helmet use again
27 posts
13 users
3k+ views
myrto
January 13, 2004
Member since 10/4/2001
259 posts
I hate to sound like a broken record. But unfortunately the same things happen every season.My son's coach came into practice this evening and called both teams
together (one team he coaches and another team sharing the gym). He
had all the boys sit down, and he then proceeded to tell them about
his 5th grader who fractured his skull skiing at Whitetail this past
weekend. His son was not wearing a helmet. He made all the boys
promise that if they went skiing they would wear a helmet. Last year
there was a fatality at Whitetail - again, the child was not wearing
a helmet.
Had both children been wearing helmets, the injuries sustained would
not be the same. No matter how good or how safe a skier you are, you
cannot control those around you. My kids have seen out-of-control
skiers careen into other skiers; one time, the skier knocked an
innocent skier unconcious due to the impact. Please wear helmets. This group on sunday was a scout group. If you are a leader or know of any please make helmet safety as important as the rest of the skiing experience.
snowcone
January 13, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I agree completely about the necessity of wearing helmets; I wear my helmet not for the fact I fear I will injure myself but for the fact of a substantial number of out of control skiers/boarders that can and have injured me. That my helmet is toasty warm in sub-zero temperatures is a bonus.

However, for groups and individuals that rent their ski equipment at the resorts, renting helmets may not be an option. Most of the smaller resorts do not carry rental helmets and those that do carry only a few with a limited range of sizes. Larger resorts such as Snowshoe generally have rental helmets available.

It would probably be a smart idea to require helmets with rental boots and skis but I don't see it happening as long as the resorts are not responsible for accidents; remember that document you sign that indemnifies the resort when you rent equipment? The only way I see resorts tying helmets to rentals is if there is some sort of safety promotion with awards. So until then I think the only option is for parents to demand that helmet rental is mandatory for a ski/board outing otherwise their child will not participate.

(Anonymous)
January 13, 2004
I think helmets are a great idea. I've worn one for about 6 years and won't leave home without it now. That being said, rental helmets could have some potential problems. Probably the biggest problem is that in a year or two a whole bunch of sweaty heads have been in that bad boy. If its cleaned as often as rental boots is going to be kind of nasty inside. Small resorts can't afford to replace them very often just because they smell bad. Another big problem and possibly a very serious one is the breaddown of the helmet itself. These things aren't football helmets, they don't take repeated hits well. The outside might look fine but the interior shock absorbing foam may be compromised due to someone taking a fall with the helmet on. Lots of small falls in different areas on the helmet might reduce its actual effectiveness without any outward signs. Hopefully your head isn't in it when it takes that last hit that does the helmet in. Personally I would still recommend the use of rental helmets, they are probably better than nothing at all but I wouldn't trust them to always offer the full amount of protection that a brand new helmet should. Something to think about.
KevR
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
GIRO helmets is owned by Bell helmets. Before this aquisition there was a healthy competition between the two and pricing was relatively low. When this monopoly-like merger was approved, helmet prices shot up dramatically every year. Right now some cycling helmets which seem to have less overall material in them than snow helmets are nearing $200... likewise there are a few other manufacturers out there but they have tended to simply "tack up" to the higher price point. IN WINTER sports some of the bike helmet folks (giro, louis garneau) sell ski/board helmets. Other helmets are from the more traditional manufacturers and have (more of?) a racing pedigree. I bought my giro helmet last year for $100 at Ski Chalet in arlington. I tried every helmet on and found the one i thought fit the best and had openings over the ears. I am happy with it overall but personally think the $100 is way too much for this item. I'd like to see it cheaper and you might get a little more adoption. personally I don't think its likely that resorts will rent these things but I could be wrong. I personally am not that interested in putting a helmet on that someone else has used, but that's just me. Likewise, I think the odds of actually incurring a head injury while skiing are small. So it's a subjective individual sort of thing really. For example, I can count on one hand the number of times my head has struck the pavement since I learned to ride a bike when I was tot, and that's ONE. I can also count on one hand the number of times I have hit my head skiing and that's zero... still I do OWN a ski helmet & use it. And I was really quite happy that my helmet worked as advertised when I crashed my bike...
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
skier123
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/20/2003
14 posts
Or, wouldn't it be nice if people would just ski in control. What are the ski patrol doing at Whitetail that it continues to be such an unsafe environment?
JohnL
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
KevR,

Very nice posts.

myrto,

Parents should always remain more reponsible than ski areas concerning their children's safety. If a good helmet can be had for $20, isn't it a parent's responsiblity to ensure that they buy a new helmet for their children at the start of every ski season? Proper fit (and lack of previous damage to the helmet) are critical for proper safety. Proper fit can take a bit of time and ski areas may not know if a previous user was involved in a collision.

skier123,

>> What are the ski patrol doing at Whitetail that it continues to be such an unsafe environment?

