Monday, April 13, 2009

Vail must be reading

We've had a lot of threads on about helmets. Most people are for them, but some aren't for a variety of reasons -- everything from "Helmets makes me look dorky" to" "They won't help in a high speed crash."

Hey, my feeling is that it certainly can't hurt. Helmets offer more protection than just a thin wool hat. But the final decision should be up to you. I mean, if you want to spend the rest of your life drooling all over yourself, hey, go for it!

That being said, I've mentioned before -- here, here, and on the forum -- that helmets should be mandatory for three groups: kids, patrollers and instructors. Kids, because 1) they don't know any better; 2) we should do whatever we can to protect them, and 3) we put them in car seats, we should at least do this. And patrollers and instructors (at least while they're on the job) just because I think it presents a good example..

Now Vail has gone and made helmets mandatory for employees and kids in the '09/'10 season.

Here's the text of the press release I received from them today:

Vail Resorts Makes Helmets Mandatory for Employees in 2009-2010 Winter Season

Company also announced that helmets will be required for all children’s group ski and ride lessons and as part of their rental packages

BROOMFIELD, Colo.—April 13, 2009—Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) today announced that, beginning with the 2009-2010 winter season, the Company will require all employees to wear helmets when skiing or riding on the job at each of its five mountain resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly. Helmets will be provided to every employee next fall as part of their standard uniform for working on the mountain. This new initiative is part of Vail Resorts’ overall commitment to skier and snowboarder safety programs.

“At Vail Resorts, the safety of our employees and guests is a top priority and we believe the time has come for us to take our commitment to safety to the next level. Our employees will set the example next year for all who enjoy skiing and riding our slopes,” said John Garnsey, co-president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division and chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort.

The Company also announced that it will require all children, ages 12 and under, who participate in a group lesson through one of its five resorts’ ski and ride schools to wear a helmet. Furthermore, a helmet will become a required part of any child’s (ages 12 and under) ski and snowboard rental package offered at all of Vail Resorts’ retail and rental outlets, unless a parent or legal guardian signs a waiver to decline use of the equipment.

“We firmly believe when children are participating in our ski and ride school programs that we must provide them with the proper equipment that promotes enjoyment of the sport while also reducing the possibility of injury. Even though we will now require children in our ski and ride schools to wear helmets and make them a mandatory part of every child’s rental package, we strongly recommend the use of helmets for all of our guests, regardless of their age or ability level,” said Blaise Carrig, co-president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division and chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort.

I applaud Vail's decision to do this. Hopefully, other resorts will take notice and follow suit. If it helps save lives and get across the message that helmets are worthwhile, then I'm all for it.

Just my two cents.

Be sure to visit, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The passing of a legend.

One of the greatest women skiers of all time has passed away. Andrea Mead Lawrence, the only US woman to win two gold medals in one Olympics, died from cancer at her home in Mammoth Lakes, CA, on March 31.

Born in Rutland, Vermont, in 1932, Lawrence grew up skiing at Pico, the resort founded by her parents. She competed in three Winter games, her first when she was just 15-years old, and was captain of the women's team during the 1952 games in Oslo, Norway, where she won gold in the slalom and giant slalom.

"When I got into the starting gate, it was like a deep, dark, still pool of black water, which is a metaphor and it's a very powerful metaphor," she said during an interview last month with Vermont Public Radio of winning the slalom run. "And when the count came down, I just went like a bullet down the course."

Bud Greenspan, a filmmaker known for his Olympic documentaries, chose Lawrence as “the greatest Winter Olympian of all time.” He based his choice on her later civic efforts in California as well as on the sheer excitement of her second victory in 1952.

Lawrence moved to Mammoth Lakes with her children in the mid-1960s and spent her later years as an environmental activist working to protect the Eastern Sierra Nevada. She served 16 years as a Mono County Supervisor, co-founded the Southern Mono Historical Society in 1983 and the Sierra Nevada Alliance.

In 2003, she founded the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental planning and education.

I interviewed her daughter, Didi, a fantastic skier in her own right, for my blog in September, 2007. You can find that interview here.

My deepest condolences to Didi and her family.

Be sure to visit, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.