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A huge dump day ... or how I learned to love my Giro Tor and MIPS Spherical Helmet

I had no intentions skiing this particular day. We were supposed to be packing to head to The SkiTalk Gathering in Utah and the previous day at Mt. Rose was the best snow day of the year, so why not leave well enough alone leave on a high note? So, by leaving Tahoe to go to Utah I was breaking my cardinal rule, "Don't leave good snow to find good snow". So, by doing so I was going against the best laid plans of mice and men but the webcams from Mt. Rose suggested otherwise: another foot of new snow over two storm cycles of previously good snow plus no lift lines. Tricia strongly suggested that I get myself up to Rose. So much for the best laid plans and leaving on an established high note.

Backstory: A few days before, a long rectangular box from Bozeman had arrived and I thought this would be the perfect morning to mount up these new Peak 110s. So, as Tricia cleaned off the SS Skitalk, I grabbed a box of 115mm Strive 13 Demos and mounted up and waxed the new Peak 110's.

Driving to Rose was "sporty" but uneventful; the conga line up Mt. Rose highway moved smooth and steady and the usual 40 minute drive door-to-door only took 60, which was not too bad considering what the traffic up to Truckee and the other areas could be.

So, why this title? Well, I will get to that. I parked over on the Slide side of Rose and booted up at the Winterscreek Lodge. As I exited the lodge there was a fellow skier also with some Peak Skis (98's) with a group of skiers around him, asking him about them. I added a few thoughts to his conversationand headed to the lift...ok off to the lifts.

My first two runs were on the Slide side in areas I know that tend to hold snow well and get tracked up last, no I won't share. Even with the 10AM late-ish start I was still getting mid body shots. After these two runs, I headed over to the main area. As I skied past some of my favorite lines, I went over to a stash I rarely hit which is the trail formally known as Lower Lakeview, and now we get to the title.

Skiers' left on Sunset trail usually features a wind pattern through it which creates a snow whale, a feature that adds character to the trail, making it my favorite trail at Mt. Rose. On this run I went past Sunset to these trees between that and the trailformally known as Lakeview and now called Lone Tree which is a tree section I rarely ski. This skier forgot to realize that that swale whale that was on Sunset would also be in the woods there too and in the flat light/bizzard condtions, I could not see.

We have been blessed with the best snow I have experienced in Tahoe and Mt. Rose. It was still coming down in massive amounts, which is why I headed to the trees for more contrast. Again, best laid plans. With snow as deep as it was, I entered the woods with some momentum. This is usually good, but in this case it was a detriment. As I see the swale in front of me, I think, "How bad can it be? I am on some wide skis, [sponsor plug] Peak Skis 110 by Bode Miller[/sponsor plug]" which will give me something to land on, again best laid plans, and as I crest the swale is when I see them.

Screenshot 2023-03-18 at 8.37.16 AM.png

It was straight out of one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons, the one in the airplane where one pilot says to the other, 'What would a mountain goat being doing way up here in a cloud bank?" As I came over said large swale, I thought "What would a large boulder and a tree stump be doing right where I was going to land when we have had almost 500" of snow?" But there they were.


Changing direction on skis is tough in mid air but I did the best I could to try to land between the rock and stump. According to the East German judge, I scored OK with a 6.6 out of 10, but I did hit rock ... hard. When skis hit rock they tend to stop quickly. At that point all turned white as I was launched really fast forward from my skis into the snow and rocks.


Before After​

If you notice the before headshot, there is a GoPro adaptor on my Tor MIPS Spherical helmet and after, it is not there (note: the GoPro was not attached at time of crash). I hit something, I assume one of the boulders hard enough to not only rip that off but activate the Mips Spherical which can be noticed in the second image. Which brings me to the second part of the title, "how I learned how to love my Giro Tor and MIPS Spherical". First of all, helmets are cheap insurance, especially in today's age of some folks' insurance deductables hitting 5 figures. Why someone is not wearing a helmet today is mind-boggling. It is up there with not having fire insurance on a home. Have you used it? Probably not, but you sure as hell aren't going to cancel it. The fall I took was sheer happenstance, but as they say shit happens. And if I wasn't wearing a helmet, and seeing how the MIPS Spherical worked as completely designed, there is a very good chance my brain matter would not have been intact enough for me to write this ... let alone Tricia needing a lot of consoling.

