Well, for some people it may be a fashion statement


Well, for some people it may be a fashion statement. Fo […]

Well, for some people it may be a fashion statement. For others, it’s to keep warm. But, why would I want to put a helmet over my perfectly comfortable ski hat in the first place?

Safety, you say? Think again. A helmet gives people a false sense of security. Sure, your head might be a little bit better protected in case you hit a tree, but how many of us go hitting trees when we ski?

While you head might be more protected, your neck is at Ski Wear Fabrics wholesalers  greater risk. Why? Because of the greater leverage. Say you simply fall down onto a fairly solid groomed slope and you bang your head. With a thick ski hat, the blow would be cushioned by the soft material of the hat. But, with a helmet, you essentially have extra material that sticks out away from your head. If the rim of your helmet hits the ground first, it will push your neck back, and the force will be stronger the thicker the helmet, especially if the helmet has a visor in front of it.

A few years ago, a young snowboarder in Oregon was simply cruising toward the bottom of the lift on relatively flat terrain when he accidentally caught an edge and went down, hitting his head on the ground. The front of the helmet acted as a lever to twist his neck backwards, and the back of the helmet dug itself into his neck. As a result, he broke his neck and became quadriplegic.

It’s simply a question of leverage. The bigger the helmet, the more leverage it has to twist or break your neck.

So, the choice between helmet or hat boils down to a choice between protecting your neck or your head. Would you prefer to break your neck or suffer a concussion?

Personally, I don’t want to risk becoming a quadriplegic. So I wear a hat.

Fortunately for all of us, the risk of serious injury is relatively very low. Very few people will break their necks. And very few will ever suffer a concussion. I have been skiing for well over 40 years with just a hat, and nothing bad has ever happened to my head.

Collisions? Oh, yes, I did have a collision with a snowboarder who came flying out of a canyon (where he wasn’t visible to me) and suddenly he was in the air right in front of me. His snowboard hit me in the chest. So, what I really should have been wearing for protection is a chest protector! Why don’t people wear chest protectors? They are available for purchase. I guess it’s just not quite as fashionable as wearing a helmet. The helmet manufacturers were more successful in their marketing than the manufacturers of chest protectors.

And what about our knees? Who wears a knee brace for safety? Almost nobody. And yet, our knees are the weakest link in the system. Our knees are the ones that get hurt the most. Ask any middle aged or older skier which part of their body gives them the most problems? It’s not the head. It’s the knees. If we had any sense at all, we would all be wearing knee braces and stabilizers, just as an insurance against knee issues.

Instead, people increasingly wear helmets to protect the part of their body that is the least likely to get hurt while skiing.

Why helmets on the slopes but no helmets when we leave the slopes and get in our cars? More people get injured in car accidents driving to or from the mountain than they ever get injured on the slopes. And yet, when we leave the relative safety of the snowy slopes and get onto a dangerous road on the way home, we first take our helmet off. Just when we might need it the most!

Why do we do that? Because it has become fashionable to wear a helmet while skiing. But it is not fashionable to wear a helmet inside a car. A helmet is just a fashion statement on the slopes. If we were really concerned about the safety of our heads, we would be wearing helmets in our cars, just like race car drivers do.

Consider the fact that on the slopes most people never ski faster than maybe 20 mph. Maybe 30 mph if you are really speeding. And if you fall, the snow is usually quite forgiving. But in a car, you move at 60 mph or faster, and the asphalt road, other cars, and other solid objects along the edge of the road are not forgiving. So, why do you feel you need a helmet on the slopes but not on the road?

So what should you wear? A hat, a helmet, or both? It’s up to you. Weigh the pros and cons. Make a decision on what’s more important to you, head or neck, warmth or freedom of movement? And what kind of fashion statement do you want to make?