NSAA: Majority of skiers already wear helmets

Helmet legislation is gaining steam from New Jersey to California. But, according to a report just released by the National Ski Areas Association, most of the country is already wearing head protection -- especially young skiers. SNEWS takes a look at the numbers.
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According to findings of the 2011 NSAA National Demographic Study, 60 percent of skiers and snowboarders now wear helmets at U.S. ski areas, up from 56 percent during the 2010 season. Helmet usage among those interviewed nationwide has increased 140 percent since the 2003 season, when only 25 percent of skiers and snowboarders were wearing a helmet at the time of being interviewed.

More importantly, 74 percent of children aged 17 and younger wear helmets while skiing and snowboarding, which represents a significant increase of 131 percent from the 2003 season. The annual Demographic Study was compiled from more than 130,000 interviews of skiers and snowboarders nationwide during the 2010/2011 season.

The NSAA Demographic survey also revealed:

* 91 percent of children 9 years old or younger wear ski/snowboard helmets.

* 77 percent of children between 10 and 14 wear ski/snowboard helmets.

* 74 percent of adults over the age of 65 wear ski/snowboard helmets.

* Skiers and snowboarders aged 18 to 24 have traditionally represented the lowest percentage of helmet use among all age groups. This year, 48 percent of all 18 to 24 year olds interviewed wore helmets, representing a 166 percent increase in usage for this age group since the 2002/03 season, when only 18 percent wore helmets.

“Parents and resorts continue to do a great job of promoting the use of helmets for guests, especially children,” said Michael Berry, president of NSAA.

NSAA recently launched a revamped Lids on Kids website (www.lidsonkids.org) designed to provide parents with pertinent helmet safety information that includes new videos, fun games for kids, and simple helmet sizing instructions to help ensure a proper fit.

--Peter Kray

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