The Nova Scotia government plans to pass a law requiring all skiers to wear helmets. (CBC)

A new law requiring skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets on Nova Scotia ski hills goes into effect Thursday.

The mandatory, all-ages legislation requires that ASTM, Snell, CSA and CEN-certified helmets be worn.

The government said there have been 11 severe traumatic brain injuries since 2000 that have been attributed to skiing or snowboarding without a helmet.

Dr. David Clarke, interim head of neurosurgery at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, said the leading cause of death among skiers and snowboarders is brain injuries.

He said the risk of injury can be reduced by 60 per cent by wearing a helmet.

Those caught without an approved helmet face a minimum fine of $250.