- In 2012, “67 percent of skiers and snowboarders now wear helmets.” NSAA Helmet Usage
- Head trauma accounts for 120,000 – or 1 in 5 – of the 600,000 injuries suffered by skiers and snowboarders each year. The Dangerous Mistake You’re Making on the Slopes
- A concussion is caused by the sudden deceleration of your head and your brain impacting the inside of your skull; not by your skull impacting a surface or object. Mayo Clinic: Concussion Causes
- Skiers and snowboarders travel at an average maximum speed of 27mph. - The Science Behind Helmets
- Hitting your un-helmeted head against a fixed object while skiing or snowboarding at an average speed of 19 mph can impart g-force to your brain of between 329 and 696g. – The Science Behind Helmets (on average, football tackles generate between 50 and 120g - G-force and gray matter)
- You can sustain a minor concussion from an impact with as little as 95g and a serious, possibly life-threatening brain injury from 275g. – How Serious Are Concussions
- The ASTM F2040 test for recreational snow sports helmets requires force at impact to be under 300g at 13.85mph. - The Science Behind Helmets
The equipment available won’t always prevent those significant injuries. So why would you wear a helmet?
Here are some points to ponder:
- Helmets can prevent almost 100 percent of minor head injuries (defined as scalp lacerations, scrapes, fractures, surface bruises). - The Science Behind Helmets
- Helmets can, at speeds below 30mph, reduce the likelihood of head injury when impacting icy snow. - Helmets and The Science Behind Helmets
- Speeds inherent in skiing and snowboarding can overwhelm the helmet’s degree of protection, but still reduce the force imparted to the head.
- Helmets are no replacement for good decisions and behavior within one’s skill and ability for the conditions and environment.
The bottom line is: Today's ski/snowboard helmets are light, comfortable, inexpensive, and effective. While they won’t protect from every impact, helmets offer an extra degree of protection over and above the safety basics of skiing/riding responsibly for the environment, snow conditions, and your ability.
Before you leave the helmet home or on the shelf consider your answer to this question, “If there is a tool available, that offers some protection from potential injuries, why wouldn’t you use it?”