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28 Nov, 2013

Should I wear a ski helmet and goggles

Green snowboarder with helmet and view

When you're heading off on a ski weekend for the first time, there's a lot to think about in terms of clothing and equipment - from salopettes to skis.

While skis, boots, jackets, salopettes and ski socks are considered a given, there are always questions raised about the merits of safety gear - namely helmets and goggles - on the slopes.

Helmets

Skiing is no different to cycling in the sense that some people don't like wearing a helmet, which may be for a variety of reasons - they might view them as restrictive, geeky, and an unnecessary expense. And, when it comes to skiing, some even label helmets as a danger - encouraging people to ski more recklessly than they otherwise would.

Taking each of these points in turn, with modern technology enabling manufacturers to build materials that are not only stronger than their predecessors but lighter too, helmets are on the whole very comfortable to wear.

As for it being seen as wussy or geeky to wear a lid, if you watch a video of modern professionals skiing and snowboarding, the majority wear them these days. If anything, it's more fashionable to wear a streamlined helmet than a bobble hat.

Regarding expense, if you don't want to buy your own, every resort has helmets for hire, so you needn't worry about cost.

Finally, it seems quite unlikely that just because you put a helmet on you're suddenly going to drop in on a black run, without having even learned the basics first. Given how much you fall in the first few days on the slopes, it makes perfect sense to wear a helmet. Not to mention that in many resorts now, it is mandatory for children to have them - rendering the argument null and void.

As Dr Mike Langran explained to the BBC, "there is a much stronger argument for children wearing helmets".

He added: "They are slightly more susceptible to head injuries and wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injuries among children to a larger degree than it does in adults."

Goggles

Similarly, some skiers view goggles as unnecessary - surely a pair of sunglasses will do? However, there are a number of reasons why goggles are far superior to a set of shades.

For starters, goggles are much tougher than sunglasses, meaning they are less likely to break and more likely to protect your eyes should you get hit by a flailing ski pole. Secondly, they have much wider coverage, meaning that your eyes are shielded from the sun from all angles. Thirdly, they fit really snugly with a helmet and are much less likely to fly off your head if you have a crash.

Although helmets and goggles are far superior when you're on the piste, you'll most likely still want to bring a pair of sunglasses and a beanie with you for when you're enjoying an al fresco beer in the afternoon sunshine, so that you can feel relaxed.

To find out more about ski holidays or how you can book a short ski break, call one of our ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email sales@skiweekends.com.