HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT HELMET
Why wear a helmet?
Size and fit
MEASURE YOUR HEAD
Using a soft tape measure, wrap it around your head just above your eyebrows and ears, roughly in the middle of your forehead.
Most helmets are measured in centimetres, so if possible use a soft measuring tap with centimetre increments. If you don’t have one, use a piece of string and wrap it around your head and then measure the string.
Ideally, you will want your measurement to be in the middle of a size bracket. If you are on the cusp of the upper measurement, we recommend going up a size.
Helmets come with different adjustment systems to allow you to tailor the fit to your head shape. Below we cover some of the most common adjustment system to help you discover which is best for you.
A lightweight and secure dial in the neck area gives you micro-adjustability to ensure a comfortable and snug fit. This system is easy to adjust on the slopes with just one hand.
IN FORM FIT SYSTEM
Like the previous system, this offers dialled adjustability, tightening or loosening the helmet’s fit, including vertical tuning.
Removable pads are the most common and cheapest fit system. You can add or take away the thickness in the interior of your helmet, so is ideal for anyone wanting to ski or snowboard with a hat underneath.
A low-profile headband attaches to the inside of your helmet allowing you to fine tune the fit of your helmet by adding or decreasing air at the touch of a button.
The construction of most skiing and snowboarding helmets means they’re designed for a single large impact. This means if you do suffer an impact that causes the hard foam interior to collapse or crack, you need to replace your helmet as it will no longer be safe. Not all serious impacts are visible from the outside of the helmet, so make sure you always check the interior.
In-moulded helmets use a thin, hard plastic outer shell moulded to a softer EPS foam liner to absorb shock. This helmet is lightweight and will give you less rebound on impact as the interior collapses.
HARD SHELL ABS
ABS constructed helmets use a thick, tough ABS plastic shell that is pre-formed and glued onto a pre-moulded hard foam interior and liner to offer good protection at budget friendly prices.
Soft shell helmets are designed for less intense impacts but can withstand more of them using two foam densities; a softer foam against your head and a harder foam against the outer shell. These helmets aren’t always certified for single large impacts so be sure to check before you buy.
Nearly all helmets will offer some form of open venting system built into the design allowing heat and moisture to escape.
Some manufacturers offer adjustable venting systems giving you the ability to open or close the vents to suit the weather conditions. These systems can be plugs, sliding mechanisms, or push buttons and are down to personal preference.
Features to consider
Ear Pads are a great feature to keep your ears nice and warm, however it is easy to overheat when in a helmet. Some helmets come with removable ear pads for versatility, as well as a style option.
MOISTURE WICKING FABRICS
Moisture wicking fabrics are sometimes used in helmets to help prevent odours. This removable and washable fabric increases the comfort of the helmet, by wicking the sweat away from the skin.
Wired audio systems can be found in a handful of helmets. The system in integrated into the helmets ear pads, avoiding the annoying and unpleasant pressure from headphones under earpads.
A peak styled helmet features a solid brim, similar to a cap. The brim is used to prevent snow and sun from getting to your face.
The chin strap on your helmet should be comfortable, as well as easy to get on and off. Some manufactures have incorporated magnetic clips to help with adjustments when wearing gloves, it is import to pick the clip style you are most comfortable with.
Full shell helmets provide full coverage and help block out harsh weather conditions. Most frequently kids, racers, and halfpipe riders will wear full shell helmets.
These are the most popular style of helmet, often incorporating soft ear padding for protection and comfort.
Full face helmets are like motorcycle helmets, constructed as a solid one-piece including a jaw guard. These offer the most protecting but at a cost to weight and comfort. They're most commonly worn by racers and big-mountain skiers.
Skiing and snowboarding helmets must comply with one of three standard systems:
- Common European Norm (CEN or sometimes EN) - this is the European ski helmet standard. CEN 1077 was issued in 1996 which requires helmets to be tested and pass blunt impact protection, sharp and pointed object penetration, chin strap resistance, area of coverage, field of vision and clearance between the head and shell.
- The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), all helmets must show that they have reached standard F2040 which requires helmets to pass positional stability (roll off) and strength retention tests.
- Snell Memorial Foundation, Snell RS-98 - the most stringent helmet safety standard.