To encourage helmet usage and to tout its benefits, Massanutten Resort's Web site has a link to the Lids on Kids home page. According to www.lidsonkids.org the site is, "dedicated to providing information on helmet safety and answer questions about helmet use. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) together with the help of many others in the ski industry has developed this site to help educate parents about the benefits and limitations of helmet." While the "golden rules" of skiing – always stay under control, the downhill skier/boarder has the right of way, etc. – can do much to protect you on the trail there are certain inanimate objects for which these rules do not apply, i.e. trees, chair lifts, sheds and the like. And though helmets will not completely negate these risks, they can make a difference in preventing or reducing serious injury. The site offers helpful tips on selecting the right type of helmet and answering typical questions: Will a bike helmet protect me on the slopes? (A: not adequately) and, why are helmets becoming more popular? (A: people value their brains). There are also some interesting statistics concerning the use of helmets. In a survey conducted by the NSAA, 38 percent of respondents wore helmets, up from only 25 percent in 2002/2003. The study also showed that as ability increases so does the use of helmets. With testimonials from skiing super-stars like Picabo Street, Bode Miller and Darren Rahlves the site is convincing without over-dramatizing the inherent risks of skiing and snowboarding. According to the site, though the use of helmets has risen substantially, injuries, on the other hand, have remained at a constant. There is less than a one in a million chance of being seriously injured or dying on the slopes and of those injuries, serious head trauma accounts for only 2.6 percent. While there are various types of head wear, Lids on Kids recommends that your helmet should meet at least one of the snowsports helmet standards, either CEN (Common European Norm), ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) or Snell. Prices fluctuate with the different styles and materials and can range from around $50 for a basic model to $260 for the new Burton R.E.D. Audex Tantrum Helmet equipped with BlueTooth and DJ-style high fidelity speakers. In the end, the decision to wear a helmet comes down to personal preference or parental choice, though some resorts do require novice skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets during lessons. So whether you're hitting the park, the trees, cliffs or the bunny slope, remember: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
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