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Why Helmets are Sooooooooooooo Important

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Was standing in the lift line for KT-22 at Squaw on Saturday and watched this guy skiing out of control down the Mountain Run toward us,

he a small jump right near the lift line, his front tips dug into a mugul hole and catapulted him forward directly on his face with an amazing thwack sound

He lost everythng, and slid lifeless and unconscious right down the hill toward us

about 25 minutes later, they carted him off and I could see his eyes open but his face was covered in blood, his nose was clearly broken and I'm guessing that the least of his worries is a severe concussion and the worst case scenario is he broke his neck and he's paralyzed

the sad thing is that he was about 20 ft from the bottom of the run

he had no helmet on and I'm guessing that maybe in his case, it might have made the hit less severe, but the sound of that thwack to his forehead and face is hard to forget

wear helmets people, he was probably tired and coincidently it happened in the afternoon when most accident occur
post #2 of 26
I grew up on skis in the 60's. It is no exaggeration that when I was kid, I lived to ski. No one, except racers wore helmets. And it never occurred to my parents to put me in one. And it did not occur to me either. Thirty years later I had a wake up call. Was skiing easy on the top of Sugarloaf the last run of the day. I came over a rise, hit a pitch of solid ice, and went down. I slid head first down the hill, on my back, picking up speed as I went. The slope was steep, the surface was boilerplate and I was in a full length powder suit. I traveled about 75'-100' and flew uncontrolled head first into the woods. I only stopped towards the edge because, miraculously, I threaded the needle between a huge birch tree to one side and a boulder to the other. Because the opening between them was narrower than my skis (203 Volkls) were long, they caught me and released. I sliced up my ear, but that was it. There is little doubt in my mind that had my trajectory been slightly to either side, I would have died, either from massive head trauma or broken neck. That was my last time on skis for around ten years. It is not that I was spooked. I broke my leg at thirteen while spring skiing in Tuckerman's Ravine - and was right back at it the next year. But I had three small children who needed a father. I forever missed skiing and dearly regretted that my kids did not experience the magic of skiing that is accessible only to a child. Last year my wife got us all up and out. And it took little convincing. Two of my boys chose boarding and one, the sticks. Literally, the first thing we bought them were helmets. And my wife and I got one as well. I have not told them my story. There is no need. They will always wear helmets because it will be unnatural for them not to. Just as it is with seat belts. That is the way it is for me now as well. It should be for everyone.
post #3 of 26
That's a pretty sobering story as I like you grew up skiing in the 60's and associated only downhillers wearing helmets. Flash forward today and the fact I don't wear a helmet has nothing to do with machismo or anything like that, its the old reference that unless you skied at 70 mph you don't need a helmet.

I'm 50 now and maybe I ought to get preventative and get a helmet. I've been very fortunate regarding skiing crashes, the few I've had like others happened very fast. Its probably prudent to be prepared for the worst.
post #4 of 26
I always liked to ski in a ball cap or flap cap with a visor it reduced the need for sunsceen and kept the snow out of the sun glasses on light snow days. I love my Giro with a visor but most helmets don't seem to have one now. So we have another thing to thank the boarders for or mabe Sonny Bono making helmets OK.
post #5 of 26
Roundturns, do your family a favor and get one. You will adapt to it quickly and soon it will seem odd to be without it. I have used mine in the coldest weather and it has kept my ears toasty - even without a hat. The most chilling part of my tale is that I was not tempting fate. I was on a trail well within my skill, and was traveling at a very prudent speed. That all turned around in a heartbeat as I came over a rise onto the ice-covered pitch. No where to go. Nothing to do. But there is another perspective for the overly confident as well. I was at Killington last week. It was very busy. I was midway down a trail, stopped on the side well out traffic. From behind I heard a scream. A teenage kid grazed me, and careened out of control into a fence. If he had tagged me good, it would not have been pretty, for either of us. It scared the crap out of both of us. Much as you may think your skills determine your destiny on the slopes, others may have something else in mind for you.
And fast old fart, on those rare occasions that I recount my tale, I refer to it as my near Sonny Bono experience. Truly it was. I am greatful to have been given the second chance he wasn't. For me, heading out on the slopes without a helmet, under the circumstances, would be positively indecent.
post #6 of 26
helmets aren't going to save you from a fatal fall... they will, however, prevent a lot of less serious concussions and contusions to the head. Bascially, a helmet will help stop many of the minor bumbs and bruises but wont do much during a 40mph slide into a boulder field.
post #7 of 26
Hope you folks all wear helmets in your car - and strap them on the kids too 'cause I reckon your chances of a serious head injury in a car are far far more likely than when skiing. Don't get me wrong - helmets are terrific for skiing but lets not overstate the risk.
Cheers
post #8 of 26
Yep, and I make 'em wear their goggles in the car as well.
post #9 of 26
Sorry routlirh, with seat belts and airbags, the chance of a serious head injury in a car is very low. Without these, then yes. Maybe we should invent a strap-on airbag that could deploy in the event of a bad fall. Hey, it could even be a big round beachball approach that would allow us to bump and role our way down the hill. Guess we would need some kind of break so as not to take out everyone below.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
helmets aren't going to save you from a fatal fall... they will, however, prevent a lot of less serious concussions and contusions to the head. Bascially, a helmet will help stop many of the minor bumbs and bruises but wont do much during a 40mph slide into a boulder field.
Fatal falls aren't just when you fall off cliffs. There are many instances where one had bumped their head a little too hard, causing enough damage to permanantly maim or kill the person. And with a helmet, it will usually be enough to decrease the shock to the head where one would get only a concussion.

