The Dangers of Snowboarding or Skiing Without a Helmet
Everyone will tell you that it is important to make sure that you have a helmet on when you are doing various types of dangerous activities where head injuries can occur. This includes doing things like riding a motorcycle or a bicycle. However, it is just as important to make sure that you keep your head protected when you are out and skiing. The snow is not as soft as it might look, and when you take a tumble – and everyone does – there is a risk of serious injury.
You could hit hard packed snow, a rock or log that’s beneath the snow, or you could crash into trees or other skiers. Regardless of what it is that causes the crash or accident, you have to be as protected as possible. Having one of the best snowboard helmets, such as those on the list above, will help to keep you much safer.
As more and more people who ski and snowboard start to wear helmets when they are out and having fun, it has helped to reduce the severity of the injuries that are being reported.
Even though it can lower the severity of the injuries, the helmets are not required at ski resorts. The reasoning for this is that the helmets will not always completely prevent a head injury. Yet, the important takeaway should be that the helmets will reduce how serious the injury is, which means that is can often be easier to recover.
Therefore, it is good practice to wear a helmet no matter what type of snow sport you or your kids might be enjoying. Get into the habit, stay alert on the slopes, and do your best to avoid crashes and injuries. When they do happen, though, you will likely be much happier that you and your kids have on helmets.
Types of Helmet Construction
There are a number of different types of helmet construction for snowboard helmets. However, they can typically be broken down into three different styles or categories when you strip away some of the manufacturer’s marketing words. There are ABS helmets, which tend to be highly durable, in-mold helmets which will have the lightest weight, and hybrid in-mold helmets that offer some of the benefits of the other two categories.
The ABS helmets will have a hard plastic outer shell, and the foam liner is usually glued to the inside, although it could also be removable. This is a tough helmet, but it does tend to be a little heavier than the other helmet options. The in-mold and hybrid options tend to be options for helmets that are in the mid to high-range. In addition to being lighter in weight, they also often have better ventilation. However, the quality of the venting will ultimately be determined by the model and brand. High-end models will generally have the best ventilation.
There are two types of certifications for snowboard and ski helmets. ASTM F2040 is the most common type, and it is a U.S. based standard for nonmotorized recreational snow sports. CE EN1077 is a European certification. Most helmets will have the CE EN1077 certification or both of the certifications.
Understanding More About Ventilation
Speaking of the ventilation, it pays to know a bit more about the types of ventilation that tend to be available with a ski or snowboard helmet. You will want to look at the number of the vents that are available, which can start to give you an idea of just how much ventilation is available through the helmet. You should also learn more about the design and the adjustability of the ventilation.
Many of the snowboard helmets that are available today will have adjustable vents. This means that they can be opened and closed. This lets you have more control over the airflow and the temperature. While static vents are useful, and they are found in many of the more affordable helmets, you will find that they simply do not give you as much control. The best-designed vents will be able to pull in cool air and push away moisture and heat out of the back. As you have seen from the list, there are even helmets that are able to help ensure your goggles do not get fogged up.
Always Choose a Comfortable Helmet
Something else that you will want to consider when you are choosing your helmet is the overall comfort. The ventilation is certainly a part of the comfort, but it is not all you have to think about. You always want to be sure that the helmet has a quality liner inside. It needs to be comfortable, and this is one of the areas where you do not want to skimp. A quality liner will be comfortable for you to wear all day long on the mountain. If you have a low-quality budget liner, it is going to end up becoming sore after a while.
In addition to a comfortable liner, you want to be sure that you choose a helmet that has a comfortable strap for your chin, as well. If your chin is going to be touching the buckle, whether it is metal or plastic, it is not going to be comfortable. This is especially true after being out in the snow for hours on end.
You should not be worried about your comfort levels because of your helmet when you are skiing and snowboarding. Instead, you will want to make sure that you choose a snowboard helmet that will be able to provide you with hours and hours of warm, comfortable wear.
How to Make Sure You Get the Right Fit
One of the most important parts of choosing your snowboard helmet is making sure that you get the right size. If you have a helmet that’s too small, it will be uncomfortable, or it might not fit at all. If you have a helmet that is too large, your head will essentially be swimming in it, which will not provide you with the protection that you will need.
Therefore, you will want to make sure that you measure for your size. You can then check the available sizes on the helmets that interest you to make sure you are getting one that will fit properly. When you take your size measurement, you will want to use a tape measure and position it about one inch above the eyebrows. Measure around the part of your head that is the largest. Take several of the same measurement to make sure you are getting a consistent number. You might even want to have someone else take the measurement for you instead.
When you are looking at the available sizes, if you find that you are close to the next size up, it is a better idea to get a larger size. The helmets are generally adjustable, which means you will be able to tighten it a bit to get the ideal fit. A good helmet is going to feel snug on your head, but it will not feel tight. When you put on the helmet, shake your head back and forth. If it moves, it is too loose. In addition, there should not be any gap between your goggles and the helmet.
When you are making your helmet choice, one of the other factors that are sure to enter your mind is the look of the helmet. While it will not likely be the most important factor, it will still be something to consider. You want a helmet that is safe and comfortable first and foremost, but you also do not want to look like a bobblehead when you are out on the slopes.
Fortunately, you will have seen by now that there are many different styles of high-quality helmets that are available. They are even available in different colors and with different designs, so everyone should be able to find something that will work for their needs. Whether they want a simple black helmet, lime green or pink helmet, or anything in between, there are choices readily available.
Do You Need Other Accessories?
When you are buying your snowboard helmet, you might want to consider whether you need to have any other types of accessories to go along with it. For example, none of the snowboarding helmets on the list come with build in audio systems. Even though they are not snowboarding helmets with speakers, it does not mean that you can’t enjoy some audio with your helmet. It is often possible to use Bluetooth headphones with helmets. You might want to make sure that the helmet you are considering has enough space for the earbuds. There are even helmets that can work with audio systems that you can buy separately, such as the Smith Optics option on the list above.
One of the other things you will want to consider when you are choosing your accessories is whether you want to have a camera mount or not. These mounts will often be able to affix to different types of helmets today, so you can record your exploits on the slopes. The videos that you can take once you have a quality camera mount on the helmet can be a lot of fun whether you are only using them for your own entertainment, or you are putting them up online.
You might also want to consider whether you need to have a case for your helmet. If you will be doing any traveling to go skiing and snowboarding, then you will certainly want to consider a hard case for the helmet. It will help to keep it in shape, and to ensure that it stays looking great.
When Should You Replace a Snowboard or Ski Helmet?
One of the questions that many people ask regarding their ski and snowboard helmet is how often they will need to replace them. There is no single answer to this question, unfortunately. That’s because there are different factors that can go into the equation. You have to think about how often the helmet is used, how well you have been taking care of the helmet, and whether you have been in an accident.
As a general rule of thumb, most people will want to replace their snowboard helmet every two to three years. Of course, if you ski often, you will want to replace it sooner. If you do not get out to ski very much, you might not need to replace it for four years. However, if your helmet has suffered any type of damage, it needs to be replaced. You do not want to take a risk with this. By keeping your helmet out of UV light, so it doesn’t sustain UV damage, and by keeping it in a case whenever it is not in use, you can mitigate any damage happening to the helmet when you aren’t using it.
You may be interested in our article on best ski racks.
Find the Right Snowboard Helmet for Your Needs
Now that you have a nice list of great snowboarding helmets from which you can choose for your boarding and skiing needs, it should be easier to choose one that will work for you. Get a quality helmet, make sure it fits, and be sure to wear it whenever you are out on the slopes. It could be the difference between a funny story about a fall and a serious injury.