I recently found this article on MSNBC.com, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22206072/, which says that research has shown there's a rise of head and spinal cord injuries among skiers and snowboarders on the slopes. One way to avoid such potentially traumatic injuries is to wear a helmet. Which got me wondering....who out there wears helmets on the slopes? I don't when I ski, truthfully. But I'm not talented enough to try any stunts just yet, either.
Absolutely. I've been wearing a helmet when I snowboarded since I was 7 years old and I was still skiing. I recommend it and I've definitely noticed a tremendous increase in the number and percentage of people (especially snowboarders) wearing helmets as of late. I do a lot of park riding as well as back country so I think its essential, but even if you arent "going big" I still recommend it.
No and I probably should (especially after my bad fall last season). It's defiantly a smart choice, but something that I never really thought about. Wearing a helmet and riding a bike go hand in hand, but wearing a helmet when snowboarding is a new thing. Thanks for brining this issue up!
The long and short of it is: it can't hurt, right? And because most snowboard-related deaths are a result of head injuries, why not take every precaution you can. And that includes freeriding, not just stunts.
That's right Adam, it can't hurt to wear the helmet, cause it could most definitely hurt if you take a tumble on the slopes, whether your a beginner or an old pro (well, not exactly old, but you know what I mean) at snowboarding.
I tend to think about it another way. With a lot of recreational activities like snowboarding, skating, and non-ice related favorites like bike riding and rock climbing, protecting your body is not only important to your health, but it could even be key to your lifelong enjoyment of the sport. Even if you come out of an accident in which you were without a helmet and other protection with just a few scrapes, bumps and bruises, the shock of the accident could potentially turn you off from the sport totally, or at least keep you away from it for a while. Think about it before you leave your helmet at home.
I consider it required gear for snowboarding. The first time I ever went (on the east coast, so lots of ice) I probably hit my head about 4 times that day at slow speeds. Since then, I've been wearing a helmet. It's probably saved my life a few times. I went off a ramp last season and came down on my back, basically slamming my head against the landing spot (basically ice). Although I was a little dizzy, and put a nice crack in the back of my helmet, I got up and kept carving. Seriously, if you consider snowboarding without a helmet, you're just an idiot. Expect a darwin award.
I just want to make an extra mention of why, as a beginner or intermediate rider, you're going to hit your head a lot (not if you're going to hit your head).
Ok, think about doing a toeside j-turn while going straight and fast (using the metal edge of the board by your toes to cut into the snow in order to make a turn). Now, picture yourself going off balance slightly and picture your heelside edge (the metal edge of the board that's closest to your heels) grab. See where this is going? When your heelside catches, you're going to slam down on your back -- hard, likely hitting your head in the process. It's almost impossible to avoid, even while going slow. The edge will cut into the snow and stop your feet almost instantly. This is pretty much unavoidable when you're learning and it even happens to me sometimes (I've been snowboarding for about 7 years now). Especially in glades where you need to make tons of butter to avoid trees...
If you need any more encouragement to wear a helmet after that, go up on the ski lift that runs above any park (the area with rails and ramps). Notice all of the red snow everywhere? Yeah, that's blood. Blood from people who are expert enough to carve up the park.
I have been riding since 1995, and last year (2008) I finally got a helmet. I (HEART) my Helmet! It's super comfortable, and just warm enough, without being too warm. And I feel so much safer. Be sure to try on as many as you can to find one that fits your melon the best. I tried on a million!
Best part, is when I fall, and the helmet & goggles stay put... no more climbing back up the hill to retrieve the hat & goggles.
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