Just like seat belts, it won't save anyone is a 55mph head on crash, but it will make enough of a difference for many other cases where the unbelted would die and belted would survive.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
every skier takes a dinger occasionally, you catch an edge on ice, you hit a rock, you ski over a submerged tree root, to lose concentration

that said, the reason to wear a helmet is not just because of YOUR riding ability, it's for the idiot behind you who's out of control who's about to crash into you

unlike a car, which has a rearview mirror, humans aren't equiped to "look behind" when they're going forward

there are lots of weekend warriors out there following their friends down hard runs they shouldn't be on and when THEY crash and take YOU out by the legs from behind, then you are in trouble, too

case in point (read below)



Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:36 pm Post subject: As if avalanches weren't enough

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From Jackson Hole Radio:

"A 28 year old Massachusetts woman died Friday after suffering severe injuries when a snow-boarder collided with her while she was skiing at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The accident occurred Thursday morning. Eyewitnesses say Heather Donahue was skiing near the lower portion of Laramie Bowl when a 16 year-old snowboarder came from above her on the mountain and collided with her, causing both of them about 30 feet down the mountain. The snowboard was broken in two by the impact of the crash. Donahue immediately lost consciousness. Ski patrol members brought her down the mountain to the medical clinic, and she was taken to St. John's Medical Center by ambulance. From there she was life-flighted to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, where she died the next day. The Snowboarder, who is from Maryland, received minor injuries in the crash. His name was not released because he is a minor. Sheriff's deputies placed him under arrest and charged him with manslaughter as soon as they learned Donahue had died from her injuries. He was later released to an adult friend of his family, and returned to Maryland on Saturday. "
post #12 of 26
Question for those of you who've skiied both with and without helmets--how does it affect your hearing? I have a hard time hearing whenever there's background noise (say, in a loud car, or in a crowded room where people are talking.) And that includes when I'm skiing and there's the background noise of wind, your own skis against the snow, etc. I'm looking into getting a helmet soon, but it's a concern to me that I might have even more difficulty hearing a skiier who's about to overtake me than I do now.

It's not enough of a concern to deter me from getting a helmet, but I dread having an even worse time hearing.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicburnham
Question for those of you who've skiied both with and without helmets--how does it affect your hearing? I have a hard time hearing whenever there's background noise (say, in a loud car, or in a crowded room where people are talking.) And that includes when I'm skiing and there's the background noise of wind, your own skis against the snow, etc. I'm looking into getting a helmet soon, but it's a concern to me that I might have even more difficulty hearing a skiier who's about to overtake me than I do now.

It's not enough of a concern to deter me from getting a helmet, but I dread having an even worse time hearing.

I ski with a Giro (Nine/Fuse) and it has excellent hearing

make sure the ear flaps are not the old shcool kind where the helmet comes down and covers them with plastic

you want the ear flaps to be of synthetic soft material (see Giro helmets) that allows you to hear
post #14 of 26
I smacked my head really bad recently during a freak fall. I had my helmet on and I still saw stars and it hurt for 3 hours. I would have been really messed up without the helmet.
post #15 of 26
Will check out the Giro helmets, thanks!
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquawMan
I ski with a Giro (Nine/Fuse) and it has excellent hearing

make sure the ear flaps are not the old shcool kind where the helmet comes down and covers them with plastic

you want the ear flaps to be of synthetic soft material (see Giro helmets) that allows you to hear
I'll second that.....
Just got my "Nine" last week and wore it for the first time this past Saturday. I have trouble w/ background noise as well sometimes, but I didn't find the helmet any worse than a hat for hearing through.
post #17 of 26
I'll third the Giro. I bought a fuse and found it comfortable, with great hearing. Obnoxiously, I carry a cell phone so I can contact friends on the slopes-my version of a walky-talky. I can slip my flip-phone under the earpad. LewBob
post #18 of 26
Quote:
make sure the ear flaps are not the old shcool kind where the helmet comes down and covers them with plastic
So what is wrong with the old school type of helmet? They usually have enough holes for hearing, no?

I thought old school would be the ones with the non-removable chin guard.
post #19 of 26
I am new here but I am suprised at some of the negative responses to helmets.

Would you send your child or wife bike riding with out a helmet? Most skiers ski as fast as they would ride a bike and somethimes faster, but most people I know would not ride a bike or motorcycle with out one. Yet will ski on hard. icy conditions with rocks, trees and other skiers all around???

