The tide is turning and more people have ski helmets than ever before. Basically, if you ski without one you’re foolish. Here’s why ski helmets are important.
The tide is turning and more people have ski helmets than ever before. Basically, if you ski without one you’re foolish.
However, despite the clear advantages of wearing a ski helmet, there are very few ski locations where it is compulsory, by law, for adults to wear ski helmets, in fact, the only four places where an adult must wear a helmet are Ben Eoin, Cape Smokey, Martock, or Ski Wentworth (according to welove2ski).
Therefore, since we don’t have to wear a helmet by law, we shouldn’t. Right?
Wrong! Ski helmets are not always worn by all skiers. However, here at Snowfinders, we’re of the opinion that if you are skiing, you should wear a ski helmet. What’s more, adults and more experienced skiers should, most certainly, encourage those less experienced than themselves to strap their heads in, and lead the way by wearing their own high-quality ski helmet.
Fortunately, ski helmets have become more and more popular over the years which has led to a helmet with an improved quality, that people actually enjoy wearing.
Why wear a ski helmet?
Without wanting to state the glaringly obvious, a ski helmet offers skiers numerous benefits:
- Improved protection from head injuries
- Ski helmets can, in some cases, save your life or ongoing illness from head injury
- Increased warmth and comfort, particularly on colder days (we lose the majority of heat from our heads after all)
Choosing a ski helmet
Despite the clear advantages to wearing a ski helmet, it is important that you opt for the right type of helmet for you in order to provide yourself with the maximum amount of protection.
Whether you are buying a helmet for a child or an adult, when choosing a ski helmet, you should take into account:
1.The type of helmet you’d like
There are three main types of helmet that skiers can choose from. These are: Half shell helmets, full shell helmets and full face helmets.
Full shell helmets
Full shell helmets offer protection for the whole of the face and ears and are generally worn by children, and those who attempt ski and snowboard tricks, those who reach incredibly high speeds and racers.
Full face helmets
Full face helmets have the added benefit of built-in goggles and a mask that is usually detachable.
Half shell helmets
Half shell helmets tend to be the most popular helmet and are, essentially, a standard-shaped helmet with added ear protection.
2.The helmet’s safety rating
Ski and Snowboard Helmets should be recognised under the CE EN1077 European specification for ski helmets or the ASTM F2040 U.S standard, you can usually find a ASTM sticker or CE EN sticker on the helmet itself.
Ultimately, buying a helmet of an approved standard means that the helmet has been tested for impact protection, resistance, penetration, coverage, vision and the fit between the head and shell.
3.The size and fit of the helmet
Measure the circumference of your head using a soft tape measure and record the measurements in centimetres (cm), you can then select a helmet to fit your head size. Your helmet should be tight and snug.
Ensure you try the helmet on
When buying any form of helmet, it is essential to try it on. Therefore, it is advisable to not buy your helmet online and, instead, attend a store where you have access to a variety of helmets to try.
When you try your helmet on, you should make sure the helmet offers a tight and snug fit that does not move around or have any excess space between your head and the helmet itself.
A good way of testing the fit is to shake your head and make sure the helmet moves with, and not separately to, your head. You can also move the helmet up and down with your hands to make sure the helmet is snug enough to move your head too. You may want to do up the buckle, but this should have no effect on how the helmet sits on your head.
Although the helmet should be securely fitting, it is important to make sure the helmet is not too tight and does not have any painful or pressured points when wearing it. A helmet should essentially offer comfort throughout your whole time on the slopes.
4.The construction of the helmet
In-mold helmets are lightweight and are built with a thin polycarbonate shell attached to a protective EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam interior liner. In-mold helmets are essentially constructed in a single molding process.
Injection molded helmets feature the EPS foam attached to a separate outer layer of high-impact ABS plastic, and are essentially more durable than in-mold helmets.
Injection-molded helmets are available with one layer of protective foam (hard shell) or two layers of foam, featuring a harder foam attached to the ABS plastic and then a softer foam closer to the head (soft shell).
- Other helmet features
Due to adaptations for comfort and suitability in the ski helmet market, there are various features and adaptations of the ski helmet that you may want to consider when purchasing your ski helmet.
These features include: Venting (some form of adjustable venting is generally favoured), the possibility of attaching a camera (like a GoPro, for example), built-in speakers, detachable liners, the possibility to attach to your goggles and the option of a travel case for protection during transportation.
It should be noted that, when worn with goggles, there should be no gap and you should ensure that snug fit.
When to replace your ski helmet
Ski helmets are incredibly durable nowadays but should still be replaced every 3 to 5 years, without fail.
In addition, if you have a crash or drop your helmet, it may be necessary to replace your helmet.
If your helmet has an EPS liner, you should replace your helmet after a single crash or drop from 2 feet. EPP liners have more ability to withstand minor crashes.
Consider renting a helmet
If you are not a frequent skier and have decided not to purchase a ski helmet, you should rent a ski helmet when practicing skiing on your ski holiday. Again, the helmet should offer a snug and secure fit.
Minimise the risk!
Remember helmets do offer protection, but do not make you invincible! Take care of your own safety by not practicing tricks that can put your safety in danger.