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Lifting the lid on ski helmets in Canada
In France, the chances of catching a ski instructor in a helmet are pretty slim. Across the pond in Canada it's a different story.
Anyone doing ski instructor courses in Canada will be expected to lead by example and wear a lid. In fact, anyone hitting the slopes without a ski helmet will very much be in the minority.
Thursday (November 1st) saw the introduction of Nova Scotia's helmet law for skiers and snowboarders. The Snow Sport Helmet Act requires alpine skiers and boarders of all ages to wear helmets when at ski areas. A fine of $250 will be coming your way if you don't.
Lift operators and ski patrollers will not enforce the law, but they will have to put up a sign "at or near the ski hill, to notify users of the requirement to wear a helmet". Provincial "enforcement officers" will visit ski areas to investigate any reported infringements.
It hasn't yet got to this stage in British Columbia, but this sort of law could be introduced at Whistler Blackcomb in the near future.
However, the absence of ski helmet laws in the rest of Canada doesn't seem to make much difference. Figures from the Canadian Ski Council reveal 83.1 per cent of skiers and snowboarders now wear helmets on a regular basis when they are on the slopes. The survey from February 2012 shows helmet usage increased from 79.9 per cent in the three months from December 2011. In 2006, the figure was just 67.3 per cent.
Colin Chedore, president of the Canadian Ski Council, said: "This remarkable increase in helmet usage reflects the efforts of the Canadian ski and snowboard industry and other stakeholders to educate skiers and boarders about the benefits and the limitations of helmet usage."
Any way you choose to look at it, ski helmets are very much part of the deal in Canada. Even you've never worn one in the Alps, if you're heading to the likes of Whistler or Lake Louise, a lid is a must.
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