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Helmets? Second guessing

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for data and thoughts.
I used to have my clients ski with helments, but I didn't. I used to say that I skied some 1000 days and never hit my head, so why. Then I hit my head. Freak tight tree skiing accident on a pow day. No crash, just a blind clip and out.

So, I got a helmet. I've worn it for 3 years and now I'm second guessing it. Seems some research says they won't do any good anyway, so lots of people are going away.

any data or thoughts to push me one way or the other again,

Cheers, Wade
post #2 of 91
Most research says a helmet will help. In specific types of accidents they won't do any good, IE head on colision with a tree at speed. But what about all the slow impacts, hit by another person and head to the hardpack or ice. Slower impact with a tree, etc..

Also what example are you setting for your clients or their kids.

I wear mine now all the time. If a student (especially children) see me with a helmet, they can't say "DCHAN doesn't wear a helmet, Why do I have to?"

My friends kids all used to ask "uncle d doesn't wear a helmet" that's what got me to purchase one. Now I can't find a warmer hat!" now all I need is a lighter weight one for Spring.
post #3 of 91
Before my first helmet got stolen, I wore it for lessons and on and off otherwise, depending upon weather (a helmet is the warmest hat I've ever had).

I acquired a new one the start of this season and have worn it religiously from day one. Only time I've taken it off and had skis on was when I worked a couple warm days at the children's beginner area (magic carpet hill and a carousel).

I have one of those Leedoms with the closeable air vents and it has been sufficiently adjustable for all weather conditions. I now don't "feel right" actually skiing without having it on.

Almost every day, someone tells me about a fall or being run down with the head bumping the snow. That's the main scenario where I figure the helmet helps. Running into obstacles likely will be harmful regardless of headwear.
post #4 of 91
I wear my helmet almost without fail since I got mine 2 years ago. Like Kneale and Holiday said, it is the warmest, most comfy head gear ever. Gone are the days of trying in vain to keep my ears and head warm in single digit temperatures.

I think my helmet is almost useless if I am to impact a tree or other immovable object going greater than 20mph or so. However, in skier-skier collisions, it can certainly protects my noggin from errant equipment and impact with the Eastern type "loud" powder.

Besides, my helmet is so butt ugly and distinctive that people can recognize me from half a mountain away.
post #5 of 91
I can't speak to what the data says and I am not an engineer but I am sure helmets are safer than hats. They probably are not perfect but what is?

This was my first year of wearing one. The biggest adjustment was not being able to stuff the helmet in my pocket when i wasn't wearing it.

Warm,comfortable and safer works for me.
post #6 of 91
Reasons to wear a helmet

1. I like not having to mess with sunscreen on my ears.

2. If you get hit in the head it hurts less and your less likely to die

3. If your balding, no one knows

4. When people ask why you wear a helmet, you get to tell them, "it's for the terrain park kid".

5. With the right helmet, they help keep you warm in the winter when it's really cold and are actually not even that bad in the spring.

Most of the bad accidents I've seen have been skier to skier collisions. Head to head contact has to be pretty common in some of the bad ones. I saw one with head to head contact about a month back while I was on a lift. The person didn't move till they carefully took him down the mountain 40 minutes later. Neither party was wearing helmets.

Would be nice to know the actual statistics.

6. I'm sure that a helmet would not make you less safe.
post #7 of 91
Wearing a helmet gives you a place to advertise EpicSki with a helmet sticker.
post #8 of 91
Here is some data that you may find useful.

There are 3 safety standards: Snell RS-98, ASTM 2040 aka ASTM, and CE UN EN 1077 aka CEN 1077 or CE in descending order of effectiveness.

Snell RS-98 tests the following:

Flat impact (2m drop 100 joules) 35% stronger than ASTM 2040 flat impact (74 joules), 45% stronger than CEN 1077 flat impact (1.5m drop 69 joules size M)

Hemispherical impact (1.6m drop 80 joules) while ASTM 2040 & CEN 1077 no test

Edge impact (1.6m drop 80 joules) while ASTM 2040 & CEN 1077 no test

Shell penetration (1m drop) 33% stronger than CEN 1077 (0.75m drop)

* Snell is the toughest standard and significantly better than ASTM 2040 and CEN 1077. It also tests round (hemisphere) and sharp (edge) object impacts which concentrate impact force far more than the basic flat surface impact test. ASTM 2040 and CEN 1077 don't even bother to test for round or sharp object impacts.

