Ski Helmets: Safety is Back in Style. // Helpful Ski Hints

Ski Helmets: Safety is in Style: Lead Image

One of the most critical pieces of gear for skiing is a good helmet. Helmets have not always been synonymous with skiing. When many adults began skiing as children no one wore helmets and many people still do not wear them. They used to be cumbersome, uncomfortable and unfashionable. As ski equipment and technology have progressed alongside the usage of GoPro’s and watching the gnarly lines of Alaska in ski movies, people have been dreaming big and pushing their limits on a regular basis in order to take their skiing to the next level. And a helmet is an essential piece of ski protection and can be the difference between a close call and a serious, life-threatening injury; that can be the side effects from pushing a sport to the next level.

Helmets have become increasingly lightweight, low profile, stylish and comfortable; there is no reason not to wear one. So it is important to take steps to prevent an injury, the most common head injury occurs from falling and hitting the snow or ice. Anyone who skis knows that falling is an accepted part of the learning curve for beginners, and an inevitable event among even the most experienced of skiers and boarders. Helmets can make a difference in reducing or preventing injury from falls or other impacts.

How to Select a Helmet:

When purchasing a helmet, getting the right fit is the key to success. A helmet is not a piece of equipment that you want to purchase too small or too large to grow into. If a helmet doesn’t fit correctly, it may not perform to its ability in the event of an accident. When shopping for a helmet, be sure giv us a call and talk to a skier who can assist you to identify the best helmet and fit. If your helmet is comfortable and looks good it will enhance your skiing experience- establishing a habit of always wearing one. This guide will provide some tips and useful information to consider when selecting a ski helmet!

Finding the Right Fit:

  • The first step is to figure out what size you need. Take measuring tape and measure (in centimeters) around the crown of your head. All helmets offer different sizes and often provide a range of head measurements for each size. Some helmets even come with adjustable sizing so you can dial in your exact fit.
  • Place the helmet on your head to see how it feels and fits. If the padding is too thick or uncomfortable, you may be able to swap those for thinner pads.
  • The helmet should also fall around an inch above your eyebrows and should cover the back of your head sufficiently. If it seems to ride too high on your head, it does not fit properly.
  • If you do purchase an adjustable helmet, make sure that you loosen all adjustments to start, as well as the chin-strap. Then, using the adjustment system behind your head, slowly tighten the helmet until it’s snug.
  • Gently shake your head forward and backward, and from side-to-side to ensure it does not move while on your head.

Smith Dial Fit System:

The Smith Dial Fit System is one of a few different helmet adjustment systems. If your helmet has one of these, ensure that it's fully loosened before initially trying on your helmet.

Other Tips:

  • Ski and snowboard helmets are specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding usage. They’re graded for higher impact collisions than other helmets, so it’s worth it to spend the money on an official ski or snowboard helmet. They’re also significantly warmer than a helmet meant for warm weather sports.
  • Know when to retire a helmet: If you’ve experienced a significant head impact, especially one in which you suffered a concussion, you probably need to retire your helmet. Look for obvious cracks or structural damage to your helmet, but also be aware that some damage may not be visible.
  • Even without an accident, it’s a good idea to replace your helmet every 5 years, due to deterioration of the protective material caused by UV and age.
  • If you already have a pair of goggles, and the brand also makes helmets (many do), then try to get a helmet from the same company. This is typically the best way to ensure a good fit between your goggles and helmet- avoiding any gaps. If you can’t find a helmet by the same brand, then make sure you have them with you when you are trying on new helmets. Goggle compatibility is important, since a gap between the top of your goggles and your helmet is uncomfortable in cold weather and windy conditions.


Written by Megan Davin on 2/3/15