Let’s talk helmets!

Ski and snowboard helmets gain in popularity every year and for good reasons! Helmets are lightweight, warm, functional, stylish and they protect your head! A ski or snowboard helmet is something you hope you never test to see if it works but glad you have it if an accident does happen.
A record number of ski and snowboard helmet sales occurred following the publicized death of actress Natasha Richardson who received a head injury when she fell during a lesson on a beginner slope. She continued to ski a few runs but wasn’t feeling well. About 8 hours later, she died of a head trauma. She was not wearing a helmet. Now if when you are on the slopes you would feel out of place if you were not wearing a helmet.
Many of us think helmets are for advanced skiers and boarders who go into the trees or take hard falls. But in reality, head injuries happen to beginners and intermediates just as often as we saw with Natasha. You don’t fall you say! Many who receive head injuries get them in a collision caused by someone else. The truth is, you don’t plan on to fall or have a collision, but when it happens, you want protection!
What should you look for in a helmet?

The Life of a Helmet

At the Ski and Snowboard Snow Show in Denver ski shop buyers see all next years products and get a wealth of knowledge on product features. While getting a product presentation, helmet manufactures are saying you should replace your helmet every 5 – 7 seasons.
When I first heard this, I thought it was just their way of creating sales. So I started asking “Why replace your helmet every 5 – 7 years?”

K2 Thrive ski helmet or snowboard helmet is has a hard shell construction with a low profile design.
K2 Thrive Ski Helmet 

Seems manufactures found that an impact is not the only reason your helmet breaks down. What they found is normal use and travel causes stress cracks and problems. Think about it, when your helmet is in your travel bag, or attached to your back pack, it gets bounced around a lot and many times hits something hard. It’s this pounding that is creating stress cracks and slowly breaking down the integrity of your helmet.

Simple use is also breaking it down. Have you taken off your helmet at lunch and tossed it on the table? What about dropping your boot bag on the floor while your helmet is inside?

The reason you get a helmet is to protect your head in case of a collision or impact so it only makes sense to have a helmet that will protect your head properly. So now you should consider replacing your helmet every 5 – 7 years.

Sizing a Helmet

Sizing– Helmets come in different shapes and sizes. Some are designed for round shaped heads, some for oval shaped heads. It’s best to try one on. But some helmets have adjustable internal headbands so the hard shell doesn’t have to fit your head exactly. Either way, a helmet should fit snug. When you wear your helmet, the front should be just above your eyebrows. Also keep in mind you may be wearing a headliner.

  1. Use a soft measure tape for best results.
  2. Measure around your head, just above the eyebrows staying parallel to the floor.
  3. If you wear a headliner, measure with it on.
  4. If you’re between sizes, go to the larger size.

What is the difference between
a ski and snowboard helmet?

The answer: nothing except personal taste in styling. Any helmet can be used for skiing or snowboarding.

Helmet Features

Audio– Not real important but nice to have. Some helmets have audio standard and some can have it added afterwards. It will cost a little less when it’s included.
Vents– Important to some, very important to others. Either way, you should have some vents to let out heat and moisture. Vents tend to be the biggest cost factor. The more elaborate the vent system, the more expensive the helmet. Some helmets have passive vents (NO adjustments), some have pull out plugs, some have a slide control and some have dual slide controls. Either way, adjustable vents are very nice to have.
Protection– When helmets first came out around 10-15 years ago, some were not certified for impacts. But almost all helmets above $30.00 are certified. Keep in mind, if you take a hit to the head, inspect your helmet carefully. If you see a crack, it means your helmet did its job but won’t be able to do it again so it would need to be replaced.

SIZES Giro Kid’s Helmets Giro Adult Helmets Atomic Helmets K2 Helmets Salomon Helmets
49 – 52cm
19.25 – 20.5 in.
55 – 55.5cm
20.5 – 21.75 in.
SMALL 52 – 55.5 cm
20.5 – 21.75 in.
53 – 56 cm
21.25 – 22.75 in.
51 – 55 cm
20 – 22.5 in.
53 – 56 cm
21.75 – 23.25 in.
MEDIUM 55.5 – 59 cm
21.75 – 23 in.
56 -59 cm
22.75 – 23.25 in.
55 – 59 cm
22.5 – 23.25 in.
56 – 59 cm
22.75 – 23.25 in.
LARGE 59 – 62.5
23 – 24.25 in.
59 – 62 cm
23.25 – 24.25 in.
58 – 61 cm
23 – 24 in.
59 – 62 cm
23.25 – 24.25 in.
62.5 – 65 cm
24.5 – 25.5 in.
58 – 61 cm
23 – 24 in.

End of Season Sales are the best save on a ski or snowboard helmet.

Rick Pasturczak
Alpine Accessories


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