Edmonton Ski Club follows the Polciy on helmets and helmet usage set down by the CWSAA.
CWSAA 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.
The key reasons that we strongly support this position are as follows:
1) The Canadian Ski Industry has achieved excellent success in promoting ski helmet usage.
- Overall ski helmet usage in Canada increased from 32% in 2003 to 83% in 2012.
- Ski helmet usage among Canadian children (14 & under) is 95.5%.
- By way of comparison, mandatory bicycle helmet legislation in various provinces has failed to achieve usage rates matching those among skiers & boarders. Indeed, only 36.5% of Canadians cyclists report wearing a bicycle helmet all the time.
- Source: Canadian Ski Council, Statistics Canada (Canadian Community Health Survey).
2) A ski helmet is only one component of a safe approach to skiing & boarding.
- The Alpine Responsibility Code promotes ten safety practices that collectively help maximize the potential for safe skiing & boarding.
- Encouraging a comprehensive set of safe skiing & boarding practices is a more effective approach to maximizing safety than legislation of a single safety measure (e.g. ski helmets).
3) Ski helmets are only designed to provide protection against low-speed collisions.
- Ski Helmets are only certified to provide protection at speeds up to 22.5 km/h (Snell & ASTM).
- Research indicates that helmet users tend to ski & board at higher speeds (i.e. 40 – 60 km/h).
- Accordingly, promoting ski helmets as a panacea for avoiding injury may provide skiers & boarders with a false sense of security and thereby increase risky behavior (e.g. skiing at excessive speeds and/or without appropriate control).
4) Research has failed to find a link between ski helmet usage and reduced fatalities.
- Dr. Jasper Shealy, a professor emeritus from the Rochester Institute of Technology who has been studying skiing and snowboarding injuries for more than 30 years, has stated:
- ‘There is no clear evidence that helmets have been shown to be an effective means of reducing fatalities in alpine sports’.
5) We believe that ski helmet usage should be a matter of personal choice.
- We believe that Canadian skiers & boarders are capable of making responsible choices with respect to their safety on the ski slopes, and have a fundamental right to make that choice.
- ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant’ (John Stuart Mill, 1859).
- We do not deem it appropriate or beneficial for any government to make ski helmet usage mandatory. In our view, diversion of government resources towards creation and enforcement of helmet legislation, and away from other priorities, would not provide a net benefit to the public.