* All standards assume only 1 impact not multiple impacts so careful inspection of helmet after a significant impact is important.

* Helmets don’t replace personal responsibility as most standards assume a 12 mph speed which is very slow.

To read more on the standards: Q: Is there a standard for manufacturing a helmet? How do I know if the snowsport helmet I wear will provide me enough protection? Helmets Don't Replace Personal Responsibility Skiing Helmets An Evaluation of the Potential to Reduce Head Injury US Consumer Product Safety Commission 1/99 Comparison of RS-98 and CEN 1077 Comparison of RS-98, ASTM 2040, CEN 1077 RS-98 for Recreational Skiing and Snowboarding How Helmets are Tested
post #9 of 91
So does anyone have recommendations for a good helmet that is not too expensive? I normally stay plenty warm with just a fleece hat, and go hatless above 35F or so. If it gets much warmer, or if I am having an all-out day I will break a sweat. SO, it's important to have good ventilation....

post #10 of 91
I love my helmet and wouldn't trade it for anything. I don't even notice it on my head. It has Outlast so it's warm in the Winter and cool in the Spring.

It has saved me many times from slamming the back of my head on the ice, small branches, and dummies lowering the safety bar too fast and wacking me in the head.

Nothing is going to save you from a head on collision with a stationary object but I will take my chances with a helmet instead of a hat.
post #11 of 91
Please see signature below.

I've worn a helmet for the last six or seven years and I wouldn't go back to a hat for any reason. I wear a helmet when I ski or snowboard; when I ride a bicycle - road or mountain; when I ride a motorcycle. I know they're not the same statistically, but I liken it to wearing my seatbelt: I don't necessarily take any more chances, but I know I'm safer in the event of an accident.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot. Rather than trying to explain or justify why someone should wear a helmet, why not justify why someone (you) shouldn't wear a helmet.
post #12 of 91
What are the disadvantages of wearing a helmet? Obviously, there are some collisions in which the helmet won't prevent injury - for example, the encounter between the Kennedy and the tree resulted in a fracture of his spinal cord, which no helmet (only better judgement) would have prevented. But, I suspect a helmet has never caused an injury.

I spent the better part of every third night of a surgical internship in the emergency room treating the result of motor vehichle accidents involving unrestrained passengers. I would always wonder why you wouldn't wear a seatbelt - minor trauma caused by the collision of the driver or passenger with the seatbelt was insignifigant compared with the collision of the driver with the steering wheel, or the passenger with the windshield. I feel the same about helmets.

Helmets are warm, generally comfortable, only marginally more expensive than many hats, and far more protective. They won't prevent all injurys, but they will prevent some. So again, why wouldn't you wear one?
post #13 of 91
Thread Starter 
what a great response.
thanks for the data, ski03 and everybody else for all the justifications.
i guess some of those i've been skiing with lately don't post here.
but i like the reasoning here better.

for the member looking for a helmet.
I've been wearing the giro 9 for 3 years and have my wife and most of clients in it. it is super versatile, about as cool as a helmet can get for cal spring conditions, and damn good looking too. (no, they don't pay me, just give me good pro deals)

Thanks again. I'm back off the fence. The helmets don't really help crowd of bad ass skiers can kiss my giro.

post #14 of 91

* Head injuries are the number one cause of death and serious injury for skiers and snowboarders. Collisions with trees were the most common cause of head injury and were responsible for the most severe injuries. Snowboarders were 300% more likely to suffer a head injury than skiers.
---“An Analysis of Head Injuries Among Skiers and Snowboarders” by A. Stewart Levy et al of Saint Anthony Central Hospital, Denver, CO published in October 2002 issue of The Journal of Trauma

* Head injuries among skiers wearing helmets were 50% lower than for skiers not wearing helmets.
---“Nationwide Registration of ski injuries in Sweden” by J. Sandegaard et al at Skiing trauma and safety. Eighth International Symposium, ASTM STP 1104 in Philadelphia, PA: American Society for Testing and Materials, 1991. Reference #20.

