You know Mike, I wasn't going to explain but you had to bring it up
I was going to mention this but didn't want to turn this post into something other than its original question - I never wear forearm guards in Master racing (actually never since that race and right before it) 'cause if I'm taking it on the forearm I'm probably heading for trouble (I'm talking GS, in slalom there's no reason for them at all, at least for more skilled racers).
That year we had some STUPID straight courses with idiotic wicked 1 gate offset rhythm changes on our little putt-putt hill. I got away with shining the stupid offset double panel gates (and it worked but NOT EVER RECOMMENDED, I've been spanked real hard in the back from the turning gate whipping around doing that, don't do it anymore regardless of the set) or at least taking out the turning pole, pulled some great HC's but got some serious forearm bruises. Those guards were just a NASTAR thing that particular year out of necessity. My bruises are usually on my lats and back of my shoulders, not the forearm. I agree with AM that if you're wearing those (needing them) at the recreational level you're probably skiing a bit too straight (and getting beat). If you race a lot of NASTAR and get stupid courses, well then, sure, good idea if you're getting a bit tender.
I would assume the WC'ers (the few that do) use them for extra protection based on fairly seldom PVC encounters. This tends to happen on flatter sections where the racers can take it pretty deep and the current tendency to drag that inside hand (yeah, I'd think a bit more inclination later in the turn recently but THIS is a completely different discussion and certainly not one I want to kick off).
Hey, how many of you guys are getting whacked from behind (not in a good place) from the slalom pole rebound - MAN THAT HURTS, since we're talking about "protection". I think that was happening when our coaches opted for the lighter "cheaper" gates. They soon went back to standard gate after the coaches themselves got whacked