How to Buy Ski / Snowboard Helmets

Ski and snowboard helmets are very important because they keep you warm while preventing serious and traumatic head injuries. Your head is the most important part of your body, so purchasing a helmet that fits properly should not be taken lightly. This guide will illustrate the differences among the many types of ski and snowboard helmets available at The Ski Bum and help you pick the one that suits your needs.

Ski and Snowboard Helmet Size and Fit

To ensure that you are maximizing the safety and effectiveness of your helmet, you first must figure out your precise head size. Grab a cloth measuring tape, and wrap it around your forehead. Hold the tape tight, and where it overlaps is your helmet size. Be sure to measure in centimeters, as this is standard unit for ski helmets.

It is important that your helmet is snug, so do not oversize. Extra space between your head and the helmet can actually be dangerous, as whiplash can cause the helmet to bang your head violently. On the other hand, if your helmet is too tight it will be extremely uncomfortable and you will have a squeezing feeling in your head. If you do not buy the proper size, odds are you will not use your helmet and it will go to waste.

Ski and Snowboard Helmet Design Types

The inside of your helmet is made out of expanded polystyrene (EPS), a lightweight and durable foam liner that absorbs the shock upon impact to reduce brain injuries.

The outer section of the helmet, the shell, is made out of a hard plastic that protects your head against hard and sharp objects if you fall. There are a few different options when looking at helmet types:

  1. In-Mold Shells - This ultra-lightweight design is a very thin outer shell made out of a hard plastic material. The EPS and the shell is joined in a single molding process, providing you with a sleek and stylish helmet that is good for venting.
  2. Hard Shell ABS - This helmet is highly durable and one of the safest choices you can make. The EPS foam is bonded to an incredibly hard ABS plastic shell. These are typically heavier and offer less in terms of venting.
  3. Hybrid Shells - The hybrid shell helps limit the weight of the hard shell by placing the ABS plastic only on potentially high impact areas of the helmet. The hybrid offers you the comfort of the in-mold shell with the safety of the hard shell.

As you can see, there are a few customizable options to choose from. If you are a beginner, it may be smart to select a helmet that offers the most protection. Advanced skiers may prefer a helmet that is light and sleek, as they are typically safer skiers and do not want to be held back by the bulky weight of in-mold shells.

Helmet Venting

As you are skiing, your helmet will trap heat on the top of your head. To prevent you from becoming overheated, helmets have venting systems that make sure you are always comfortable while on the mountain.

  1. Fixed Venting - This venting system contains pre-placed holes that allow the air to escape. This is the simplest and also the cheapest venting system, but for some skiers this is all you need.
  2. Plug Venting - This option has more holes on the top than the fixed helmets, but the holes are covered by plugs. The skier or snowboarder can take off the helmet and manually remove the plugs to control how much heat you want to let out. However, it can get tiresome having to constantly take of your helmet in order to control the ventilation.
  3. Active Venting - This system also has many holes for ventilation, but it is equipped with an adjustable sliding mechanism that opens and closes the holes without having to remove your helmet. There are usually a few adjustable notches, allowing you easily control the heat.

Once again, you have many different venting options to choose from with The Ski Bum. Be sure you choose what you need, as active venting is simply a luxury of some skiers, while a necessity for others.

Safety Certifications

ASTM Certification is the American safety standard that helmets must meet in order to be sold in the States.

CE Certification is the European standardization for ski and snowboard helmets.

When purchasing with The Ski Bum, you will often see both of these certifications attached to a helmet. Conversely, you may only see the ASTM certification listed if it does not meet European standards. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the European safety testing model is just simply different than the American model.

With the help of this guide, you should be ready to purchase your new helmet from The Ski Bum. Use the tips from above and you will have no problem finding a comfortable, safe, and stylish helmet that will make your experience more enjoyable. With a good helmet, you are free to have a great time skiing or snowboarding knowing that you will be warm and protected.