Helmets cut injuries; deaths haven’t dropped | VailDaily.com

Helmets cut injuries; deaths haven’t dropped

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

WOLF CREEK PASS, Colorado – Helmets were supposed to make skiing and snowboarding safer. In fact there has been no significant reduction in ski area fatalities in the last nine seasons, even though the use of helmets has increased to more than 33 percent.

Helmets have reduced the number of head injuries, according to a study cited by the National Ski Areas Association.

Those statistics were cited by the Durango Herald when a 14-year-old boy died after hitting a tree along an intermediate ski trail at Wolf Creek Ski area.

Nationally, about 37 skiers and snowboarders have died per year during the last decade. Jasper Shealy, a professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology, found that fatalities are more likely to occur along wide, smooth and well-groomed intermediate-level trails.

SILVERTON ” The big story of early January was good enough to isolate Silverton for two days, cutting off highway access both north and south in the San Juan Mountains.

It was, said Chris Landry, director of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, probably the most powerful storm in the San Juan Mountains in the last four years.

Silverton Mountain Ski Area reported more than 5 feet of fresh snow out of the storm, and Colorado road crews reported avalanches where none had ever slid before.

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