One has to question the motives behind Vail Resorts making helmets mandatory for all employees that are skiing or riding on the clock for next season. Is this result because a celebrity whacked a tree or is there an incentive from their insurance provider? It’s highly debatable as to whether or not this was a good idea on their part. This also leads to the other question of is there a chance they would make helmets mandatory for patrons?
On the positive side of things you have the stewards of the snowsports community showing patrons that helmets should be utilized. This goes a long way with promoting the safety aspect of the sport. Vail is even going to be offering the helmets up as part of the employee uniform and if an employee so wishes they can use their own helmet, “so long as it’s approved for skiing.”
Knowing how a company like Vail Resorts operates they’ll more than likely be choosing the company that gives them the best deal on helmets. While that’s all fine and dandy when you look at costs, it opens up the problem of certain helmets don’t fit certain head shapes. This then puts the employee in the predicament of having to find one that fits. Although that would then allow them to write it off as a tax expense.
Helmets are generally good for one solid impact then need to be replaced, so one has to wonder whether or not there will now be a helmet inspector working for their company. If there isn’t, does this mean that if an employee is using their mandatory helmet and injures themselves that they could sue them on the grounds of issuing faulty equipment? Living in a country that is sue happy it wouldn’t be too hard for some ambulance chasing lawyer from Denver to convince one of the minimum wage workers to go after them.
Along with making it mandatory for their employees to wear helmets, any child 12 or under in their ski school program has to wear one. All children’s rental packages next year will also include a helmet. It’s a great idea, especially for getting children to become more safety conscious. But this can also be the start of making helmets mandatory on the hill. Although I highly doubt this would ever become the case, as it would potentially set them up for revenue loss. Still all it takes is a few people with too much time on their hands and the need to have a cause to rally for and this potentially could happen.
The question remains will this program last for a season or will it remain for many more? It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next season with Vail Resorts.
Posted by Avran on Friday, May 1st, 2009 in Snow.