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Coroner Calls For Helmets To Be Compulsory on Slopes in British Columbia

(image: Skier, Lee Townend, Snoworks Ski Courses instructor. Photographer ©PollyABaldwin)

A coroner in British Columbia, Canada, has called for a helmet wearing to be made compulsory on the slopes of the province’s ski resorts for skiers and boarders.

Coroner Timothy Wiles was reporting on the death of 16-year-old Brazilian exchange student Luca Cesar on Grouse Mountain  above Vancouver in 2013 after he fell on to rocks off the side of a run after becoming separated from friends.

“Though it remains unclear if the use of a helmet may have prevented life-threatening traumatic brain injury in Luca’s case, it is clear that traumatic brain injuries continue to pose a significant risk to skiers and snowboarders,” the Coroner wrote.

Canada is one of very few countries which does have areas where helmet use is compulsory – in the East Coast province of Nova Scotia.

Initial response to the coroner’s suggestion from the Canada West Ski Area Association was against the recommendation.

A spokesman said education rather than obligation was working well and pointed out the number of people wearing helmets in the province had risen from 32 per cent in 2003 to 86 per cent last winter – higher than the 65% wearing helmets when cycling, where legislation had not worked.

Figures available indicate 37 people died on BC ski slopes over six seasons to 2013 with head injury given as the cause in a fifth of snowboarder deaths and in just over a quarter of skier deaths.