More Winter Riders Choosing To Wear Helmets

By Kelly McCarthy

January 5, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM EDT

Cortland, NY (WBNG Binghamton) This winter has already showed promise compared to the past few for those who like to hit the slopes.

The excitement from skiers and snowboarders comes paired with a push for safety on the mountain.

Action News takes a trip to Greek Peak and checks out the demand for winter helmets.

Megan Kiminsky has been working, and skiing, at Greek Peak Mountain Resort for the past six years.

She knows firsthand why more and more people are coming in looking to buy helmets.

"My first year I actually fell, broke my shoulder, and when I fell the ski pole hit me in the back of the head and the guy who was behind me said I was out for a good minute. I'm so happy I had that helmet, otherwise it could have been much much worse," said Kiminsky of Binghamton.

As families dust off their skis and get back on the slopes it's hard to miss all the hard-headed children.

There are no laws to enforce helmet use, just a stern warning from those who matter.

"I told my husband straight off the bat, they're going to wear it so they get used to it because it's no question, we're going to make them wear it every single time," said Alicia Burrell of Norwich.

Helmets are made available at every ski shop in New York State, but they're a little different than your average bicycle helmet. They have more all-around coverage and a lot more padding on the inside.

"It's a personal decision. There is a place for helmets no doubt about it I wear one riding the snowmobile, I wear one when I ski sometimes," said John MeGivern, Patrol Leader of Greek Peak Ski Patrol.

A decision families seem to be making without hesitation.

The most common injury on the mountain is farther south than ones head.

"Typically it's a sprained knee or some upper extremity, again, maybe a sprained wrist," said MeGivern.

"In our lessons we do teach, if you feel like you're about to fall, how to go about that, not putting your hands out, crossing your arms in front of you," said Robert McGraw, Greek Peak Ski and Ride Director.

Because you won't want to be sitting this season out.

"Right now probably this is turning out to be one of the best ski season's we've had, and I've been skiing a lot time the snow is just fantastic," said MeGivern.

State legislation to make ski and snowboard helmets mandatory for children under 14 is currently pending.

The bill is modeled after the bicycle helmet law that enforces anyone under the age of 14 to wear a helmet.

State Senator James Seward is a co-sponsor of the bill that's supported by the organization Ski Areas of New York.

Seward says he's looking forward to see if the bill will pass this year in the state legislature.

"This is designed to provide and element of safety for these young skiers. Even though statistics would support the fact skiing is a relatively safe sport, we have had incidents of serious injury suffered by children that are in ski accidents," said (R) James Seward, New York State 51st Senate.

This would make sure helmet use would be left up to local law enforcement and not the ski resorts.

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