Helmet saves skier in accident
A Queenstown teenager is singing the praises of his ski helmet after he landed head-first on a sharp rock and escaped without serious injury.
Experienced skier Austin Green, 17, was familiar with the off-piste track he took at The Remarkables ski field on Wednesday, but he hit a rock covered in fresh powder and it caused him to fall onto another rock.
Father Paul Green, who was also at the ski field, praised his son’s helmet, which meant he had avoided serious injuries.
‘‘It’s hard to say if he would have had a rock going into his head, but that is what you think of when you see it [helmet] and you are kind of grateful that the helmet was there,’’ he said.
The young skier escaped with only bruising on his right hip.
The helmet cost $200 and was bought about four years ago.
‘‘It’s a small price to pay to live to ski another day,’’ Paul Green said.
Austin did not realise he had hit his head until he skied to the medical rescue building.
After seeing the helmet, ski field medics examined him for any head injuries, but they did not find any.
‘‘There were some sharp intakes of breaths when they [medics] saw the helmet,’’ Paul Green said.
The teenager was confident riding off-trail and was aware of the risks, his father said.
‘‘Even very experienced skiers can get caught out, especially at a place like The Remarkables.
‘‘Wear a helmet. It means you can walk away instead of being airlifted to the hospital.’’
Austin was riding alone at the time of the incident, but recommends others shred with a buddy.
‘‘If I was not in the mountain area and at the back somewhere I would have been buggered at that point,’’ he said.
‘‘If you are skiing big stuff and no one can see you there, it’s important to have someone with you.’’
The Wakatipu High student was hoping to get back up the mountain before school holidays end this week.
In 2016 ACC received 2809 skiing and 2300 snowboarding claims in the Queenstown-Lakes District, costing over $3.9 million and $1.7m respectively.
Over 1930 snowboarding injuries were soft tissue injuries, 301 fractures or dislocations, 141 concussions and 95 laceration or puncture wounds.