The reports have just come in of five skiers dying in an avalanche in Austria. This is just the latest news on this front from what looks like another bad season. The incident took place in the Wattental valley, Tirol, and reports indicate that those involved had ignored warnings. The Guardian paper reported that: The experienced […]
It is hard to think of anything less cool than venturing outdoors wearing a plastic or polystyrene dome on your head, but like bicycle helmets and hard climbing hats, ski helmets are slowly catching on.
For the past couple of years parents have been putting helmets on their kids – probably because the little ones don’t get a vote on the subject. They are also used to wearing bike helmets – these days one has to look far and wide to spot a 3-year-old on a trike who isn’t wearing something bright and colorful on their heads.
But what parents have been putting on their kids is also slowly migrating to adults. Much of the impetus has been a couple of high-profile accidents that have revealed just how easy it is to get hurt really badly on the slopes. The tragic death of the actress Natasha Richardson in March 2009 brought this point home to many. She took a fall while taking a ski lesson in Canada and although seemed fine deteriorated quite quickly because of a bleed on her brain.
In Europe the issue is top of the agenda for government safety officials.
Official Swiss figures recon that 17,000 people hurt their heads on the slopes each year and the safety gurus reckon more than 60% of those could be avoided by wearing ski helmets. Last winter in Austria 7 people died as a result of collisions on the slopes.
Figures like that are encouraging some European countries to start passing laws making it compulsory for kids to wear head protection while skiing. Austria is one, Italy another. And even without a law making it compulsory helmet wearing seems to be increasing. And it helps that the industry is coming up with some designs that are way cooler than they were just a few years ago. Wearing a ski helmet this winter may even start to look stylish.