Helmets
Posted: 18 March 2012 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I posted on here once before, about helmets, a long time ago, and I am going to open the topic again. We have just returned from Passo Tonale (10/03/12 - 17/03/12). The weather was warm, 6-9’c in the afternoons, and the snow was just a slushy mess, easy reds turned into nasty mixes of sugary custard. Even the wonderfull blues (34/35) above the village, were just nasty in places. I have only been skiing for about 5 years, but have never seen so many people being ferried down the mountain, in the scary orange stretchers.  Should the use of helmets be made compulsary? My partner had a fall, and had a nasty bump on the head, she was not wearing a helmet, thankfully she is ok. I had a nasty fall in Italy a few years back, and have worn a helmet ever since, my head was also saved after a spectacular wipe out, a few days into our holiday this year (skiied into some nasty slushy, churned up gloop, and the skiis just refused to turn.) I have seen an increase in the use of helmets amongst adults, and all children wore helmets. Yet a lot of people are still not using them, is it time for the EU legislative machine to force the use of helmets on the piste? I know some people will object to my views, but if it helps to prevent injury, legislate away. Or should resorts be forced to give out warnings of potentially tricky conditions on pistes affected by lack of snow, and hazardous conditions? We see warnings of the dangers of off piste skiing, yet surprisingly little about the dangers of on piste skiing. The majority of us are safe skiiers, but accidents happen all the time, a couple I spoke to in Passo, said a lady in their hotel, broke her collar bone, on a nursery slope, on her first day in resort. So accidents do, and will happen, but I’d rather have a broken colllar bone, than a cracked skull.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ultimately it will be insurance companies who will decide whether helmets become compulsory. Winter-sports cover on travel insurance may, in future, be conditional on wearing a helmet complying to a certain quality standard however, this will probably only happen if the statistics the insurance companies use show that they will save lots of money on claims made if the claimants were wearing helmets. Helmets don’t save knee ligaments or calf muscles, broken legs/ arms or anyone from sheer stupidity, recklessness or incompetence though.

Having said that, I have been converted. After over 20 + years skiing without a helmet and not considering them worthwhile, I was persuaded to try one and it possibly saved me from very serious injury on the first day of wearing. I was knocked off balance by a fellow skier who tangled with my skis as an old two person chairlift approached (you know, the type that doesn’t slow down). It caught us off balance with skis tangled and we both ended up being flattened by the chair which hit me full on the back of the head without slowing down (thanks to the slow reaction of the unapologetic French lifty). The helmet was dented (new one required) by the bolt securing the seat to the chair but my head was not. It could have been very much worse.

Dave

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Posted: 23 March 2012 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave has an intersting concept about insurance companies increasing premiums for non helmet wearers hence forcing through compulsion. I just do not see this happening. Insurance companies base their premiums entirely on risk - that is the probability of an event happening multiplied by its consequences. Given that there is little evidence to relating the wearing of a helmet to reduced risk of injury I doubt if this will happen.

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Posted: 26 March 2012 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dave’s is a common story. I’ve been a helmet convert for several years and it’s saved me from potentially nasty head bumps several times - not to mention knocks on the back of the head from chairlift safety bars (am I the only one this happens to?). This year, the last of our party (who had previously stubbornly refused to ditch the bobble-hat) rented a helmet and what do you know - took a tumble and bumped his noggin on the first day. No injuries and another convert…!

There’s a school of thought that wearing a helmet somehow gives you a safety blanket and you’re more likely to take greater risks, but I’m not sure - the helmet only protects against head injuries after all. Personally, I’m so used to the helmet, I almost don’t know I’m wearing it - and I judge how I ski on the pravailing conditions (snow, vis, type and busyness of slope etc) and what I feel is within my capabilities - I’d say all but the truly reckless do the same.

I am surprised that there isn’t some kind of legistlation or enforcement though - you can easily hit motorbike speeds on skis and try doing that on the public highway without a helmet…

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Posted: 12 March 2013 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dave, I was in Passo Tonale at the same time as you, and yes I remember the conditions being awful, my partner took a nasty fall as well, and really banged her head hard. She was not wearing a helmet either. I hit my head quite badly in Claviere a few years earlier, I bought a helmet the moment we flew back to the UK. I have now luckily convinced my partner that she needs a helmet, and she now has a new one waiting to be used for the first time. Hopefully she will not need it. We should take a look at the downhill ski circuit, all of the athletes wear helmets, I don’t think it is a safety blanket, it should be a law. I don’t take any more risks than I did before I wore a helmet, we should ski within our abilities and as Hugh say’s “on the prevailing conditions” I think the reason people don’t want to wear helmets is that they don’t look good, this was my partners excuse, I don’t care how I look, I’d rather look silly in a helmet, than laying in a hospital bed, or worse.

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Posted: 21 October 2013 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think helmets are the ‘cool’ by now and woolly hats are, well, old hat - a bit like the green and purple all-in-one from C&A…

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Posted: 31 January 2014 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It is incrdible to discover how ineffective can be some helmets. Keeping in mind Schumacher’s incident , a group of neurologists said no helmet can protect from a vertical impact against a solid obejct at speed greater than 20 km/h.

In case of a F1 helmet this speed is increased to 30 km/h due to a better design and material.

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Posted: 09 July 2014 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Helmets are really important. It protects your skull from direct injury whether from a minor or violent impact when accident strikes.

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Posted: 27 July 2014 09:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I think people who don’t wear helmets look daft now. Including the ski instructors!!

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