Protecting the Royal Heads… with Ski Helmets
Photos on POPSUGAR of Prince William and Kate Middleton skiing in France this month reveal that they are FINALLY wearing ski helmets! It was surprising (at least to me) when photos of their trip to Klosters, Switzerland a few years ago showed the famous couple helmet-less. I wonder if their PR people advised them to set a better example on this trip? With so many girls around the world trying to emulate Kate’s effortless style, photos of the duchess rocking a helmet on the slopes of Courchevel sends the right message: look great and stay safe!
What’s wrong with this picture?
Klosters, Switzerland 2008
Much better guys!
Courchevel, France April 2012
Pippa’s on board too!
Carol Middleton is wearing what looks very much like a Helmet Band-It!
Apparently the furry band decorating Carol’s helmet (see an earlier post about Helmet Band-Its) was sent to Kate who lent it to her mother for the trip. Another victory for smart PR people and skier safety!
The Kennedy Family on Skis – Part III – The Final Run
On December 31, 1997, approximately 25 Kennedy family members and friends gathered for their last run of the day atop Aspen Mountain’s Copper Bowl. As the mountain emptied and the light grew flat, the high-spirited group organized into teams and packed a water-bottle with snow in preparation for their customary game of ski-football.
Eyewitnesses have said that the group set off at a high rate of speed down Copper Bowl, tossing the “football” back and forth between the teams, using trees and sign posts as goals. The game turned tragic when 39-year old Michael Kennedy, said to be the most gifted skier and athlete in the family, looked up for a pass just as his ski caught an edge on the icy slope and he slammed headfirst into a tree. His sister Rory immediately began to administer CPR while Michael’s relatives, including his three young children, looked on in disbelief. Ski patrol was on the scene four minutes after the accident and performed lifesaving methods all the way down to a waiting ambulance, but Michael’s head and neck injuries were too severe and he was pronounced dead 90 minutes after impact.
The Kennedy family had allegedly received several friendly requests over the years from Aspen ski patrol to stop the reckless ski-football game. An official from Aspen mountain had supposedly phoned Ethel Kennedy to caution the family about their risky behavior on the slopes. The Kennedy family denied receiving any warnings.
There is no evidence that a helmet would have saved the life of Michael Kennedy but his highly publicized skiing accident, along with Sonny Bono’s deadly collision at Heavenly Ski Resort the very same month, highlighted the importance of protective headgear and ski helmets soon became commonplace on ski mountains in North America.
The Kennedy family has impacted the sport of skiing, just as they’ve influenced so many aspects of American policy and culture:
- The aptitude and appreciation that Edward, Robert and Jack Kennedy shared for skiing brought national attention to the sport.
- The rambunctious Kennedy brood glamorized ski vacations with their pilgrimages to Colorado and Idaho and the scandals that followed in their wake – Did Ethel really refuse to pay her Christmas catering bill? Did the Kennedy children actually put cherry bombs in the toilets of their Aspen condominium? And did Jackie (whose stylish stretch pants from Saks Fifth Avenue will forever be chronicled in the history of ski fashion) seek more than solace in the arms of brother-in-law Bobby at his Sun Valley home after Jack’s assassination?
- Teddy Jr. became a poster child for adaptive skiing when he was photographed skiing with outrigger poles after losing a leg to cancer.
- And finally, Michael’s tragic accident marked the start of helmets becoming a mainstream gear staple.
The Kennedy Family on Skis – Part II
Edward M. Kennedy “Teddy Kennedy, Junior” spent his childhood on ski slopes with his father Senator Ted Kennedy and other members of the boisterous Kennedy clan. At the age of 12, Teddy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, which led to the surgical amputation of his right leg. News of the child’s amputation reignited public discourse about the Kennedy family curse, but months after his operation the handsome boy appeared on the slopes of Vail with a single ski on his leg and a big smile on his face. The images of Teddy skiing on one leg, with the aid of outrigger poles, helped to raise awareness about adaptive skiing possibilities for people with disabilities.
Teddy, who prefers the term “physically challenged”, later became a medal-winning member of the U.S. Handicapped Ski Team and a disability advocate attorney. His daughter Kiley is a competitive snowboarder.
More information about adaptive skiing is available at Park City’s world-renowned nonprofit National Ability Center. I will be writing about the NAC in a separate post.
Click on the image below to read People Magazine’s 1974 article about Teddy Jr. and his ski instructor Blair Ammons, who specialized in ski instruction for amputees.
The Kennedy Family on Skis – Part I
The Kennedy family caused a stir in Park City last month when they arrived for the Sundance film premiere of Rory Kennedy’s HBO documentary Ethel - a portrayal of her famously private 83 year-old mother. Rory Kennedy, a prolific independent film maker (Ghosts of Abu Ghraib), is is the youngest of Ethel and Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s 11 children. The film documents Ethel’s recollection of the civil rights movement, the Cuban missile crisis, and other pivotal events in world history. Ethel reveals on camera that she fell in love “at first sight” with Robert F. Kennedy on a ski trip to Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec in 1945.
It’s not surprising that Ethel began her romance with Bobby Kennedy at a ski resort. Skiing has always been a Kennedy tradition and over the years the family has attracted a great deal of media attention to the sport.
Bobby and Ted were both expert skiers and proponents of skiing – both were named in SKI Magazine’s 1964 list of the most influential people in the ski industry.
Jackie Kennedy, a novice skier compared to the rest of the family, loved to ski and was photographed on the slopes of Vermont, Idaho and Switzerland. She reportedly took John and Caroline to stay with brother-in-law Bobby in Sun Valley after her husband’s assassination, in order to maintain normalcy for their children.
The following images of the Kennedy family at ski resorts are culled from the archives of The Daily Beast, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Aspen Sojourner, IHeartTheKennedys.com and People Magazine.