My husband is one of those people who was a skier but after one day on a rented snowboard bought a board and never went back. No hemming, no hawing. That was about 15 years ago. When I decided to give snowboarding a try, I made the mistake of letting him try to teach me. But I digress. What this post is really about is wearing a helmet.
A few years ago, when I decided to learn to snowboard I had one or two of those head-slamming falls that left me seeing stars. I decided that perhaps wearing a helmet might be a good idea. Once I started wearing one to snowboard — and even though I only ride a couple of times a season — I figured I might as well just wear it all the time.
I can’t remember the last time I fell and smacked my head on skis, but just in case someone runs into me I feel better having one on. The last thing I need is a concussion. Plus, wearing a helmet keeps my head warm (and my hair dry).
These days I’m wearing a Smith Intrigue (the ivory colored one, above). It’s super warm when it’s cold out and has plenty of vents for when it’s not. Some people I ski with say they don’t like wearing helmets because of the dreaded goggle gap. But I wear goggles that are helmet compatible and I’ve never had brain freeze or developed a weird sun stripe across my forehead.
According to Ski-injury.com, an evidence-based website devoted to….yep, ski and other snow-sports injuries, ski injuries are relatively rare, and head injuries are in the minority. Still, I’m taking the approach that I might as well reduce all the risks I can. 80% of Swiss skiers wear helmets, compared with just about half of American skiers (though 77% of kids in the U.S. under age 9 wear them).
Do you wear a helmet? If not…why not? If you have kids, do they wear helmets?
Two winters ago my husband, Robert, and I chased our three kids, then 5, 9 and 12, down Upper Lakeview, one of the easier black diamond runs at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe (our local hill). When we all gathered at the bottom, he looked at me and said, “Thanks for doing that.”
I almost burst into tears.
You see, I was the one who had schlepped the kids up the hill to Mt. Rose just about every weekend, for years. Rob would come along occasionally, but he snowboards and is much pickier about the conditions than I am. Read: It must be sunny. It must be 35 degrees out (at least). There must be at least 6 inches of fresh snow. And he doesn’t like Saturdays because it’s too crowded.
Bottom line: the kids and I ski at least 25 days a season and he’s lucky to get 5.
(This is a photo we took just after our big run.)
As any ski-parent knows, the early years of skiing are FILLED with tears. And the tears are not only the kids’.
There have been many, many days when I’ve thought: Why in God’s name am I doing this? Skiing is expensive. It can be dangerous (more on that later). It can be very, very cold. In short, it can be a huge, huge hassle.
The kids sometimes seem like they could care less. But the fact is, they love it as much as I do. Maybe not every-weekend-love-it, but they do love it.
I wanted to make sure that my kids learned how to ski, properly, early. I’m self taught, but they’ve had enough lessons that their bad habits will not stick with them the way that mine have stayed with me.
A few weeks ago I read this essay about the family ski trip by the astute David Carr, the media reporter for the New York Times, that summed it all up. He does a great job of capturing the drama that is family skiing.