Some sports struggle to encourage their enthusiasts to protect their noggins, not skiing. Still, it’s important to know how to buy a ski helmet – even if wearing one is a no-brainer for many skiers.
With the gnarliest free-riders and most dedicated park-jibbers leading the way, skiers tend to appreciate, more than most, that if your head comes into contact with ice, rock or another person, it hurts!
From simple and functional designs, to stylish patterns, faux-fur linings and in-built sound systems, the choice and range of helmets on the market is ever evolving. But whether it’s purely practical, or to fulfil a fashion statement, when buying a new helmet, it’s important to make sure it’s up to the job. Here’s how!
Helmet size is usually measured in centimetres and refers to the circumference of your head. To find out your size, wrap a tape measure around your head, just above your ears.
A helmet should feel snug but not uncomfortably tight. Ideally, it should sit just above your eyebrows, one that rises up any higher will probably be too small and if slides down towards your eyes, it’s too big.
Check that there are no gaps that might cause the helmet to bang or rub and make sure that the chinstrap stays in place, without restricting your ability to move your jaw. If you think you’ve found a good fit, have a go at shaking your head about a bit to check that it doesn’t shift about and that the ear pads stay over your ears.
Always take goggles on skiing holidays and most definitely take them with you when trying on a helmet to make sure that you don’t have to waste your money on a new pair. For a good fit, there should be a neat seal between your goggles and helmet at the front you shouldn’t be able to see any skin here.
Worn over the top of your helmet, your goggles should sit comfortably on your face, the strap needs to have plenty of adjustment in it and you should be able to rest your goggles on the front of your helmet when you’re not wearing them.
Ski helmets work by allowing the hard outer shell to protect your head from knocks and scrapes, whilst the inner foam-liner absorbs the impact. All ski helmets should have been tested and certified for aspects such as their strength, ability to absorb impact and performance under different temperatures.
All reputable companies who offer equipment hire as part of their skiing holidays will have kitemarked or regulation safety standard equipment.
Check that the helmet you’re buying carries a certification such as CE (Central European), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) or Snell RS-98 (Snell Memorial Foundation).
For more skiing guides and blogs:, check out: The 10 best ski holidays in Italy / The best ski boots of 2012 / Best Ski Touring Skis: A buyer’s guide /10 Reasons to Ski in Japan this Winter / Training for ski fitness – expert tips from Olympic physio
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