Background: Many studies have determined that head injuries are serious and potentially life threatening in skiers and snowboarders. Helmets have proven to be effective in reducing the risk of head and brain injury in blunt trauma from bicycling, climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. The objective of this study was to evaluate the availability, cost, and prevelance of helmet rental to skiers and snowboarders at Colorado ski resorts.
Methods: A survey of rental shops based at Colorado ski areas was conducted during the 1998-1999 ski season. Surveys were mailed to 27 Colorado ski areas. The establishments surveyed were skiing/snowboarding rental shops owned, operated, or both by the resorts based at respective mountains.
Results: Nineteen of 26 responding Colorado ski resorts rented helmets, and helmet rental has been increasing in popularity. However, helmets were not considered as part of the standard rental package by any of the resorts, and only one resort offered a discount on helmet rental with a package. While 2% to 38% of skiers/snowboarders rented equipment, less than 1% to 8.6% of renters rented helmets. Subjectively, helmet rental was encouraged mostly for children.
Conclusions: The data acquired should represent a reasonable picture of current helmet rental practices at Colorado ski areas. While helmet use is increasing, it has not yet become generally accepted.