Hel­met saves skier in ac­ci­dent

Central Otago Mirror - - FOOD FOR THOUGHT - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

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.

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