Safety First on the Slopes!

08/12/2011

In Nova Scotia a new law has passed beginning 2012, anybody caught on a ski run without a helmet will be fined $250 instantly. The Nova Scotia Ministry of Health and Wellness are concerned by the number of accidents causing head injuries and believe the risk will be greatly reduced if people are aware of the dangers and punished should they take the risk.

Since 2000, there have been eleven reports of traumatic head injuries caused by skiing accidents in the Nova Scotia hills alone, and while the death of Actress Natasha Richardson on a ski hill in Quebec in 2009 started a wave of calls for Helmets to become mandatory while skiing, Nova Scotia is the first to impose this. In 1997 Nova Scotia was the second Canadian province to make bike helmets mandatory for all ages and have since extended this include skateboarders and rollerbladers.

Voluntarily wearing helmets while skiing and snowboarding has risen dramatically in recent years as people have become more aware of the risks involved. Latest numbers suggest that 75% of Canadian skiers wear helmets by choice, so while the new ruling may be difficult to monitor, the main aim is to target the 25% who are still at risk.

Research has shown that ski helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 35% in adults and 59% in children and some groups have called for helmets to be included in ski hire packages, and more education and information made available to new skiers.

Several countries and resort owners have imposed their own regulations regarding the use of helmets, for example following the death of Natasha Richardson the owner of Mount Tremblant ordered that all instructors and children must wear helmets in their resorts.