* “Helmets may not prevent every injury, but in all the cases we have seen to date, they have mitigated potentially fatal or disabling head injuries into fully recoverable injuries.”
---“Helmets for Sports and Recreation: An Injury Prevention Battle Far from Over” by A. Stewart Levy, MD (neurosurgeon with InterMountain Neurosurgery at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, CO) published in Summer 2000 issue of Colorado Neurological Institute Review.

* “Our most severely injured helmeted patient to date was a snowboarder who went off a 40-foot cliff and landed on his head, cracking his helmet in half. He sustained a severe concussion (or mild diffuse axonal injury) with loss of consciousness, but had a negative CT scan of the head. He did require inpatient rehabilitation, but ultimately has made a full recovery and is now attending college.”
---“Helmets for Sports and Recreation: An Injury Prevention Battle Far from Over” by A. Stewart Levy, MD (neurosurgeon with InterMountain Neurosurgery at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, CO) published in Summer 2000 issue of Colorado Neurological Institute Review.

* One head injury increases risk of Parkinson’s disease 400%. Head trauma requiring hospitalization increases the risk 800% and severe head injury increases the risk 1100%. Symptoms started an average of 20 years after the incident. Parkinson's is a progressive brain disease characterized by tremors, muscle stiffness, a shuffling walk and difficulty with balance and coordination.
---“Head trauma preceding PD: a case-control study” by James H. Bower of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN published in May 2003 issue of Neurology.

* US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined that helmet use by skiers and snowboarders could prevent or reduce the severity of 44% of head injuries to adults and 53% of head injuries for those under 15 years of age.
---“Skiing Helmets: An Evaluation of the Potential to Reduce Injury” US Consumer Product Safety Commission, January 1999
post #15 of 91
Standing over the cliffs of Targhee.......I quote....."I'd jump in if I had my helmet on"

How many people ski terrain THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS
SKIING because they have a helmet on?

A helmet is no substitute for common sense.
post #16 of 91
I wear one!
Saved me a concussion last summer on Hintertux.
Snow's gone, just ice, ski got stuck in a water gully on the slope at high speed. Hit the floor pretty bad with the back of my head.
I was so happy I bought that helmet just the day before!

A friend of mine crashed two years ago, another skier couldn't avoid him and hit him in the head with his ski! Luckily he too was wearing a helmet...
post #17 of 91
The only time I don't wear my helmet is skiing a beginner's lesson on the magic carpet area when it's hot out. To much walking up and down.

I love it when it's cold. Keeps my head warm. Add a balakava underneath and I'm good to at least -15F.

In spring, take it off on the lift. Put it on when you get off. The helmut will cool and actualy cool you off for the first couple minutes you have it on. Ski fast and you'll be back at the lift before you head overheats.

post #18 of 91
Should we pass a law?
post #19 of 91
Definitely. Pass a law. In fact, while we're at it, let's pass SEVERAL laws. Really, laws are good. They help to pay for my mortgage and my son's college education.

And for skiing, the law should require that everyone, especially nolo, wear a helmet (or a helmut, if you're German and like that name). Even more important, we should be required to wear them AT ALL TIMES. I'm quite serious, no snickering, please. How many times do I bump my noggin while skiing? Not too many. Around the HOUSE?! ALL THE FREEKING TIME, DAMIT!!! Without the coverage of hair on my head, I've suffered I don't know how many head wounds, for example, when rising off the hopper after a healthy evacuation, sort of bent over (yes, I do remember, nolo, that ONE THING - keep the back straight - sorry, I just don't always do it right) anyway, sort of bent over, and I bang my head on the door which the cats have managed to push halfway closed while I was reading the newspaper and not paying attention.

So, for heaven's sake, PASS A LAW!

[ April 01, 2004, 08:07 AM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #20 of 91
LOL, Oboe you're the best!
post #21 of 91
Originally posted by nolo:
Should we pass a law?
I personally don't think we should pass a law.
Why over legislate? Over legislation may create an issue where there was none.

