Many Montana residents love to engage in outdoor recreational activities in the winter as well as in the summer. Popular wintertime activities among Montana residents include skiing, snowboarding and ski tubing. While hitting the slopes, individuals are encouraged by a myriad of organizations to wear proper headgear. The logic behind this recommendation is that if you get into an accident while on the slopes, you will be less likely to sustain minor and major head trauma if you are wearing a helmet.
Unfortunately, helmets do not seem to protect skiers and snowboarders as often or as significantly as one would hope. In their current designs, ski and snowboarder helmets do not necessarily contain any particular product defects. However, their usage overall does not seem to be resulting in the effects that safety-conscious skiers and snowboarders desire.
According to the National Ski Areas Association, the number of serious brain injuries and snow-sports-related deaths has not decreased even as the number of individuals choosing to wear helmets on the slopes has increased. Some experts insist that skiers and snowboarders are approaching their sports in riskier ways that helmet use simply cannot compensate for in an accident.
This news is certainly disheartening. But at the end of the day, it is still a better idea to outfit yourself with a helmet if you plan on skiing or snowboarding. Though helmets do not work as effectively as once presumed, they likely provide better protection from minor injuries, scrapes and bruising than foregoing a helmet would.
Source: The New York Times, "Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries," Kelley McMillan, Dec. 31, 2013