I have been wearing a helmet since 1994, bought one on a trip to Whistler/Blackcomb. I would feel naked without it, it is very light and after a few days you do not even notice. It is great on powder days/storm days. I bought mine before they had vents so it does get a little hot at times. I feel more confident when skiing trees, I no longer worry about hitting a branch. I have broken bones and had other injury's in various sports but they all will heal. The one thing that I realized may not heal is an injury to your head, even as hard headed as I am. Yes, I under stand that this is not absolute protection, but as a guy in motorcycle shop asked when my friend and I were buying motorcycles and complaning about the cost of helmets " so what do you figure your head is worth anyway???"
My two cents!
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618
helmets aren't going to save you from a fatal fall... they will, however, prevent a lot of less serious concussions and contusions to the head. Bascially, a helmet will help stop many of the minor bumbs and bruises but wont do much during a 40mph slide into a boulder field.
bite your tounge.
I was told point blank by an ER doc that my helmet saved my life.
not sure if I was going 40 or not, but I ragdolled over exposed rocks for a few hundred feet as I tumbled into a couloir.
the gouges in that helmet were long and deep and the 4 days I was under for pain control for my all over body bruisng show this guy I would not be here if not for my boeri.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicburnham
how does it affect your hearing?
I had a helmet that covered my ears and it had a lot of wind noise because of the holes, but my new Giro 9.9 is just fine. I can even take off the ear flaps if it's warm enough out.

A big advantage to that helmet is its convertability for temperature extremes. In January I was skiing at -10F with it and it was toasty, and on a warm day last week when I took out the vent plugs and removed the ear flaps it was cooler than wearing a baseball cap.
post #22 of 26
I used to ski without a helmet. However, this season, I have gotten used to wearing one that I wouldn't ski without one. Since advancing to tougher runs, I realized that having a helmet has saved me from some serious injuries a few times this year. Although it probably would not save me from something that would kill me, but it helped with the minor paralysis.
post #23 of 26
I've been wearing a Boeri helmet for two years now and it definitely affects my hearing but I haven't noticed any negative effects while skiing down the hill. One thing not mentioned that I recently discovered: How do you pack the damn thing for a plane trip? I ended up putting it in a backpack and toting it on the plane. Noticed a motorcyclist did the same thing, too...
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:05 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A 29-year-old veterinarian from Shrewsbury died last week after a snowboarder slammed into her as she waited for her husband at an agreed-upon meeting spot on the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming.

The snowboarder, a 16-year-old whose name was not released by authorities, is facing manslaughter charges. It is not yet known whether he will be prosecuted as a juvenile or as an adult. If convicted as an adult, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

The teenager, who suffered minor injuries, returned to his home in Maryland Saturday, investigators said.

The victim was Heather Donahue, a longtime skier who recently moved from Colorado to her native Massachusetts to complete an emergency medicine internship at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton. She suffered massive head injuries in the crash Thursday and died Friday.

Her mother, Nancy Donahue of Chelmsford, said yesterday that her daughter's husband witnessed the crash. But her daughter, she said, ''didn't even see the kid coming."

''She had just completed a run and was waiting for her husband, talking to some friends," Nancy Donahue said. ''She was waiting, and this person was out of control and hit her with his snowboard."

According to the National Ski Areas Association, 41 skiers and snowboarders died in accidents on the slopes nationwide during the 2003-04 season, up from 37 the previous season.

Captain Jim Whalen of the Teton County Sheriff's Office said deaths resulting from skiers colliding on the slopes are very rare, with most fatalities occurring when skiers or snowmobilers hit a tree or take a bad jump.

The crash involving Donahue happened shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday. Donahue was in Wyoming for the week to ski and spend time with her husband's family, her mother said.

According to witness accounts given to investigators, the snowboarder was traveling down the hill at an extremely high rate of speed when he struck Donahue near the lower portion of Laramie Bowl, an intermediate slope.

The snowboarder didn't appear to try to avoid Donahue, even though there was space to do so, the witnesses said.

The impact broke the snowboard in two and sent both Donahue and the snowboarder sliding about 30 feet down the mountain, investigators said.

Donahue immediately lost consciousness. Her spleen was operated on at a local hospital to stabilize her, and she was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where she died Friday.

A memorial service for Donahue is planned for Saturday in Meredith, N.H.

The elder of two daughters, Donahue was raised in Chelmsford and graduated from Colgate University and Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, her mother said.

She had planned to specialize in emergency medicine after completing her internship in June and had just started applying for jobs.

''She was beginning her life," said Nancy Donahue.
post #25 of 26
Whoa! Pretty scary. I was there but didn't see that tragedy.

My last runs on Saturday were at KT-22 on Moseley; I was beat and called it a day in the afternoon.


I took a slide for life in the Chutes at Mt Rose early this season. It was a miracle I'm not talking with a speech impediment. I purchase a helmet that night.

I prefer it to a hat:
warmer or cooler with vents
can listen to music
one more layer to keep my brain intact
post #26 of 26
I wonder if a visor, as on the Giro nine.9 MX, would have hit first, possibly moving the helmet back. Maybe better not to have them? They don't provide any real safety function, except helping block branches.
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