Following the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant ski resort in 2009, the Canadian company that manages the park is imposing a mandatory helmet rule at all its North American resorts for the upcoming season.
Intrawest, the company that oversees Tremblant and nine other snow resorts across North America, will require helmets for all teen and child skiiers and “recommend” them for other guests. Beginning in 2010, all skiiers and snowboarders at the resorts’ freestyle terrain parks will also be required to wear helmets. The new rules will be phased in at Intrawest’s resorts in Canada as well as their properties in the United States, including Steamboat and Stratton. In order to better publicize the decision, Intrawest plans to make a number of changes to its website and advertising, updating the imagery to include photos of guests wearing protective headgear.
Say what you will about the wisdom of mandatory helmet laws, but Intrawest’s decision just makes sense. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle, paddling the rapids or skiing down a hill, it should be natural to wear a helmet during higher risk activities. Richardson’s high-profile skiing death only seems to have further pushed the issue to the forefront. Whether this sort of mandatory helmet rule will be extended to other American ski resorts remains to be seen.