You need to provide more specifics on your claim. I personally have not seen Whitetail to be an unsafe environment. I'd like to hear some more on this one.

myrto
January 13, 2004
Member since 10/4/2001
259 posts
John L, Absolutely it should be the responsibility of the parents. But I don't think it is realistic for 1st time skiers or kids who only get to ski on the occasional youth/church/scouting outing, to purchase a helmet.
I just really think it is time the resorts made helmets more accessible.

As for counting the amount of times your head has hit pavemnt or ice or the ground: Can you also remember the amount of times a seatbelt has saved you? I would imagine that is a low number as well. Does that mean seatbelts are not needed?

kennedy
January 13, 2004
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Helmets, definitely a good idea and one I have to push myself into a bit more. You can be a great skier/rider but around here it's other skier'/riders that are the danger. The key problem with the Mid-atlantic is that the majority of people on the slopes are either beginner or early intermediates, fair weather sliders and really a large percentage of the clueless plus we have small hills with a lot of people.

When I was at Whitetail over the weekend my buddy who is learning to ride had just bailed and was getting hislef together to go again. I parked directly uphill from him to act as a sort of visible blocker. It was like sitting in the middle of 95 at rush hour. I'm usually rarely scared when I go riding but that was really kind of frightening.

In another thread I mentioned the ski school instructor bringing in a bunch of underexperienced kids. It had the effect of a cluster bomb, they spread out and wreaked devastation far and wide. All kind of amusing until you have someone cut across your take off or landing. Excuse my ranting, I think I just really get annoyed with the subject of etiquette.

gatkinso
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
I got a Boeri helmet for xmas. I love it, it is warm, and I am safer.

I have only been skiing in it three times, but I would feel weird going without it.

Plus it doesn't seem to interfere with my hearing.

canaanman
January 13, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
Need I unleash the Christina Joesephi horror story?


Such a sad, sad ending.

JohnL
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
myrto,

I didn't say anything about helmets not being desirable. Please reread my post.


skier123
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/20/2003
14 posts
All I'm saying is that people wouldn't be so worried about getting killed on the slopes from head injuries if skiers around them were skiing in control. I deem it to be the ski patrol's responsibility to ensure that skiers and boarders are skiing in control, on slopes that are not beyond their capabilities, and with regard for the other skiers around them. These are all part of the skier's responsibility code that the patrol's are supposed to be enforcing.

Comments like Myrto's "kids have seen out-of-control skiers careen into other skiers" and Kennedy's "When I was at Whitetail over the weekend my buddy who is learning to ride had just bailed and was getting hislef together to go again. I parked directly uphill from him to act as a sort of visible blocker. It was like sitting in the middle of 95 at rush hour. I'm usually rarely scared when I go riding but that was really kind of frightening" seem preventable to me if the patrol is really patrolling the slopes.

Just makes me wonder...

JohnL
January 13, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
The main reason the Beltway is so dangerous is that there are too many d@#$m cars on it. The busy slopes in the Mid-Atlantic have too many sliders on them. (Not all Mid-Atlantic slopes are busy and this critique applies to the rest of the country as well.) Even if every person on the slopes was in total control, there will still be accidents because of the congestion on the busiest trails.

At least the Beltway has designated lanes. On a ski slope, you have people making different size turns (the turns may be irregular), moving at different speeds and sometimes having to abruptly stop or fall. Skiing Angel Drop @ Whitetail is always a surreal experience for me.

Don't blame ski patrol on this one. I rarely see out of control skiers/boarders on the slopes.

KevR
January 14, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I cycle regularly and have been using a helmet for that for over 10 yrs. Skiing, the last few years I kept feeling kinda odd without a helmet on. So finally last year I bought one, a GIRO. Probably due in large part to using a helmet regularly for cycling, I found it to be largely unnoticable and I easily adapted to it. I have to admit I have *NEVER* hit my head skiing, although I have hit my head hard cycling which resulted in splitting my helmet right down the middle in two (although it stayed together) with no noticible injury to myself. On the other hand a helmet is not a panecea against injury, even head injury... but it might make you FEEL better about things, and in off the chance you do hit your head, it might save you pain, suffering, injury or even death. So, as a friend of mine says, yes, insure that $5 head with a $100 bucket! ;-)
myrto
January 14, 2004
Member since 10/4/2001
259 posts
It would be simple for resorts to include them in the cost of rentals. Lets say they can purchase them fo $20 a piece wholesale. Which is reasonable considering you can get them at target in $20's. You increase your rentals by $2 after 10 x's they pay for themselves and you can replace the whole stock every year. All it takes is for one resort to make it a proud part of their program, turning into a positive marketing spin and then the others will hopefully follow.
(Anonymous)
January 14, 2004
Canaanman, Did you know Christina? I met a girl who was a very close friend of her's last year. Truely a sad story.
KevR
January 14, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Helmets -- the GOOD: makes me feel safer, might actually be safer. Warm, largely unnoticable on my head... The BAD: cost, travel -- the don't pack very well.

