Skiing helmets – safe or a false sense of security?

I understand the French police are concluding their investigation into Michael Schumacher’s skiing incident.

Having skied off piste, they have concluded that all piste markers where properly in place and complied with regulations.

Schumacher hit a rock only slightly covered in snow and was catapulted into another rock hitting this head first with such force it smashed his helmet. Crucially he had a head cam fitted to the front of his helmet to film himself and his son skiing. It seems that the addition of this head cam may have weakened the structure of the helmet causing it to break.  Potential liability against the helmet manufacturers and the Meribel ski resort may therefore be ruled out.

Having returned last night from my second visit this year to the Austrian Alps it amazes me how many people are now skiing off piste – myself included.

I have for the first time last week worn a ski helmet.   I seem to have been in the minority without one and certainly since the Schumacher incident the numbers wearing helmets have increased. What amazed me is the heightened sense of security felt wearing a protective helmet, allowing me to ski faster without fear and off piste, I would not have skied so fast reaching speeds at one point of 101.2 km ph without a helmet.

So are they safe or a false sense of security?

I can certainly see adding a web cam, as this is screwed into a hole at the front of the helmet, could be a hazard – we find out tomorrow if this is sufficient to weaken the structure of the helmet.

Skiing is great fun and increasing in popularity but it is a risky sport, I counted 10 sets of crutches on our plane home and they are the walking wounded!

In the mean time we can only hope that Schumacher recovers, his induced coma is now 2 months on, he has fought off a chest infection and I suspect he is the type of person with a strong will to live.  Let’s hope so.

by Hilary Meredith