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Ski Helmets: Should they be made a skiing equipment requirement?

When you are skiing down the slopes at quite literally break neck speeds, should you be required by law to have a ski helmet attached to your head should such a crash occur?



Currently there are areas and countries that do in fact have ski helmet legislation. These laws have usually been put into action because of detrimental ski accidents and in the aftermath of lost lives and a more public awareness about the hazards of skiing without a helmet.


One such instance is that legislation in the Alps states that as of January 2009 all children under the age of fourteen must be outfitted with a ski helmet. This is due to a particular crash that involved a mother hitting a fellow skier (a German politician in fact) at what equated to be 60 mph. The mother, who was without a helmet died, but the politician did live despite being sent into a coma. That accident was the tipping point, as it came to be the latest in a string of 17 other skier deaths in that single season. In passing at least a child helmet regulation law for skiers, the Austrians hope to cut back those death rates.


Along the same vein, those in Worcester have been fighting an ongoing battle between those who are for ski helmet laws and those against. The pro side are usually comprised of ski crash victims or the families of those lost in ski crashes, stating that a ski helmet could have saved the lives of the loved ones they had lost.


Yet ski resorts are opposed because they feel that by forcing skiers and snowboarders to strap on a helmet they will dive away disgruntled customers. And so it is that the laws come to a sticking point where they are sent into a state of limbo in the regional governments. The startling jump in deaths associated with skiing and snowboarding is no doubt in part due to the growing popularity of extreme sports with more daring aerials and tricks.


With the 2010 Winter Olympic games fast approaching, there is further heightened awareness in these areas. Yet the choice to wear a ski helmet or not is generally left up to the individual if they are an adult. It is then quite literally a choice between life and death when you are out on the slopes debating as to whether or not to put on a ski helmet.


Some argue that they aren't 'cool' or limit your view or ability to correctly do a certain ski manoeuvre, but is it worth dying over a personal fashion preference? Just as it took the loss of uncountable lives due to car crashes involving those who didn't choose to wear their seat belts before laws came into action, how many more must pay the ultimate price until it becomes a law that while on the slopes you must wear a protective ski helmet?