Ski safety -- my opinion is that resorts could improve safety on many LOWER slopes by simply issuing some form of TICKET, Either by cutting lift tickets and making the skier/boarder go back to the main office to get their lift ticket renewed (possibly at with a time penality), or some other means. I believe UPPER slopes are largely self regulating! :-)

Whitetail -- my observation as a frequent visitor is the largest problem area is Upper Angel Drop and in particular the transition area to LOWER AD where the snow park is.. the problem is that you get a large number of teenage male borders with LIMITED ability, who, given the relative slight grade of the run, go straight down the thing, before checking their speed using big slides at the transition area... mix this in with random jumps, arving, and high traffic and you get a bit of mess.

I think one solution to this problem would be simply have the ski patrol in this area and have them actually yell at, or ticket the offenders.

Another solution I suggested in a previous thread was that whitetail could install a rope tow, poma lift still system from the main area up into the snow park, and thus remove the need for the vast majority of these customers to go to the top to get to the park, which they clearly don't have much interest in to begin with....

This would cut the traffic in the main lift area as well as on upper angel...

finsoutoc
January 14, 2004
Member since 09/30/2003
172 posts
i've already had this discussion with kev, but you guys need to step up and get WT to see some of this stuff.
KevR
January 14, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Good point -- we had that idea of setting up the user group for WT modeled after the RT one...

Roger Z
January 14, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Not to pile on our earlier discussion from another board, but another way to reduce Angel Drop traffic would be to move the terrain park to Fanciful or Snow Dancer and put a lift in for it over there. Though you'd either need to virtually shut the trail down to skier traffic from the top or widen one of those runs-- would be more expensive.
KevR
January 14, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Yeah, but they seem to wait FOREVER till put snow down on those trails, and then struggle to keep them covered... it would be nice to recover lower angel however, on the other hand. maybe they should just develop a new area entirely.
kennedy
January 15, 2004
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
While I understand the economic limitations, if you want to reduce traffic on runs like Angel Drop. Put a lift or tow in for the park. Do that and volumes will fall. It will free up the high speed and make the other runs more enjoyable, it keeps the park riders happy because they don't have to line up for the high speed and they can keep hitting the park all day without bothering anyone. WT needs to step it up.
Rich
January 16, 2004
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Guess this is old news...snowboarder/no helmet/dead!

Massanutten:
"Eckerman was airlifted from the mountain with skull fractures, and he died Tuesday. Relatives and friends said he almost always wore a helmet while snowboarding, but he wasn't wearing one Monday because he wasn't planning to take risks, said his girlfriend, Lisa Ha of the District. "

dmh
January 16, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003
127 posts
This is truly tragic and, perhaps, avoidable. I feel sympathy for everyone touched by this tragedy.

"Wasn't planning to take risks...." No one plans to crash head first into a tree, no one expects to crash head first into a tree, but some people do nonetheless. That is why helmets are necessary, for precisely when it happens and you are not expecting it. Skiing is inherently risky and all risks can not be eliminated. But you can anticipate the known risks--crashing into trees--an guard against them by the simple act of putting on a helmet.

[This message has been edited by dmh (edited 01-16-2004).]

KevR
January 16, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Also not skiing near the treeline where all the nice soft snow is, especially in lower light conditions where you are likely to NOT see an object that might catch an edge. Not referencing the article, just my own observation of an avoidable risk while skiing.

canaanman
January 16, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
<<Canaanman, Did you know Christina? I met a girl who was a very close friend of her's last year. Truely a sad story.>>

Yes, I knew her very well. She and I attended the same high school, around the same time. We were riding up the lift with her right before the accident, and she was making fun of us for wearing helmets and how dorky we were. The irony there is amazing.

Anyways, I took a few minutes strapping-in at the top of the mountain, and the rest had already headed down. I come down Thunderstruck, over the edge at the top and there she is, headed right for the woods... head first. Such an ugly wipeout... blood everywhere. It felt like somebody had slammed me in the gut with a 50 pound dumbbell.

So anyways, help was summoned, and she was taken down the mountain to the waiting helicopter. We didn't see her for a good 3 weeks. She spent 2 of those weeks in a hospital in Maryland, where she underwent many surgeries. She broke every bone in her face and crushed her skull on the top. I don't remember how long she was here in the hospital in Charleston, but it was a long time. Her recovery was amazing. Many doubted that she'd live.

Rumor has it that when they were loading her into the helicopter she was actuall concious. I can't begin to imagine the pain. And the part that was the hardest for many to stomach... the doctors stated that if she had been wearing a helmet, she would've suffered from probably a minor concussion.

Tragically Christina passed away in the fall of 2002. In her freshman year of college she contracted meingitis, and as the tissue swelled, she went into the hospital. Because of all the deformities in her skull and inorganic objects still in her skull (wires, plates, etc) she died before the sunrise of the next day. That still doesn't sit well with me. Just thinking of all the pain she went through, all the suffering those close to her underwent, and then her surviving and actually looking almost back to normal again, only to die 4 years later is horrible.

Just think, if only she'd been wearing a 'brain bucket'.

kennedy
January 18, 2004
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Enough said. I have a helmet already but it's only lightweight. I'm buying a proper one because I would hate to put my loved ones through that.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds