Ski helmets - and how to choose the right one

22nd Nov 2011

It’s good to see that nowadays the skiers turning up for lessons without a helmet are the odd ones out, rather than the other way round which was the case 10 years ago.  Check out the picture on my last blog post from one of last year’s courses...

Some people still find a reason for not wearing one but it’s hard to justify.  If you’re not a helmet wearer these are some of the reasons you might find yourself giving –

“Traditionally skiing or snowboarding isn't a sport where people wear helmets – why should I change?” 

For a long time we didn’t wear helmets on our bikes, look at old photos of the Tour du France.  But we changed and so did the safety record of the sport.  Far more people gain head injuries from skiing than you ever hear about.

“I don’t think I need one”

No matter how well you ski you can’t stop someone else skiing into you.

“It prevents me from wearing a warm hat”

You can get slim hats that will go underneath if need be but you’ll find most helmets are warmer than a hat.

“It’s uncomfortable”

Yes, some will feel uncomfortable.  You need to shop around till you find one that fits.

“It’s not fashionable”

They are now.  Look at photographs of many of our pro skiers, they are wearing helmets.  Helmets come is so many styles and colours helmet are certainly keeping up with fashion trends.


Top tips for purchasing a ski helmet

  1. Make sure it fits.  Try on lots of different styles and once you have one you think fits wear it around the shop for a bit – remember you’ll be wearing it all day on the hill.  It should be snug and not move around when you shake your head, but you don’t want there to be any pressure points. Some helmets now have adjustments at the back just like a cycle helmet.
  2. Check your vision isn’t restricted and that you can still hear well with it on.
  3. Try it on with your goggles.  Most goggles are now designed to fit well with helmets but it’s best to take your goggles to the shop and try them on together.  It’s better not to have a gap between the top of your goggles and your helmet – this will let snow and cold air in!
  4. Will it keep you warm in December but cool for spring skiing?  Some helmets have removable ear pieces which will help with this.  Going for a lighter colour will mean it is cooler in the spring.
  5. Make sure it is designed for snow sports by meeting one or more of the following standards - ASTM F2040, Snell RS98 or CEN 1077."
  6. Make sure you like it!  Remember that you are buying something to protect your head; it’s no time to scrimp and save.  It’ll be a bad investment to buy a cheap one and then not wear it.  You've got to like the colour and style of it if's it going to become habit wearing it.

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