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Helmets and Skiing/Snowboarding

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My crew is getting ready to head to Winterfest again this year. They are all looking forward to hitting the slopes and having some fun. What they are not looking forward to is this new helmet rule.


Now I realize some people have probably had some accidents over the past 50 years that helmets would have avoided, but making everyone where a helmet for one 6 hour session of skiing once a year is crazy. As it is, most of these kids are going to grab their beat up bike helmet (if they have one)and wear it... Very little protection there. On top of that they are going to have to forgo wearing a hat because they don't fit under the helmets.


I know myself, I have the X-Large Bell bicycle helmet and a very thin skull cap and I cannot wear both at the same time. I know a fair amount of the scouts will have the same problem.


So the question is up now... Are there any waivers I can have parents sign to allow these scouts to wear hats vs. helmets?

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As you know from the current Guide to Safe Scouting "...Appropriate personal protective equipment is required for all activities. This includes the recommended use of helmets for all participants engaged in winter sports such as sledding and other sliding devices. The use of helmets is required for the following activities: downhill skiing, snowboarding and operation of snowmobiles (full face helmets)."...


I'm not aware of any waiver procedures to the G2SS. Some of our scouts object so vehemently to this new helmet requirement, that they have scheduled a non-scouting ski outing in order to avoid the issue. They are on the slopes as we speak.(This message has been edited by Ohio_Scouter)

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Mine are contemplating not even skiing at Winterfest because of this new rule. I have been asked by a bunch of them to look into how they could ski, but not be associated with Ventures.


The fact that they will be traveling as a group to Gatlinburg ind of leads me to believe that no matter what they do that weekend, they are Venturer Scouts and even if tehy pay as an individual would still have to follow those rules.


Does anyone else see a way around this?


(And yes.. I feel this rule is a knee jerk reaction and serves not real purpose).

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Bike helmets are still a good idea for snowsports, even if you are not an "Xtreme" boarder. If the Bike helmet was properly fitted to begin with, take out some of the sizing pads, and wear a wool watch cap. Don't forget the goggles. Wear it square on the head, not on the back, in a "cool" manner. Snug up that chin strap.


I would tell them the same thing I tell my son when he is bike riding; "You only need the helmet once. Which once is it going to be?" And then we remind each other of the demonstration we watched of a melon being only dropped from 5 feet up, onto a dirt floor (not concrete!), and then thinking about adding some velocity to it, and snagging a rock "just by accident".

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How is finding a way around BSA regulations helping these young men and women learn to make ethical choices, or to live by the Venturing Oath and Code?


Instead, why not simply rent ski helmets?


I saw ski helment rentals listed online at a place in Gaitlinburg for $8.



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"it's not a rule, it's only a guideline".


No, it's a rule, now. If we didn't love you, it wouldn't be a rule. We learn and get better as we get older. Barney Oldfield didn't use seatbelts when auto racing was invented, but he invented the rear view mirror to increase his chances of surviving AND winning. Bet Jacky Ickx and Jimmy Stewart and all the Gordons and Eckharts are glad to wear helmets and seatbelts now. Same with helmets in ALL sports. It's not wimpy, it's smart. It's an advantage. You might like the feel of the wind in your hair, but you'd like the feel of asphalt in your scalp less, hence helmets for biking; both motor and pedal.




Hit your head once, you never have to do it again. It took a long time to see the advantage of the helmet. High iron workers, football players, Delta Force, deep sea divers, motocross, skateboarder.


My son rode his bike across the street to a neighbors house. Riding back he slipped, the bike went one way, he went the other. He walked back home the 300 yards, met me in our driveway(I was washing the car and had not seen what happened) and asked me where had he been? We were at the emergency room for about three hours while he was diagnosed with a "possible" concussion (nothing showed on the scans). He is a believer now if he wasn't before, and will ALWAYS wear the helmet ANY time he is on the bike.

Next months Troop ski trip? Helmets are on his mind...and around it!


"you only need it once...which once?"

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Any place that rents ski and snowboard equipment will also rent helmets.


So unless all your scouts own their own equipment, and you are going to a non-resort snow area, it shouldn't really be an issue for them to cough up another few bucks to rent a helmet. Yes, it is worth it.



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While I agree that helmets are necessary while bike riding, dirt trails are very hard and so is concrete/asphalt. But this is snow and while it can get fairly hard, it is relatively soft when you fall on it.


Are we as Scout leaders going to start requiring helmets when swimming? Jumping off the diving board, you could whack your head, or if you decide to try the high dive.. That water is pretty hard from that height.


What about water sports like waterskiing or wakeboarding? I have about knocked myself out waterskiing in one of my wipeouts... But in 20+ years of recreational skiing I have never come close.


I personally find these knee jerk reactions more of an irritant than a help. I would love to see statistics on how many have actually been injured and how many would not if they had used helmets.


To take an excerpt from the link you posted...


Byrd backs up Levy and O'Sullivan's argument that what's going on inside the skier's head is as important as the equipment on the outside.


"Our position is the skier's behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sport as does any piece of equipment." he says. "The most important thing is being a responsible skier or snowboarder."


The association says that despite the increase in helmet use, deaths on the slopes have remained fairly constant.


