I just saw this disturbing story on TetonAT... I wear a helmet and think others should too, but the law has no place being so involved with our ski resorts, especially if they have ANYTHING to do with deciding boundary areas, roping obstacles, etc. Leave that to ski patrol who know their mountains.
License, Registration…and Helmet Son.
by randosteve August 30th, 2010
You might not hear an officer ask you to show your helmet when you’re driving down the highway, but if you are under 18 and ski in any of the resorts in California, you just might have to as early as the 2010/11 season…by law.Last week, the California state senate passed a bill (SB880) that would make helmets mandatory for skiers and snowboarders under the age of 18 riding at any of the many winter resorts within it’s boarders, with a fine of up to $25 for those that violate it. At the same time, the state assembly passed another bill (AB1652) that would make California resorts publicly report fatal injuries that were incurred on it’s property. It would also require ski areas to implement better boundary line and danger zone signage. Both bills await Gov. Schwarzenegger’s signature and he has until Sept. 30 to make them into laws.
While I would agree that it seems like a good idea to make sure that some hazards are marked better, I think the danger of laws like this are that ski areas will be forced to rope off and close some of the funnest terrain they have. There is such a huge judgment factor involved when deciding what is kind of terrain is hazardous and what is not. To some suit in the senate, yeah…a 15 ‘ cliff, a boulder in the middle of a slope, and downed tree…all of these things could easily be looked at as hazardous features. BUT, to many others, they are legitimate places to ski and ride…and the whole reason they ski the first place. I probably would have voted against this one.
In regards to the helmet issue, this one just seems plain wrong and bad for the sport of skiing. If they want to pass a helmet law, they should have it stop at the age of 12 or so. 18 just seems too old for the long arm of the law to be telling a kid what to do when they are just out having fun. I think most teens now-a-days wear helmets anyway and there will always be injuries whether one wears a helmet or not. Generally I would say helmet use should be left up to the individual based on their own assessment of risk.