Ski helmets have become increasingly popular on the slopes in recent years and many resorts will now insist that helmets are worn. The technology has got better and better and so has the style and fit. Mountain Warehouse has lots of longtime skiers amongst our staff who are now fully won over to wearing a helmet when skiing and snowboarding.
A ski helmet will offer you:
This guide will explain how to choose a ski helmet and what to look out for.
If you are a first time skier you may consider renting a ski helmet but in many cases you may be able to buy a ski helmet for little more than the cost of renting one. Most ski resorts will hire out kids and adults ski helmets but there are many reasons why many people choose to buy rather than hire a helmet.
Firstly, the fit will be much better as you have been able to try various options on beforehand, normally with the goggles you will be wearing. Rented ski helmets invariably fit as well. Secondly, it is impossible to know how well a rented ski helmet has been looked after- has it been worn in an accident? If a ski helmet has been knocked and damaged, it will not be effective at protecting your head should you fall. Lastly, rented ski helmets will be worn by various people and although they might wear a skull cap the idea of someone else sweating in your helmet isn’t appealing to most people!
Getting the right fit for your ski helmet is the most important factor when buying a helmet. A good fit is vital for your safety on the slope and comfort all day long. A helmet should be a snug fit and fully cover the forehead.
Helmet sizes are measured in centimetres – the circumference around your head. Use a tape measure to calculate the circumference of your head about 1inch/2.5cm above your ears and eyebrows.
Don’t have a tape measure? Don’t worry, you can simply use a piece of string to wrap around your head then measure that.
A ski helmet should cover your forehead, finishing just above the eyebrows and your goggles. Most ski helmets have a ‘fine tuning’ adjustment system allowing you to get a perfect fit. Have a play with this to adjust your helmet to a close, but comfortable fit.
Lastly you should adjust the chin strap, so it comfortably fits under your chin.
To check you have a good fit do the ‘shake test’. If you give your head a shake – your helmet shouldn’t budge. Put your palm on the outside of your helmet and push your helmet from side to side – again your helmet should not shift about on its own. If it does, your helmet is too big. You are looking for a snug, comfortable fit.
So what are the key features to look for when buying a ski helmet?
– Meets Safety Standards
Ski Helmets must comply with either Common European Norm (CEN) , CEN 1077, issued in 1996 or The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), standard F2040.
At Mountain Warehouse our ski helmets are tested and comply with both of these standards
– Helmet Style
You can choose between full shell or half shell styles
Full shell helmets, have shell protection over ears. They tend to be worn by ski racers.
Half shell helmets are the most popular style of helmets. They provide a great combination of safety and comfort.
– Helmet Vents
All helmets will have some level of venting, to allow excess heat and moisture to escape. Some helmets also offer ‘adjustable vents’ which allow the user to increase/decrease the vents, to control airflow through the helmet. This gives an extra level of temperature control and comfort.
Phew, really getting technical now. First of all you need to understand, what is inside a ski helmet.
1. A hard exterior shell.
2. An inner protective liner
3. Some extra padding for comfort and fit.
The hard exterior shell protects you from sharp objects like rocks, branches or ice and dissipates the force of the impact over the large surface area of the helmet. It is typically made of very thin, rigid acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or other high-impact plastics.
The inner protective liner, is typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, a material known for its ‘energy management’ properties. Again, this helps dissipate any impact, meaning your helmet is damaged rather than your head! This is an important point, if you have had a serious bump or impact, you must replace your helmet, even if the outside is not damaged. The foam liner inside will have been permanently changed by the impact and will not have the same ability to protect you in future tumbles.
The third component of a helmet is an extra fabric liner for comfort and fit. This is an entirely aesthetic element, it does not provide any safety, but does make your helmet comfortable to wear all day on the slopes.
Great, so what are my choices in construction type then? Essentially there are two types of construction: ‘in-mold construction’ or ‘injection molding’ construction. Both types have their advantages and we wouldn’t advise wearers to get too hung up on choosing between types. However these are the main differences:
In Mold Construction. In-mold helmets are made by fusing the outer shell and shock-absorbing foam liner together in a single molding process. Rather than being glued together they are permanently joined. In-mold helmets therefore tend to be more lightweight and can offer greater choice of ventilation systems. They are however more expensive.
Injection Moulding. Injection Mold helmets are made by taking an already formed outer shell and bonding an EPS foam liner inside. This type of construction tends to be slightly more bulky and has less ability to add air vents. However injection mold helmets are great value, very robust and hardwearing.