"What we've found is that helmet usage did not affect fatalities," Byrd says.


He says helmets tend to be helpful in preventing lesser head injuries such as scalp lacerations or mild concussions. Recreational ski and snowboard helmets are manufactured to a standard that provides protection at 14 mph or less, whereas it is common to ski and snowboard between 25 and 40 mph, he says.


"So when you're going at that speed and you hit a fixed object like a tree, whether you're wearing a helmet isn't going to matter," Byrd says.


A NSAA fact sheet says in 2006, there were 2.07 skiing/snowboarding fatalities per million participants, fewer than for bicycling or swimming. The group says a person is twice as likely to die from being struck by lightning as in a skiing or snowboarding accident. link you posted...


I would support helmet use for more extreme snow sports, those who are more adventurous and like to go off trail a bit, or even those who are just in it for speed. But for the everyday skier they should be able to make their OWN decision or with their parents.

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If helmets don't work at higher speeds, why do Olympic skiers wear them?


And it not the hardness or otherwise of the snow that's the problem. It's trees, snow making machinery, snowmobiles, lift towers, even sit skis, etc. that kill people.


Oh, and you're taking teenage boys to the snow and telling me they're not interested in speed? Really?(This message has been edited by hilo)

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"And it not the hardness or otherwise of the snow that's the problem. It's trees, snow making machinery, snowmobiles, lift towers, even sit skis, etc. that kill people."


If you hit any of these items, chances are it is not with your head, but with the bulk of your body. Olympic skiers wear them because they are traveling at higher rates of speed and their helmets are designed to protect their heads in high speed falls and also cost alot more.


Seeing as we are from Fl, these boys and girls are not into speed, but into staying on their skis in an upright position.



I understand helmets will help in the right conditions. Your off trails, scrapping by branches, rocks all around... Good idea. Racing or jumping?? Yea... Good idea.


On the equivalent of a bunny slope with all woods fenced off, speed at a minimum, No... But I also believe it should be a personal decision to wear or not to wear.


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Snow is not soft. Yes powder is, but the rocks under it are pretty hard. So are the trees. Think Sonny Bono.


Just this past weekend, I cracked my helmet. Caught a heel edge on my snowboard and rag dolled. (think picking up a rag doll by the feet and slamming it on the table) If I didn't have a helmet, I would have ridden the sled to the morgue or critical care unit. Wasn't going fast either. Just happened. Helmet clearly saved me. Neck hurt, had a head ache, but no concussion or cracked skull.


Lets not mention the other idiots out there that can take you out.

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I have done it many of times as well... No helmet.. No problem..


One thing I have with this is this... Why can I not make my own decision. I am not on BSA property, I am not participating in a BSA event. BSA has nothing what so ever to do with the skiing at Gatlinburg, but because we are in the area as Scouts we now have to do this.


To me its just like seat belts and motorcycle helmets. Who am I to tell someone they have to wear em. It should be a personal choice for that person to decide. Now if BSA wants to mandate something while on BSA property, that would be a different story.

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Having spent more then half my life working Fire and EMS I find it very hard to imagine why I would even put the idea of doing anything without the proper safety equipment on the table... (btw proper means a Skiing helmet, not a bike helmet or a motorcycle helmet or a construction helmet!) Several people have already pointed out WHY you need the helmet, so I won't.


Simply put, looking to sidestep safety is about the worst thing a leader can do EVER.


I imagie your winterfest is at a ski resort of some type, don't they rent helmets that are insulated or allow for proper clothing to be worn under them? If not maybe you should recomend your Council or district uses a different slope next year.



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It is obvious that I am not going to change minds here... I believe a few of you are just spouting the BSA policy because that is all you know to do.


While I do agree that helmets can help in certain situations, I do not agree that everyone should be made to wear them. It should be a personal decision and it should not matter if you are a card carrying member of the BSA or not.


If you have no idea what the slopes even look like at Gatlinburg, you have no room to even add your two cents. The head injury rate for skiers is so low it is laughable.


"A NSAA fact sheet says in 2006, there were 2.07 skiing/snowboarding fatalities per million participants, fewer than for bicycling or swimming. The group says a person is twice as likely to die from being struck by lightning as in a skiing or snowboarding accident."


If you want to say that you could be going fast and run into something or someone could run into you... it could be an argument if both parties were like rams and aiming with their heads... Who was it that mentioned Sonny Bono... Helmet is not going to help if it is your chest/face that hits the tree.


What next? Bubblewrap ski outfits? Maybe we just go to virtual skiing and never leave the lodge.



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brodiew - Fatality statistics are not the point. Brain injury is. My wife works with adults with acquired brain injury disabilities. Some from snow sports. I have met many of her clients. Very sad.


I imagine you will be renting most of your equipment. Many resorts I know have a package deal that includes helmets. Cost should therefore not be an issue.


With many teenagers (and, I know, some adults), thinking that the safety equipment looks uncool can be an issue. That's where the wearing of helmets by the very best comes in. If you wanted to sell it on that basis, it should be easy, especially with snowboarders.


I'm wondering where the real opposition is coming from. You, or the kids? What is their opinion?


PS: Not spouting BSA policy here. Not an American. I have no idea what BSA policy is. I'm spouting 40 years in snow sport.

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