The Hovden Alpinsenter ski resort in the mountains of Southern Norway is set to become the first in the country to require use of helmets on its downhill slopes. Insurance companies are rejoicing and hope other alpine resport make helmets mandatory, too.
“We’re doing this because we see that helmets are very important as a means of reducing head injuries,” Daniel Schaanning, who heads Hovden’s ski patrol, told state broadcaster NRK.
The helmet requirement will take effect next season at Hovden, which ranks as one of the 10 largest ski resorts in Norway and is located due north of Kristiansand at the top of the valley known as Setesdalen. Until now, ski resorts have strongly recommended use of helmets, but allow skiers on their lifts without them.
A survey conduted by the ski resorts’ trade association, Alpinanleggenes Landsforeningen, found that around 85 percent of alpine skiers use helmets in Norway already. The association doesn’t, however, support banning skiers who don’t want to use helmets.
“We’re skeptical to using force,” association leader Andreas Smith-Erichsen told NRK. “We think campaigns to promote helmet use work better.”