Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) is instituting a new employee helmet policy tas an integral part of its commitment to safety. ASC currently recommends that all snowsport participants wear a properly fitted snowsports helmet whenever they are skiing or riding. To further instill that habit this season, all Aspen employees will be required to wear a helmet while on duty and "clicked in" to their skis or snowboard.
Aspen was one of the first resorts to require helmets for some clientele and employees when, in March 2002, it mandated helmets for all children enrolled in ski school classes. Last year, Aspen required helmet use by a number of employees who were seen as influencers. More than 80 percent of guests and employees at Aspen/Snowmass currently wear helmets, well above the national average.
"The safety of our employees and our guests is our top priority", said Mike Kaplan, ASC president and CEO. "The new helmet policy will take our focus on safety to the next level".
All employees who are required to wear a helmet as part of this policy will be provided a helmet at no charge if they do not already have a suitable one.
A number of leading resort groups in North America including Intrawest and Vail Resorts have already made helmet-wearing compulsory in various scenarios including for on-mountain staff and for guests taking ski school lessons.
According to findings of the 2011 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) National Demographic Study, 61 percent of skiers and snowboarders now wear helmets while enjoying the slopes at U.S. ski areas, up from 57 percent during the 2009/10 season. Helmet usage among those interviewed nationwide has increased 140 percent since the 2002/03 season, when only 25 percent of skiers and snowboarders were wearing a helmet at the time of being interviewed. More importantly, nearly 80 percent of children aged 17 and younger now wear helmets on the slopes. The annual Demographic Study is compiled from more than 130,000 interviews of skiers and snowboarders nationwide, over the course of the 2010/11 season. "Parents and resorts continue to do a great job of promoting the use of helmets for guests, especially children", said Michael Berry, president of NSAA.