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Do you go freeriding without a helmet?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody!!

Today I feel in a "survey mood" :D I posted a poll right here where you can vote about it.
Just like every couple of years, I attended an avalanche course refresher. You mostly do and hear the same things everytime, HOWEVER, this year the alpine guide leading the course said something that cought my attention.

"Why would some of you spend all that money in buying freeride safety equipment like a tracker, probe, shovel and even an ABS backpack which are all meant to increase your chances of survival in an avalanche, if then you leave a fundamental piece of equipment - the helmet - at home?"

This got me thinking....it´s true... I see a good 30% of freeriders just wearing a beenie riding down steep lines... and if you trigger an avalanche, according to how big the cut is, it will uncover stones and big sharks that you could potentially bang your head on while the avalanche is carrying you down, not to mention being swept off cliffs (even small ones!) etc etc etc...I personally always wear a helmet, which doesn´t even fully protect you from a head injury in every occasion (but better than nothing I guess).

So I would like to know, if you don´t wear a helmet when you go freeriding, what are the reasons behind that? Is it because some pros do it and it looks "cool" ? Or is it maybe just a habit / matter of comfort?

Just sheer curiosity :)
 

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Whatever anyone's excuse is for not wearing a helmet, isn't a good enough excuse not to wear a helmet. Especially in a situation where your friends/riding partners are responsible for your safety and getting your now lifeless body out of the backcountry.
 

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Pretty much. I always keep in mind that while out in the backcountry, you don't have obstacles marked that may be just under the snow, such as rocks. Never know when a shark is going to bite you and send you for a tumble. Doesn't happen often, but it does happen.
 

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Depends on what you define as free riding..

I always wear a helmet in the bc, not when I'm skinning safe zones, but when skins come off helmet goes on.
But we have a small avy safe mountain 20 min from home we hike up several times a week where I never grab my helmet. Hiking up for 20 min, 2 min ride down over and over again.. get's too hot
 

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I don't have any stats on "life saving" of helmets and most likely some crash are lethal with or without it (Schumacher anybody?).

But god I had crashes where if it didn't save my life, it made the whole thing much less uncomfortable. Like being knocked out and dizzy for 10/15mn after faceplanting a tree or seeing all blurry after my heel edge catched the pipe copping. That was rought with the helmet on and don't want to know how bad it would have been without it.
 

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I stopped wearing a helmet for a season or two. Mainly because I was no longer taking nasty spills. I was doing adaptive snowboard instruction at the time and had a student who was recovering from a serious head injury. She had been a high level rider prior to her head injury and was struggling to re-learn all the muscle memory needed to snowboard (or walk, etc). Started wearing my helmet the next day.
 

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I really want to be convinced to wear a helmet so I’m enjoying this thread. If I was riding avalanche prone and/or high exposure freeride terrain I’d wear one for sure. Likewise if I was riding an icy 22ft half pipe. 99% of the time I’m not. Inbounds the biggest danger is other people. Now that everyone wears helmets they go much faster with less experience and less control as they feel safer. I still favour spatial awareness and personal risk management over a helmet but as I said, I’d really like to be convinced otherwise :)
 

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Why do you think those two things are mutually exclusive? Helmet plus spatial awareness and “personal risk management” would be better.

It’s the unexpected that will get you.

But seriously if you need people to convince you to wear a helmet you are an idiot. 😛
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I really want to be convinced to wear a helmet so I’m enjoying this thread. If I was riding avalanche prone and/or high exposure freeride terrain I’d wear one for sure. Likewise if I was riding an icy 22ft half pipe. 99% of the time I’m not. Inbounds the biggest danger is other people. Now that everyone wears helmets they go much faster with less experience and less control as they feel safer. I still favour spatial awareness and
I really want to be convinced to wear a helmet so I’m enjoying this thread. If I was riding avalanche prone and/or high exposure freeride terrain I’d wear one for sure. Likewise if I was riding an icy 22ft half pipe. 99% of the time I’m not. Inbounds the biggest danger is other people. Now that everyone wears helmets they go much faster with less experience and less control as they feel safer. I still favour spatial awareness and personal risk management over a helmet but as I said, I’d really like to be convinced otherwise :)
Ok, let me give you 2 personal examples and then you´ll draw your own conclusions:

1. I was riding inbounds with a friend (on the pistes, both experienced, no prbs so far) and he decided not to wear a helmet on that they, because "we´re on the pistes, chilled day today bro!". We were on a normal piste, a bit icy and average crowded and in order to avoid a nearby skier, he cought his edge and banged his head on the piste. Consequence, we had to stop riding that day because he had severe headache (that lasted for 2 days afterward!!). He has never left the helmet at home after this incident :)

2. I was freeriding with friends in some known local easygoing powder lines. Very deep day! I don´t even remember how, I simply wiped out and as I fell, cuz of the steepness of the slope (nothing too crazy, nor exposed) + my speed I tumbled for some meters down the hill and smashed my elbow on something very hard (a broken branch? a small boulder? we´ll never know) that was hiding under good 50cm of fresh pow. My elbow turned into an egglplant the next day :) biiig bruise. So now you´d think, it´s deep out there who cares. But what if instead of my elbow it was my head and I wasn´t wearing a helmet? What then?

1st example: did he expect to fall on such an easy day? No
2nd example: did I expect to fall and hit something hard on a deep day? Also no.

Like @Manicmouse already said, it´s the silly things, call it "the unexpected" that get you in the end...
 
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