Ski hel­met saves Qtown teenager

The Southland Times - - NEWS - 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 ski­field 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 ski­field, praised his son’s hel­met, which had saved him from 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 [the hel­met], and you are kind of grate­ful that the hel­met was there,’’ Paul Green 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,’’ his dad said.

Austin did not re­alise he had hit his head un­til he skied to the med­i­cal res­cue build­ing.

Af­ter see­ing the hel­met, ski­field medics ex­am­ined him for head in­juries but they did not find any.

‘‘There were some sharp in­takes of breaths when they [the 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 the place like the Re­mark­ables.

‘‘Wear a hel­met. It means you can walk away in­stead of be­ing air­lifted to the hos­pi­tal.’’

Rid­ing alone at the time of the in­ci­dent, Austin’s rec­om­mended 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 hol­i­days end this week.

Paul Green posted a photo of his son’s dam­aged hel­met on Face book, re­mind­ing oth­ers to wear the pro­tec­tive head gear. It had at­tracted more than 880 shares and 1600 likes.

Austin Green with his dented hel­met.

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