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Having your own helmet (and wearing it skiing) means that if you should hit a tree, you won't die because your skull was shattered. Sonny Bono died because his helmet-free head hit a tree skiing. He was a pop star, married to Cher at one time, or a maybe you remember him as a congressman ... no? Well, he died. Wear a helmet and tangle with a tree, rock, snowmaker or lift pole and you might spend six weeks in a cast, but you probably won't die.
Non-skiing related head injuries occurring on the slopes
So, you think you can't possibly hit a tree so the safety issue really doesn't concern you … I might be able to tell you how many times my helmet has protected my head from the bar on the lift by counting the scratches. And then there are the times that my ski mates have hoisted a pair of skis to their shoulders and spun around cracking my unsuspecting helmet three-stooges style. Wear a helmet because other people might not be as safe as you.
Some resorts charge $10 extra for rental helmets
"I forgot to ask if she needs a helmet?" says the charming gal at the lift rental counter. "Of course!" I answer. (Sonny Bono, right?). We'd invited a friend skiing and I was orchestrating her rental equipment. "Oh sorry, that'll be $10 more."
I picked up my helmet at Play It Again Sports for $19. My daughter's was 50% off at the end of the season in a resort's pro shop, $20. That was the year she moved from the magic carpet to the lift. So owning one makes fiscal sense, if you're going to ski more than twice (sale prices) or four times (full price for the lower end styles).
Creepy crawlies with kids
At school, kids aren't supposed to share hats, right? Because if one has headlice, that's they way they all get it. Unlikely? Totally. In fact I've never heard of a case of helmet lice. And if you wear a knit hat under, it's even less likely. But if you've ever had to de-louse your house, you know why I'd rather avoid it.
You can put resort stickers on it
I sat next to a woman on the lift who had a Mary Jane sticker on her helmet. I immediately took note of her skis and asked her about them, thinking here's someone who knows about skiing. I admitted to her, "Well, I saw your Mary Jane sticker and …" She interrupted me, "Yeah, Mary Jane kicked my butt!" You sure couldn't tell that from her helmet. Awed by her experience, she had me at her helmet.
You'll look cooler
Everyone who's serious about skiing wears a helmet, now. I don't know when that happened, but it did. Might have been started by those cool guys who like to push their skiing to the edges--they want to look like they are slaloming with Satan. It might have something to do with those Go Pro video cameras bolted to their helmets that record these daredevil moves; it's much harder to bolt one of those to one's head.
Wear just a hat, or nothing at all and folks will usher you to the magic carpet, assuming this is your first day skiing or you only do it once a year.
When you own your own, you can get one to match your ensemble. And that's cooler than a rental. Think it will muss your blow-dried coiffure? Don't worry, it will. And everyone else's too. But it looks sexy to take off your helmet and shake out your hair; do a little head toss at the end for pizazz.
Writing this post, I'm going to hear from some folks about how we survived our youth without car seats, bike helmets, childproof prescription caps or baby gates. Yeah, we survived. Can't really hear from the ones that didn't, now can I ...
Note: Shanty Creek Resorts recently told me they have helmets by the tubing hill as well--just in case. Another friend reported that Mount Bohemia, an experts only mountain, is covered in helmeted heads because all those guys really do know to protect their noggins.