According to the National Ski Areas Association, helmet usage grew 12 percent last year over the previous season, and 48 percent of skiers and riders now wear helmets, up from only 25 percent six years ago. Some of that increase might be the imitation factor, said Troy Hawkes of the National Ski Areas Association, but much of it has to do with an increased awareness about on-snow safety.

According to the National Ski Areas Association, nearly 80 percent of children under 10 and 63 percent of adults over 65 wore helmets last season. Still, fatalities from skiing accidents during the past decade remained constant at about 40 per year. The National Ski Areas Association’s Hawkes said the prevalence of helmets on professional and Olympic skiers and riders, as well as new designs and technology, have helped improve the helmet’s image.
The 2008-2009 National Ski Areas Association National Demographic Study of more than 130,000 skiers and riders nationwide showed:

  • 77 percent of children 9 years old or younger wore ski helmets.
  • 66 percent of children between 10 and 14 wore ski helmets.
  • 63 percent of adults over the age of 65 wore ski helmets.
  • Helmet usage by skiers and boarders aged 18 to 24 was 32 percent, representing a 78 percent increase in usage for this age group since the 2002-03 season, when only 18 percent wore helmets.

Overall ski helmet sales (adults and kids) have increased 43 percent over the past two years, dating to the 2006-07 ski season. Sales of adult ski helmets alone increased 50 percent since the

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