trip from Inverness to Loch Ness in Scotland.

Motorcycle, bicycle, skates, skis, snowboard - I always wear a helmet. Mouth guard too. How's that for paranoia? A mouth guard costs ninety-nine cents, but a trip to the dentist is considerably more.

My take? Wear one. No doubt.
skier219
December 27, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I finally got a helmet in 2004 when I switched to shaped skis and suddenly started skiing faster and carving more agressively. It's not the terrain (usually groomers at Wintergreen) it's the speed that made me rethink the helmet issue. If I happen to be skiing casually with my wife, I normally stick with a regular hat.

By the way, many of the better helmets have adjustable vents. My Leedom does (sorry, can't remember the model). With the vents open, I haven't ever really gotten too hot. On cooler days, the helmet does a great job keeping my head warm.

Craig
kennedy
December 27, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
Wifey bought me a Giro 9 for chrimbo. Really comfortable looking forward to wearing it. I might by the skullcandy rig with the built in earphones and splitter for FRS. Burton came out with an i-pod jacket similar to the Spyder one last year or the year before. Same deal, controls in the sleeve, they may even have had speakers built into the collar.
TLaHaye
January 1, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
I too got my first helmet in the spring of 2004. Can't really imagine skiing without it. I don't think it makes me look like a hot shot, and I know I ski fast enough to incur major head trauma (even though I'm not that fast ... trees and other skiers are hard). I just find that it makes sense for me.

It's like a seatbelt ... if you don't wear it for yourself, wear it for those who care about you.
tjburke
January 14, 2006
Member since 03/19/2005 🔗
8 posts
Jim - As unsightly and gangly that those brain buckets can make you look, you should re-consider. Well... not going to TJ Max to buy them because that just seems wrong.... but about picking up a helmet. One thing that many people overlook in this discussion is that helmets are plain warm. They keep you toasty, on those cold days.
Additionally, as any ski shop employee will tell you when you look at helmets, the helmet is not about you, it is about the 300 other people on the slopes with you. And I cannot stress this enough.. Because you are a Mid-Atlantic skier you should have one more than the people out west! You are skiing on narrow, short trails, with more people per square foot than any mountain out West. The fact that you have escaped some sort of yard sale with an out of control gaper to date is amazing, but only compounds the chances you will be seeing the little birdies dance about your head one day.
Let your skiing do your talking... don't worry about what your noggin looks like wrapped in the hard shell.
Oh yeah... buying gloves and perhaps even goggles at a TJ Max might be fine, but remember that places like TJ Max often buy leftovers/irregulars from other big chain stores. In the case of a helmet, they are designed to take one serious shelacking and then you should replace. When you buy from a ski shop you can pretty much be assured that these helmets are safe... from TJ Max you have no idea what you are getting. I am not saying that they are trying to be unsafe or unscrupulous, but they don't know any more about the helmets than you do (more than likely even less!). Would you buy car tires from McDonalds?
twin58
January 14, 2006
Member since 04/1/2000 🔗
198 posts
Quote:

... remember that places like TJ Max often buy leftovers/irregulars from other big chain stores. In the case of a helmet, they are designed to take one serious shelacking and then you should replace. When you buy from a ski shop you can pretty much be assured that these helmets are safe... from TJ Max you have no idea what you are getting. ...Would you buy car tires from McDonalds?




I think the better analogy is "would you buy car tires from Costco?" People do that every day. They do their research online or by reading Consumer Reports, head into the store, and buy the tires. It happens all the time.

It wouldn't bother me at all to buy a helmet at TJ Maxx. I would have bought a helmet at a yard sale last spring if it had been the right size.

"Leftover" can mean last year's model, an unpopular color, too many of one size - all sorts of things. If you're worried that's it's damaged, take it out of the box and look at it. If a helmet has been smashed into the snow or ice, you can tell. Maybe that takes a practiced eye, but it's possible. As always, if people don't feel confident in that regard, then they should buy one at a ski/board shop. I have no problem with that, and I wish them well.

As for the one use only rule, Pro-Tec, which is well known for its skateboard helmets, makes winter sports helmets that are intended to survive multiple impacts.

It's a function of the lining. Motorcycle helmets are intended for one crash; then you replace them. Hockey helmets last through a lot of impacts. Skateboarders fall again and again learning tricks. Skaters couldn't afford their pastime if they had to replace a helmet every time it came into contact with the pavement.

Pro-Tec snow helmets

Especially with Safety Awareness Week upon us, I urge everyone to wear a helmet.
Rich
January 26, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
Maybe you Bono's might like to visit my bud in the Elkins Hospital. Helmets are only partially for you hitting something else. A huge part is for the time 2 snowboarders plowed into my bud at high speed...and he didn't have one ! In Jackson Hole I fall down....look around and see a guy in a pool of blood up the hill behind me. Witnesses said he was skliing out of control, no helmet, and ran in to ME. I didn't have a nick, scratch, or bruise. Don't know what he had ... didn't follow the sled down! You don't need a helmet to ski - but that also proves, you don't need any brains either.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.13 seconds