Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yet another Skier vs. Tree

Yet another male skier on an intermediate run hit a tree and died yesterday. This one was on Breckenridge's Sawmill Run (a blue), though information from patrol suggests he was flying down an adjoining black before he crashed. He died of massive chest trauma. That makes the third skier vs. tree death in Colorado this year.

In Wyoming, three skiers met the same barky end in just over a week in late January. Only one was wearing a helmet. While it doesn't appear a helmet would have saved the Monument man who died at Breck, experts say helmets can save lives.

The bottom line in skiing and boarding is, you run into a tree at high speed, you lose, the tree wins. Call it revenge for all the logging we've done in the last 100 years.

Here's where safety studies may help. There are at least a few things one can do to help prevent serious injury or death.

First: Wear a helmet. Head injuries make up 75% of ski trauma deaths, according to a University of Wisconsin study. The study found universal helmet use could stop a fifth to a third of deaths a year. Not that a helmet will always save you, but short of body armor, or an air bag, it might be the best thing.

Second: Chill out. Especially on fast, icy snow.

Granted, skier trauma deaths are very low, only about 3 per million skier visits, so I'm not saying everyone should wear a helmet (let the helmet industry say that). But, if you ski fast, if you like to catch the freshies on the edge of the run, and especially if you are a male younger than 35, it might be a good idea to strap on the lid.
If you're looking for cheap ones, try here or here.

No comments: