New Jersey is the first state across the country to pass a mandatory helmet law requiring minors to wear helmets on the slopes. Those who fail to do so will face a fine of $25 for the first violation a $100 fines after that. Senator Anthony Bucco says that after years of discussion the legislation was signed by NJ Governor Chris Christie and took effect November 1, 2011, though most NJ resorts will not open until late December.
The National Ski Area Association (NSAA) encourages helmets for all skiers, citing studies that show helmets can reduce head injuries by 30-50%, and may be the difference between a major and minor injury.
New Jersey ski resorts like the Hidden Valley Club in Vernon, NJ say the burden of compliance to the new law will be on the parent more than local law enforcement. Resort Services Director Shannon Heidebrecht says the resort will not play a big role in enforcing, leaving that up to the local police department.
Hidden Valley Club says they have started an awareness campaign for the new helmet law on their website, through email blasts and will have signage at ticket counters but helmets are already a familiar site on the mountain. The race program requires members to wear them and helmets have been strongly recommended to minors taking lessons at the resort.