As for accident stories...
My sister's fiancÚ (<hey that's cool- the accent was automatic!) told me about his friend who went skiing several years ago wearing only a beanie. He fell on a beginner hill, and during the moment he was on the ground a skier sliced over his head and cut it pretty deep.
After a fair amount of stitching later he turned out to be ok, but man that was just nasty!
This was back when I was learning and him and my sister were visiting us for crizmas break. My dad, being the money-saving man he was, got me one of these stupid things to wear:
I was about to go snowboarding one day without it and he told me this story of his friend, so I wore it.
It looked like a bowling ball. It cramped my ears. It was terrible.
But it saved my ass later on! (I've still been needing to sell it since I've had my REAL snowboarding helmet, which is the most awesome thing I've ever worn on my head!)
It's in new condition still if anyone's interested... if anyone is I'll take some pictures.