Michael Sparks, guest blogging on ski-buzz for the first time, takes a look into the debate and the reasons for and against as well as a brief look into the very latest ski helmet technology.
An on-going debate in the ski and snowboarding world is the use of helmets and just how much benefit can they really offer. In a true free spirited session last season, this debate really hit home. A close friend escaped what could have been a nasty affair. Had he not been wearing a helmet he could have been seriously hurt.
I suppose we only have to look back a couple of years at the tragic death of Natasha Richardson and the media scrutiny that followed, highlighting the need for safety on the Piste. Soon after there was a 50% sales boost for Ski Helmets.
Jake Shealy presented data from an ongoing report that found from 1995/96 to 2009/10, helmet usage increased from 5 to 76%. They also found that head injuries decreased by 20% over the same time frame. An earlier report suggested that 77% of children aged 9 or less wore a helmet.
But there’s a reverse…… of course……
- Doesn’t wearing a helmet make you take more risks?
- Doesn’t wearing a helmet interfere with your vision?
- Doesn’t wearing a helmet impair your hearing?
- What about the technical attachments. Wouldn’t a camera or earphones just distract you?
- There’s no conclusive evidence that its effectiveness works with more serious crashes.
All of these are valid points. This is where MIPS comes into play. MIPS technology has just been introduced into POC’s Receptor Backcountry Range. Multi-directional impact protection system given its full name, aimed at free skiers that ski in the most exposed conditions.
IPS Technology works by imitating the system we’ve already got in place in the human brain, by providing a middle layer between the liner and the shell that allows them both to rotate independently of each other. The helmet absorbs a lot of the rotational energy from an oblique impact, so you’re kept safer. This means you’re protected if you fall at an angle, which is the more common way to fall.
It’s very encouraging to see children on the slopes using ski helmets, and in some places it’s even mandatory. At the end of the day the real issue lies within risk calculation. Although there are a lack of statistics to say otherwise, you are unlikely to have a fatal head injury related accident, but if risk can be reduced then why not.
Whatever helmet you buy, make sure it’s a good fit and meets the safety standards in snow sports. Believe it or not according to the ski-injuries website, some helmets have not been subjected to any standardised testing. Wherever you are, make sure YOUR helmet meets the requirements. Whether it be Central European EN1077 , or American standards ASTM 2040 or Snell RS-98
This blog post was written by Michael Sparks. Michael works at Simply Piste which offers a wide variety of ski wear, and are due to stock the new range of MIPS helmets, as well as a whole new range of the latest ski clothing to hit the market this season.