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Afton Alps to host helmet challenge Jan. 30

Each winter, active Minnesotans hit their favorite hill to beat the winter blues, get some fresh air and exercise. Regions Hospital and Afton Alps are teaming up to join the fun, and sharing a message of the importance of wearing a helmet while you ski or ride. Helmet usage is on the rise and if you’re not wearing yours, it’s time to look at protecting your noggin.

“Ski and snowboard helmets are extremely effective at preventing head injuries and skull fractures,” said Bjorn Peterson, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Regions Hospital. “As helmet use continues to go up, we’re seeing fewer of these types of injuries in our ER.”

The National Ski Areas Association began collecting data on helmet use during the 2002-03 winter season. Since then, helmet use has increased each year, growing from 25 percent of all skiers and snowboarders in 2002-03 to 78 percent in 2014-15. A recent study published in the journal "Skiing and Trauma Safety" concluded that the increase in helmet use corresponded with a dramatic decline in potentially serious head injuries, such as concussions.

This weekend, Regions Hospital and Afton Alps are teaming up to promote helmet use on the slopes. Helmets will be available for purchase at a discount, and a portion of all helmet rental proceeds will be donated to the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance’s No Helmet, No Ride campaign.

“At Afton Alps, we are proud of our commitment to safety,” said Pam Hoye, marketing and public relations manager. “We encourage skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities to wear helmets and to ski and ride responsibly.”

The helmet challenge event will be held Saturday, Jan. 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Afton Alps Ski Area, 6600 Peller Ave. S., Hastings.

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