You may have noticed kids have an uncanny knack for getting right to the bottom of an issue. Have you ever been in line in the grocery store and one of your kids pipes up (loud enough for all to hear), "Mom, why is that lady's hair pink?" Maybe you've been at a family reunion and the question was, "Dad, why does Aunt Matilda have that big lump on her face?" My all-time favorite innocent kid question, of course is "Mom, Dad.... where do babies come from?" Let me help you out and save you from this question: "Mom, Dad why do I have to wear a ski helmet when you don't?"
I remember exactly when I made my decision to start wearing a ski helmet. We were in Park City on our annual Spring Break trip when the news broke that Natasha Richardson had passed away. This talented Tony award winning actress had an impressive list of theater, film and television credits, but was best known to me for her role opposite Lindsey Lohan in "The Parent Trap". The details of her ski accident weren't gory and she wasn't involved in a high speed crash. She fell. On the beginner slope. It was described as a "normal fall" and afterwards she got up and was fine and walked away insisting she didn't need any medical attention. Ultimately, she had bleeding in the outer layer of her brain and very quickly succumbed to her injury leaving behind a devastated husband, Liam Neeson, and their 2 sons. Arguably the news reports proclaimed a helmet would have saved her life. I looked at my husband and 3 sons and knew from that moment on I would always wear a ski helmet.
"Mom, Dad why do I have to wear a ski helmet when you don't?"
The most surprising thing about wearing a helmet for me is how comfortable it is. I truly expected it to be an adjustment for me but it wasn't. The added bonus that I found is that a helmet improves my temperature control. Of course you remember that you lose most heat from your head and the helmet does an excellent job of retaining heat to keep the rest of your body warm too. Now for those of you who are saying, “Yeah, but I’m hot- headed” - not to worry. You can purchase helmets with vents that open and close to allow you to find the balance of hot and cold that is comfortable for you.
Ready to go shopping? Helmets are available from all your favorite brand names and have a variety of styles and colors. You will have to make some decisions about your preferences for a vented helmet or solid and many helmets come with an audio system. Most have a clip to secure your goggles. It's important when you are looking for a ski helmet to try them on. The fit should be snug, but not too tight that you get a headache. Try to bring your goggles with you or if you are a spring skier like me - maybe you want to try your helmet on with sunglasses or a skullcap to check for comfort. Many helmets come with pads that you can insert or remove to adjust to your perfect fit.
As of this writing, New Jersey is the only state with a law requiring ski helmets for minors. California’s legislature passed a similar bill in 2010 and again in 2011 however both Governors Arnold Swarzenegger and Jerry Brown vetoed these measures. In Canada, Nova Scotia notably passed a law requiring all skiers and riders to wear a helmet on the slopes. The debate on these helmet laws fall predictably on partisan sides, but a different argument is presented by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). The ski resorts do not wish to be placed in the position of enforcing any helmet law and would prefer to leave enforcement to local police departments on the basis of logistical and legal issues. Any helmet mandating bill that addresses enforcement by placing responsibility with local authorities and parents would be supported by the NSAA.
Regardless of law, the number of people wearing helmets on the slopes is growing at a rapid rate including the daredevil 18-24 year olds – up 139% since 2002. I hope you are convinced to present a good example for your kids, find a helmet that is comfortable for you and wear it consistently on the slopes.
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' authors have or will receive a paid trip to Park City Mountain Resort or will receive other compensation for their participation as an author.