Ski poll: Readers split in a three-way helmet smackdown

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

That smacking sound you hear are a couple hundred of our readers, butting heads over the question of helmets on ski slopes.

This conflict was made clear by an unscientific little L.A. Times Travel reader poll. It all started with word that legislators in California and New Jersey were intrigued by the idea that mandatory helmets for minors could cut winter-sports injuries. Those legislators have been considering proposals to require that young skiers and snowboarders wear headgear.

So with ski season just beginning, and vast quantities of snow falling on California’s Mammoth Mountain and other ski resorts in the West, we posed a question last week: Would you like to see helmets made mandatory by law for all skiers and snowboarders, just for those under 18 or for no one?

Of 224 readers who voted, 93 just said no -- the most popular choice. They’d prefer no helmet laws covering skiers and snowboarders, whether adults or children. The good news for these people is that’s the way it is now, nationwide.


Another 81 readers said they’d favor a law mandating helmets for all skiers and snowboarders. The good news for these people, if we go by a recent survey by the National Ski Areas Assn., is that last winter, 57% of skiers and snowboarders surveyed -- adults and children -- said they were wearing helmets by choice.

Another 50 readers said they’d favor helmet requirements just for those under 18. The good news for these people is that many resorts now require helmets for students and instructors at their ski schools. Once class is over, the students are on their own – at least until the legislators of California and New Jersey come back to this question.