I don't think a law is necessary. Helmets on the slopes are gaining increasing acceptance every year. This is becoming even more so when as helmets evolve for better comfort and looks in addition to functionality. Take my wife, for example, who two years ago refused the mere thought of her donning a helmet. This year, after seeing many of her friends with helmets, decided that she looked better in a helmet than in a regular hat. Now she marvels at how warm and comfortable her helmet is.
post #22 of 91
Originally posted by oboe:
So, for heaven's sake, PASS A LAW!
In view of the fact that you cannot protect people from themselves; would that be a helmet law or a reading room safety bill you're suggesting? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #23 of 91
Originally posted by nolo:
Should we pass a law?
I am on the no side of this fence but often I look over to the yes side. The reason being this, if resorts must raise their lift ticket cost to cover insurance liabilities due to increased accidents, then a choice not to wear a helmet infringes on my ability to ski as often as I want. I stay on the no side when I think of the added cost to me by way of taxes raised or redirected to regulate such laws.
post #24 of 91
Thread Starter 
ski03, love your data.
i'm a bit of proof, guy and you have a nice set there.

badgerman, i'd say very few. i remember we used to think that early in the helmet movement, but if it were true, other injuries would have increased. most people are still inherently cautious (so much so that one of a ski instructors biggest challenges is getting people to accept the fall line and the tenent that float is the best part of skiing, not the finish across the hill)

Oboe, nice touch. i too was LOL (i think that means laughing out loud)
but nolo,
no laws, please.
recreation is about choice and freedom.
with education, like the info above, people will make the right choices (for them, maybe?)

Thanks again, today i'll wear my helmet with no second thoughts.

make it a great day,
post #25 of 91
Hey, if WE don't push for a law regulating the reading of newspapers during colonic evacuation, WHO THE HELL WILL?! This is a very serious matter. In this day and age, reading the newspaper on the hopper should be a considered a PRECIOUS, SAFE RIGHT - not an act of courage in the performance of a dangerous activity. We have the resources to deal with the issue - WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? Does some tragedy have to occur before we're moved to action?! This is exactly the area where government should be most active and can be truly effective.

For the most good for the most people, government should stay in the hopper and out of skiing.
post #26 of 91
No law. Let each skier/rider decide.

I think ski areas would lose more business if helmets were mandatory than from rate increases.
post #27 of 91
Originally posted by oboe:
For the most good for the most people, government should stay in the hopper and out of skiing.
My opinion, the gub'mint's already in the hopper. But that's another story altogether.

I believe this movement should begin in California. It would be logical and most fitting for California to change their state motto to:

<font color = blue>California, Land of Legislation.</font>
post #28 of 91
After two concussions I started wearing a helmet (Giro 9). Warmer than a hat, more comfortable, my goggles stay in place better, and don't come off in a digger. I recently ate it in some breakable crust with ice underneath, the helmet was slightly crushed in the front and I didn't even get a headache.
post #29 of 91

If you already wear a helmet and feel comfortable with it, then I think you should keep the helmet. But don't base your decision on the anecdotal evidence presented here. Base the decision on your own risk tolerance.

Let's face it, we also have speed limits and rarely do we drive within speed limits. The risks of driving over the speed limit are usually manageable, so we take that risk.

Helmet or not, risk management is very much part of skiing. A helmet addresses such a small part of the risk component inherent in skiing that for me it is not worth addressing. So as long as helmets are not mandatory, I will probably not wear one.

Before anyone calls me crazy, remember that there are skiers with helmets that take enormous risks compared with me. For them a helmet is little more than an ornament on their head.
post #30 of 91
Settle down Oboe, this is no place to be starting a MOVEMENT! :

Just what we need Nolo, more laws that protect people from themselves. If a law is passed it will probably happen first in Colorado, the "hang em high" state.

According to an earlier post most head injuries are a result of hitting a tree. Went on to say that snowboarders are 300 percent more likely to suffer head injury. So, put the 2 together: snowboarders are 3 times more likely to hit a tree. Well, gee, what a surprise to hear that!

USSA used to require Snell approved helmets for racers participating in it's events, and inspected for them. They still require helmets but no longer inspect them because they fear the assumption of liability in doing so. Now a kid can wear anything. I look at the substance of the older Snell approved helmets in contrast to the flimsy garbage the kids show up with now at races and shudder.

It's no wonder you hear stories of helmets splitting on impact, there's a glut of crapola out there. Helmet buying decisions for most people revolve around style, color and price. Few look for safety ratings. Good thing, just try going to your local ski shop and finding a Snell sticker somewhere in that glut of 2 ounce helmets they have.

Oh well, it's their head. I'm not passing any laws.

[ April 01, 2004, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: FastMan ]
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