No matter how experienced and skilful you are on the slopes, wearing protective gear is important as you never know when disaster will strike. Since the head is one of the most important parts of your body – wearing a helmet is a must regardless of whether you’re just practicing or doing a 360 flip in the air. But not any old helmet you have for your bike or motorcycle will work in this case, since falling downhill is not at all the same as falling from a bike. The construction and the materials that ski and snowboard helmets are made of are totally different. Here’s what to consider when buying.
Since safety is the number one priority here you’ll need to focus on certain components including the shell and the helmets’ inner lining. The shell (outer layer) is usually a piece of ABS plastic that is rigid enough to withstand sharp objects, abrasion and of course, impacts. The inner liner of ski and snowboard helmets is made from EPS (expanded polystyrene) – a material which looks much like styrofoam.
Construction & Certification
The in-mold helmet is lightweight and thin – the shell and the foam are put together in one molding process. On the other hand, we also have injection-molded helmets which are more durable due to the fact that its shock-absorbent foam is in a separate shell, which is made from ABS plastic which is very resistant to impact. All ski and snowboard helmets need to have at least one of the two safety certifications. Whilst the US standard (ASTM) is more common, EU (CE EN1077) has its own type of alpine certification, but there aren’t a lot of helmets that have both certifications.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to checking whether or not a helmet fits you well is to put it on and tighten the chin strap so that it feels snug. Then, shake your head from one side to the other to check how it feels. If there’s enough space for the helmet to move back and forth even a little bit, that means the fit is too loose. Much like the chinstrap, the helmet should also fit you snuggly not tightly. Also, check if you can push the front and back edges and if you can try a smaller size helmet. Remember the helmet should also cover your forehead.
Of course, protection and comfort aren’t the only two things you want to have in a helmet. You may want to record your first time hitting the slopes or you may want to listen to some tunes. All of this is great but if you are sacrificing on safety, you are better off without them. There are some high-tech helmets that come with built-in speakers and even touch controls on the side to lower the volume or change songs. You can also get one that allows you to change the ear pads depending on how much warmth you want. If you want to wear goggles, make sure you get a helmet that won’t leave too big of a gap and freeze your forehead.