**Please welcome Heidi Kumm to the Social Hub with this guest post on helmets and safety gear for the outdoors. Do you have an opinion on the subject? Join our live chat at 6pm EST/ 3pm PST Thursday 1/2/14 on Twitter #STPLive.**
It’s a busy day at the nearby resort and masses of people are waiting in lift lines with skis and snowboards attached to their feet. From the hill above, the lines look like a bobbing sea of colorful helmets with a few outliers who have opted for vintage pompom hats or other stylish headwear.
This is not an isolated scenario – you will see similar situations in any activity where there is a risk of crashing or having your head come into contact with a hard surface. Helmets have become fairly popular and many people consider them to be essential gear. However, there are still people who choose not to strap a chunk of padding plastic to their head.
In my eyes, refusing to wear a helmet is akin to refusing to put on a seat belt. It just doesn’t make sense. These safety devices are not guaranteed to save you in every possible worst case scenario but they were invented and are encouraged for a reason – the safety of the wearer.
People choosing to avoid helmets and other safety gear will always have an endless supply of reasons NOT to wear a helmet so here are a few reasons to invest in a helmet and actually strap it to your head!
Helmets are no longer boring brain buckets. They come in different styles, colors, designs and sizes. Companies even specialize in helmet covers so you can change up your look every day or go all out for special occasions.
If you’ve worn an insulated helmet you know the insulation is legit! When you’re headed out on a frigid, windy day the warmth of a helmet makes all the difference in the world – it’s days like this that helmets come in handy for so much more than just safety!
And for those spring days when even a hat feels hot? Pull the insulation out of the helmet and tan your ear lobes!
For everyone who likes to rock out while riding, throw some money at a helmet with headphones built right into the ear pieces. You no longer need to worry about earbuds falling out or over the ear headphones bouncing around while you’re dodging trees or hitting jumps.
Sticker Real Estate…
Who doesn’t love stickers? I can’t be the only one jumping at the chance to snag free stickers. They are just so fun. But what do you do with them? Once your water bottles and roof rack fairing are full you can move on to your helmet!
Side Note: Helmets are also great for mounting a GoPro! Try out different locations for all sorts of angles!
Some people call this a negative but in my world helmet hair is a rite of passage and proof of a great day on the slopes. Besides, does your hair really look any better after a day under a far less protective hat? I think not.
Obviously the purpose of a helmet is safety. When you catch an edge and smash your head down on an icy run the helmet is there to soften the blow. If you’re flying through the trees and don’t duck quite low enough the helmet will deflect low hanging branches. And it is not just about your skill – collisions happen every day, be a defensive rider! Don’t even get me started on the risks in the backcountry when an avalanche can be triggered at any time!
Helmets are designed as safety gear, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be more. If you’re not already wearing a helmet every time you put your head at risk, I hope you reconsider. You’re outside enjoying your time on a bike, board, skis or climbing room because you love life…don’t jeopardize it by leaving behind a simple piece of safety gear!
**This list is written with snowsports in mind, considering the season, but many points can easily be used for cycling, climbing, skate/long boarding and more. Keep yourself safe. If not for you, for the people who love you!**
-Heidi Kumm is a Wisconsin farm girl living the life in the mountains of Colorado with the inability to say “no” to any opportunity to try something new. Read about her adventures trail running, snowboarding, hiking and mountain exploration on her blog run.around.aroo or follow along on Twitter at @runaroundaroo.