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02/27/2006 – A friend of mine says that the best thing about being in your 40s is that you don't care what other people think.
I started thinking about that this Saturday while snowboarding at Crystal Mountain. I was standing in the Chinook Express lift line, and I noticed that almost every kid was wearing a helmet, but some of their parents weren't.
Hmmm. I'm 44 -- going on 45! -- so I don't mind looking like a half-baked Power Ranger on the slopes. But I wondered why some of these adults weren't wearing helmets.
Maybe they aren't their 40s yet. Maybe they don't think helmets are cool. Maybe they're such good skiers or snowboarders that they never fall.
Maybe they don't mind sending their kids a weird mixed message.
I'm a snowboarder -- after 20 years of skiing -- and I always wear a helmet. It's protected my middle-aged skull from some boneheaded crashes. It's also cushioned the blow when other skiers or boarders pull down the safety rail on the chairlift without warning me.
But, most of all, wearing a helmet gives me the moral high ground to tell Courtney, my 15-year-old rabid snowboarder of a daughter, that she has to wear a helmet as well.
I love Courtney more than anything, and I want her protected if she falls and slides into a tree or a rock. Besides, she just got her braces off, and I don't want anything to happen to thousands of dollars worth of orthodontic work.
Besides, helmets can be cool.
A teenage girl who was just ahead of me in the lift line wore a helmet with this sticker on the back: "You've just been passed by a girl."
I liked that sticker. And that girl backed up every word. She skied past me three times on Saturday.
Now that is stylish.