Intrawest, the company that owns Whistler as well as a whole host of other resorts across North America, has announced that it is making it’s helmet rules stricter for the coming winter season.
From now on, everyone under the age of 18 attending ski school will be required to wear a skid lid while they’re out and about on the hill – previously only young kids under the age of 13 had to wear one.
On top of this, instructors who teach the children’s classes will be required to wear helmets from now on, and Intrawest are strongly recommending that all adults using the mountain do the same.
All Intrawest resort’s brochures, adverts and other promotional jazz will feature skiers and snowboarders rocking helmets. As from next season (10/11) all the company’s employees will be required to wear a helmet if they’re in the snow park.
As Intrawest owns not only the hill and lifts in whistler but many of the rental shops, bars and apartments, this could mean that the majority of people in the resorts famous parks are rocking helmets in two years time.
Dave Brownlie, the Whistler-Blackomb president, told the Whistler Question: “The move to require instructors to wear the helmets is about setting an example"
He added: “There are way more people out there wearing helmets than there were 10 or even five years ago, understanding the benefits of wearing helmets and wearing them. So this is a natural next step."
The severe tightening of the rules follows the high profile death of actress Natasha Richardson after she fell over while not wearing a helmet at Mont Tremblant – an Intrawest resort – last year.
Other resort companies are taking similar measures – earlier this year Vail Resorts Limited announced that all its employees would have to wear helmets when riding anywhere on the hill from the start of this season.
Is this just common sense or is this an infringement of personal freedoms? It’s a well-known fact that very few pros rock helmets in film parts. Chris Dufficy and Shaun White being notable exceptions. If people see hot-shit seasonaires and Intrawest employees rocking helmets are they more likely to do the same? We’d be interested to have your opinions on the matter…