Alvin Wolff: Mandatory helmets


Your paper mentioned that Ski Patrol was starting a program in the local schools regarding ski safety education (“Ski Patrol talks slope safety,” Jan. 11 Steamboat Today). I believe ski safety should be taught by example.

I have a hard time believing that personal choice is a responsible and legitimate answer as to why all ski patrollers and ski instructors at Steamboat are not required to wear helmets. There is no question that these helmets save injuries and lives.

If the ski area wants to reduce injuries and deaths, it should make it mandatory that employees, paid or unpaid, must wear a helmet in making a statement to all who haven’t figured it out that wearing a helmet is a better idea than looking good on the slopes.


Alvin Wolff 7 years, 3 months ago

For you old timers who believe that you're bullet proof on the slopes, liken skiing to driving. You are a careful skier and driver. You would never have an accident because you are such a careful driver. Then abracadabra! One day somebody makes a left turn in front of your car or a drunk is going the wrong way and hits you. Are you wearing your seatbelt? If you do it will lessen the injuries. If you are a careful skier the same thing can happen. Somebody hits an ice slick on Tornado Lane and takes you out. A boarder turns into you on Pony. The concern may not be you, the concern are the other folks on the hill. The science and medicine proves the point, helmets save lives. You may not look as cool without a helmet but you won't look very cool in a wheelchair either.


jarmenmc1 7 years, 3 months ago

What a waste of time to spend considering whether or not helmets are a good idea. Mr. Wolff seems to be taking this a little far tweaking out at midnight losing all faith in humanity and peoples ability to take care of themselves. Should we go and pad all the tree's on the mountain? Should a patroler hold everyones hand making sure your wearing sunscreen? I guess old Alvin hasn't been paying much attention to our recent unfortunate fatalites of the past sevral years. None of them being related to helmets, mountain employment policy, or in high traffic areas. Making a staetment is what you do in a small opinon commentary, not judging a book by its cover. Also, you might check the younger generation these days- there all wearing helmets. You can't make the world do what you want to do. You can suggest it- but take it easy on telling us what to do- have a nice day.


freerider 7 years, 3 months ago

Most ski area deaths the victims are wearing helmets .......duh.......just like driving it's the operator that's the problem , helmet or no helmet it doesn't really matter


seeuski 7 years, 3 months ago

His was a rant against, or at, the ski instructors and ski patrol. Maybe he should educate himself on the current Intrawest policy before he rants in public.


callguinness 7 years, 3 months ago

See the above link for the Helmet policy at steamboat, and the possible implications that has for future seasons.

Helmets do help. I have been in one since I was very young, however I don't always wear one. I do understand the risk involved in this choice I make. My decision is educated as several times I have seen first hand the positives of helmet use and several times have seen the negatives of non-helmet use. I make this choice as an adult. I keep my health insurance paid up, and the possible ramifications of this choice are mine alone.

I always encourage people to wear helmets, I usually wear mine, but always. I feel that choice should remain solely mine, regardless if I'm working or not.


CHAUNCEY COOKE 7 years, 3 months ago

Helmets are a good idea but freedom of choice,not unlike wearing a helmet while on a motorcycle. Our Ski Patrol sets the finest example on the mountain. The adverage patroler has 16 years service,few areas in the U.S. has a patrol like ours.

But personal protection is a personal choice weather on a motorcycle or skiing. Steamboat's Ski Patrol does safeguard safety on the mountain for all and adheres to the highest supervision possible. My helmet is off to them. Thank you Ski Patrol.


seeuski 7 years, 3 months ago

Amen crc. And awolffjr do your homework before you attack the caring employees on the mountain rather than posting this blather.... "If the ski area wants to reduce injuries and deaths, it should make it mandatory that employees, paid or unpaid, must wear a helmet in making a statement to all who haven’t figured it out that wearing a helmet is a better idea than looking good on the slopes." The most recent death of a young Instructor here should create thought for your argument as she was wearing a helmet. The article you quote was about the safety code being taught to the kids not a political debate on helmets.


sledneck 7 years, 3 months ago

Now look at you guys, all dressed up in your helmet, seat belts fastened, second hand smoke eliminated and trans fats a distant memory, healthcare at the ready and a social security net to catch you all. I have but one question for you safe, secure, healthy folks...



Brian Kotowski 7 years, 3 months ago

I have a friend who's an e.r. surgeon. He claims to be unalterably opposed to (in his case, motorcycle) helmets, because he has to knit & sew the survivors back together. No helmet, no knitting.

Alvin doesn't go far enough: Big Brother - Save Us!


Ben Tiffany 7 years, 3 months ago

Requiring mountain employees to wear a helmet at all times would be an overbearing,stupid idea. Although there is certainly evidence that helmet use can reduce the risk of death or serious injury in some cases,there is also evidence that serious injuries or death can also happen to a helmet user.It really is the user and their actions,not the safety equipment that detemines who gets injured in many,perhaps most cases. It makes good sense to require children,particulary young children,to wear helmets,as they are particularly vulnerable to head injuries. There is the problem of helmets users lulled into a false sense of security,and thus taking riskier actions than they might if they were not wearing a helmet. I think that the best policy that the Ski Corp could adopt would be to strongly encourage helmet use among its employees,and leave it at that.


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