Last month California legislators contemplated whether to require children under the age of 18 to wear helmets when skiing or snowboarding in California, and whether to require ski areas to publish reports on injuries, increase their safety measures and require helmets for minors.
A similar measure on snow safety did not pass last year. The bill sponsor, Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, made this statement:
“AB 1652 is a tribute to the memory of numerous ski and snowboard accident victims who have suffered from dangerous slips and falls that could have been prevented had there been better safety controls in place. One father, Dr. Dan Gregorie, is among the bill’s strongest supporters. He lost a daughter from San Francisco four years ago when she slipped on icy terrain while carrying her snowboard and fell 400 feet down a cliff. Dr. Gregorie contends the accident could have been avoided had there been proper signage to warn her of the icy conditions and adequate fencing erected.”
Under the proposed bill, California ski resorts would have to publish reports on how many people are injured or killed on the slopes, increase safety measures, and force minors and employees to wear helmets. The proposal is largely opposed by the ski industry. It aims to establish across-the-board safety rules, including a standardized system for safety padding on lifts and other equipment. It would require signs marking ski boundaries and hazards such as cliffs.
The ski helmet law introduced earlier last month would mirror bicycle helmet laws and impose a $25 fine on parents whose kids fail to comply with the law. The proposal would require ski resorts to enforce the helmet requirement for minors and make it a crime for employees to fail to wear a helmet.
“We’re not in a position to do some of the things they would like to be done … ski patrols write up incident reports (of injuries) but they are not doctors,” Roberts said. “And we question why, when the state has a $20 billion budget deficit, they are paying so much attention to something that, when you talk to most winter sport participants, they know the risks and are comporting accordingly.”
Ski industry spokesperson said resort employees should not have to police whether minors are wearing helmets, and that most major resorts already have detailed safety plans. The industry is reticent to publish those reports online because “we live in a litigious state” but suggests that consumers can request to see those safety plans.