Wyoming Skiers Killed in Deadly Collision; Crash Highlights Risks


Luckily for ski safety advocates, many kids and adults now happily put that helmet on their heads. Ten years ago, only a small fraction of recreational skiers wore helmets. The headgear was mostly saved for athletes who participated in ski racing.

But with new designs and lighter helmet options, more people are willing to wear helmets.

And then of course, there are the pros who influence trends.

Shaun White, an Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, is often seen on TV and in advertisements with a helmet on his head.

"Shaun White is an icon in the ski and boarding world," Hawk said. "Like any sport, people want to wear what the pros are wearing."

But as safe, and now as cool, as helmets are, they should still be the second line of defense, Hawks said. The NSAA states that it is each skier or snowboarder's behavior that has much or more to do with the safety of sports than any piece of equipment.

"Skiing in a controlled and responsible manner is first to ensure safety on slopes," he said.

But, Leffler said that while the loss of two people to a ski accident is tragic, fatal accidents should not discourage parents and kids from skiing and snowboarding.

"As long as kids are wearing the right equipment and are supervised properly, skiing is still a great way to spend time together outside," he said.

Hawks said it's great for children to be introduced to the sports at an early age. But, since there is no minimum age requirement for skiers and snowboarders, it's ultimately up to the parents to decide when a child is ready to hit the slopes.

"The first lesson could be right in your backyard, or maybe the kid doesn't even get the skis on on the first day," Hawks said. "But statistics show that skiing and riding are relatively safe sports, and it promotes kids to get outside during the winter and exercise."

On the NSAA website, it states: Skiing and snowboarding have always had some risks, but they also have an excellent safety record. Your chances of being seriously injured or dying on the slopes are less than one in a million, according to the NSAA. Each skier or snowboarder's behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sports as does any piece of equipment.

"The ski accident is tragic, and whenever this happens, it shakes the entire industry," Hawks said Hawks. "But, in our country where child obesity is a growing issue, we don't want to ever discourage kids from enjoying outdoor sports."

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