This letter is in response to your Sunday, Nov. 30, story titled "Safety on the slopes." Although I really liked the physical fitness information in the article, it hardly touched on some other very important aspects of skier/snowboarder safety.
Helmet use, as you mention, is an important part of safety on the slopes, but might have some limitations at higher speeds. Skiing under control and with a higher level of awareness will help prevent collisions that you might need a helmet for. It is also important to remind anyone going to Eaglecrest to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Improperly dressed skiers are at risk for hypothermia and frostbite, even in the controlled environment of the ski area. The most important thing that was not mentioned was obeying area closures and boundaries. Skiers and riders who ignore "closed" signs, duck ropes and ski in closed areas are often unknowingly going into hazardous avalanche terrain, and may even blunder into the path of avalanche control work performed by the ski patrol.
And don't forget the most dangerous part of any ski day: driving to and from Eaglecrest. The number of cars that went off the road this weekend at the bottom of the Eaglecrest road is appalling. It seems to be a big Juneau problem. People just can't be bothered to slow down in bad weather and dangerous road conditions. Slow down - you'll get there.