Collingwood, ON, CANADA (February 22, 2010) — The Canadian Ski Council (CSC), Canada’s national umbrella organization for the Canadian ski and snowboard industry, released in January its policy on helmet usage at Canadian ski areas. Colin Chedore, President of the CSC stated “I’m pleased that after considerable research and consultation with our member Associations, we have been able to develop a national policy on helmet usage by skiers and boarders. While skiing and riding are considered safe sports, there is risk and we recommend that skiers and snowboarders educate themselves on the Alpine Responsibility Code and helmet usage. The policy as approved by the Board of the CSC reads:
“The Canadian Ski Council recommends wearing helmets for skiing and riding. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. The primary safety consideration, and obligation under the Alpine Responsibility Code, is to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner.”
Colin Chedore notes that the Alpine Responsibility Code, which is posted on ski areas’ web sites, printed on brochures and on signage at all Canadian ski areas, requires that skiers and boarders have the responsibility to ski and ride safely within their ability level, and be aware at all times of other skiers and boarders around them.” Attached is a copy of the Alpine Responsibility Code.
The Policy was developed after research undertaken by the Council showed that helmet usage in Canada is increasing steadily, with over 50% of Canadian skiers and boarders wearing helmets. Usage is much greater among youth, reaching 90% at many areas. A helmet may reduce the severity of some head injuries in low speed collisions. A helmet may not reduce the severity of head injuries sustained at higher speed impacts. Some studies indicate that helmet usage may contribute to a false sense of security, leading to increased risk taking. As noted industry expert Dr. Jasper Shealy says “If you are going to wear a helmet, ski and ride as though you are not wearing one.”
Canadian ski areas have invested heavily in making the sport safer with improved signage, better grooming and safer equipment. In addition, areas have purchased over 50,000 rental helmets to include with their rental packages that are available at nearly all Canadian ski areas. The CSC also recommends that helmets should meet at least one of the two current international standards for helmet construction (CEN, ASTM).
The Canadian Ski Council will continue to work with its member Associations to make the sport safer for all participants by educating them of their responsibility to use proper equipment and to ski and ride in a safe and controlled manner. The CSC has posted information on skiing and riding safety on its website at www.skicanada.org to help inform consumers.