Originally Posted by iskitoofast4u
From the various debates on Epicski, mainstream ski magazine literature, and some geek reading I did on my own, I'd say the jury is still out as to the level of protection a helmet provides. I've heard effective ceiling estimates as low as 15 m.p.h., which I'm willing to bet some of us average on the way into the liftline.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people believe head injuries only occur in collisions. My reading has likewise shown that the jury is still out in most of the aspects of protection and relative safety researchers consider
when looking at their data. A lot of those aspects don't have much to do with why I wear a helmet.
For me there are tangible benefits well worth wearing one outside of accidents that are of questionable survivability. I've hit my head hard enough for a minor concussion while wearing a good
helmet without doing anything dangerous or out of the ordinary. I didn't run into
anything, I just slapped my head against the snow really hard. Sadly and perhaps ironically, two people have died
at my tiny little hill in the same manner in the last few years. Intermediate skiers simply fell on easy terrain and hit their heads hard enough to cause death. Both cases were during "loud powder" weather cycles.
Once I wasn't paying attention and got hit by the chair coming around the bullwheel in the back of the head...was also glad the helmet softened the headache. It also sucks a lot less to take a GS gate to the head with a nice hard helmet.
|It's gotten to the point now where my helmet is like my seatbelt -- I feel naked without it.
Me too. I agree that the research doesn't really show a rock solid link between brain damaging accidents and helmet use. However, this is one of those times where I believe good sense may outstrip the current medical research. Maybe not, but I'd note that blacksmiths figured out how to make swords with hardened steel edges way before materials science was understood or researched.
Originally Posted by volantaddict
I know that the overwhelming majority of them are suffered in car accidents. I wonder how many of the safety conscious skiers wear their helmets as they drive home.
Excellent and almost irrefutable point. If I operated my skis like I operate my car, I doubt a helmet would provide any tangible safety benefit. I'd still wear it anyways because I'm just more comfortable with one now, but I doubt it'd be much of a real safety benefit.
Of course, if I operated my car on public roads like I operate my skis, I'd get arrested and hauled off to jail. I willfully take risks of far greater magnitude on skis than I (willfully and consciously) take in the car. One of the great things about skiing is that I'm allowed to do that with very little penalty, though stick-up-the-ass groups and old fogeys always want to change that.
I'm not so much worried about the risks as I am convinced that my helmet reduces the consequences of my stupidity on infrequent occassions.
At the same time, I'd also prefer more safety in my vehicles. The small inconvenience of a proper harness is absolutely worth it, as is the fit of a proper seat. Maybe its just because I'm young and realize I'm prone to stupidity, but I can't imagine driving an open car with any sort of vigor without a well designed and implemented roll bar.