Yes, the helmet has been retired and no, a helmet cannot prevent all head injuries. Let's face it, quality helmets are not inexpensive, but the cost of not wearing one can be astronomically more costly; not just for you, but for the people around you. Don't be selfish, leave the ego in the car when you arrive at the ski area/resort and wear a &^%$ing helmet.
About author
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.


Good story! A minor bit of side topic advice.

Losing a GoPro mount on a helmet is a trivial expense and just a little time back at home to reinstall another. However if an expensive GoPro camera is attached, especially in deep problem, there is a significant chance it won't be found in all the soft deep white. Having a GoPro mount come loose and fall has always been a serious issue since skiers began gluing them on to helmets.

On my GoPro helmet mount, besides carefully gluing the mount on, I also have drilled tiny holes in the mount plastic through which I've attached a short 3 inch length of 20 pound monofilament fishing line that then goes through attaching to a vent louver. So like a surfboard leash, at most will be dangling off a helmet.

Oh, like where you've placed that GoPro mount at the front edge of the Giro Tor Spherical Mips helmet unlike the common top of helmet mount. That way you'll better be able to importantly include ski shovels in Wide or SuperView angle of view modes.
Heed @Philpug words . I’ll tell you , I hate helmets-but I wear them. Maybe it’s my generation- we raced without helmets except for DH in ESA events then and I lived on a bicycle in the warmer months without a helmet as well. Darwinism? maybe but if you met me you might disagree :roflmao:
That said, if you have dependents, a mortgage, need life insurance or god forbid, no medical insurance, you should be wearing a helmet. When my kids were little and started skiing ,my helmet -less days were over.
Not another helmet thread?:ogbiggrin:
Seriously, glad your brain bucket saved the day!

My helmet saving story was the day I got hit with the disc of a platter lift about two inches above my temple. I'd just finished riding the lift and let the platter go, but it did not fully retract. Instead, it swung powerfully around the upper bullwheel and came back to clobber me on the noggin as it headed down the hill. I was stunned but ok. I had to retire my dented helmet. This was about five years ago.
Glad the helmet worked as advertised. Last season at Mt Hood Meadows the nurse I rode up on the lift told me that they should really close the lift we were riding as it was a complete whiteout on top.
She offered to guide me down below the snow line and I'm glad I accepted her offer. 1/4 of the way down I fell hard and looked much like you did in one of the photos you posted.
After collecting myself I followed her down to better visiblity and ended up off piste in an unfamiliar area. I tomahawked backwards after almost going over the handlbars. Instead I whacked my 65 yo head hard.
I picked my way down to the parking lot and called it a day. I was toast and so was my helmet. It's still in the closet but it's only use could be as a planter.
Glad to hear your adventure worked out so well for you.
Glad you're ok but this story gave me flashbacks to last year ..... soooo I got back into full time skiing (30+days) from only doing 5-10 days about 5 years ago prior to that I never wore a helmet but I was noticing that people without helmets are the minority now any who I finally got one and skied more confidently and was warmer .. well last season I was at my yearly sugarloaf trip 2nd to last day hit some untouched cord on the side of the trail well it was pure ice lol hence why it wasn't touched I fell and spun as I was down my head smacked a rock outcrop my giro grid spherical took the brunt and im sure saved my life I cant believe I was soo stupid as to not wear a helmet for as long as I did
Ullr's way of telling you that no one cares about your GaperPro footage... ;) Glad you escaped any real damage and lived to ski another day.
Glad you are ok Phil.

Im with you, my lid has saved me a number of times. Never had melon to rock contact, but I have heard load noises during a few tomahawks that I know would have rung my bell.

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