Stay safe: 5 things to consider when choosing a ski helmet

March 1, 2015

Ski-related head injuries are down thanks to advances in technology. To help youstay safe, here are five things to consider when choosing a ski helmet.
Ski-related head injuries are down thanks to advancements in helmet technology.In the late 1990’s, following the deaths of a few high-profile celebrities and athletes, helmet usage began to rise and manufacturers put more effort into improving performance. Today, there’s a wide range of helmets for skiers of all skill levels. Shopping for a ski helmet this year? Consider these five aspects before making your selection.

Stay safe: 5 things to consider when choosing a ski helmet

1. Safety certification

The two certification standards for ski helmets are ASTM and CE. ASTM is the standard requirement to permit sale in North America. On a ski trip in, say, the Alps? CE is for the European market. Avoid helmets that don't include one of these certifications.

2. Styles

Select a helmet that suits your skiing lifestyle. There are three basic styles:

  • If you ski fast or like doing tricks, a full-shell helmet is completely enclosed and offers complete facial coverage, blocking wind and precipitation.
  • The short shell or half shell is perfect for the casual skier and also offers full head protection, but does not provide as much facial protection from the elements.
  • Competition helmets are ideal for more advanced skiers competing at very high speeds. These feature densely padded liners, structured open ear zones inside the shell, and add-on jaw pieces for speed and slalom events.

3. Construction components

Ski helmets should have three basic construction components:

  • The outer shell of the helmet should be made of a thin but very hard material like acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or other high-impact plastics.
  • The inner protective liner should be made of a foam material such as expanded polystyrene (EPS), which will absorb most of the impact.
  • The helmet should also have some extra fabric liner for comfort and fit.

4. Ventilation systems

Most ski helmets will have the option of a ventilation system, which is one of the most important elements to consider when choosing a ski helmet.

  • Fixed vents are located on the helmet and are always left open to allow airflow to continuously pass through the helmet.
  • Adjustable vents have a switch that allows you to open and close the vents to regulate temperature.
  • Many helmets have venting directly on the forehead or brow area that keeps air flowing over the face foam of your goggles in order to prevent your goggles from fogging up.

5. Bells and whistles

Many ski helmet lines have accessories built-in or have the option to add accessories. The most popular accessories are in-helmet wireless technology audio systems.

  • For those looking to capture some of the action digitally, many helmets incorporate a camera-compatible design to easily add or remove the camera.

For a safe and enjoyable skiing experience, consider these aspects when purchasing your next helmet.

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