In the wake of the tragic death of Willie Neal earlier this summer, there has been quite a bit of discussion of roller ski safety. Long-time New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) board member and LL Bean CMO Steve Fuller spearheaded a project to bring a low-cost, highly functional reflective vest to market. The purpose of this vest is to provide a “no-excuses” option for high visibility training clothing. Even cheap reflective vests usually cost around $25, and many are too hot, fit poorly, or fall apart quickly. With feedback from other NENSA board members and various coaches, in just a matter of weeks, Steve was able to get a new product on the market.
The Brooks® NightLife™ Mesh Vest, available from LL Bean comes in two different sizes and features a combination of reflective and high-visibility materials. And best of all, this vest is sold at-cost for only $10. LL Bean does not profit from the sale of this item, and you will be hard-pressed to find a cheaper option – especially one of this quality. The excuses have been eliminated.
Wearing a reflective vest is just one aspect of safe roller skiing. Always wear a helmet, be familiar with the terrain, and ff you ski at dusk or later, be sure to have a flasher.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.