Are you like me? Did you grow up riding bikes, skateboarding, and skiing or snowboarding without a helmet? Did you think it was uncool to wear a helmet? That all the cool kids didn’t have to wear helmets? If so, then you and me are a lot alike.
But that doesn’t mean that we are the sharpest tool in the shed. Or maybe that means our sharpness has had to increase over the years. Because I will not go snowboarding without my snowboarding helmet anymore. And I actually feel a little naked out on the slopes if I don’t have my helmet on.
Let’s go over some of the reasons why we need helmets, what kinds you can look for, different styles and how to go about finding the perfect home for your dome while riding.
Why do you need a helmet?
This should be pretty obvious, but just in case you need some convincing, check out the below head injury stats and facts for snowboarders.
- Head injuries are the #1 cause of death or serious injury among skiers and snowboarders.
- Snowboarders have a 50% higher rate of head and neck injuries compared to skiers.
- Head injuries count for up to 20% of all skiing or snowboarding injuries per year in North America.
- According to studies, use of helmets while skiing or snowboarding clearly decreases the risk and severity of head injuries compared to those that did not use a helmet.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about protection. While catastrophic injuries can still happen while wearing a helmet, and they ultimately can not protect you from all head injuries, it is a good idea to wear on while riding. It could save your life. Or make a serious fall and head shot not as serious as it would have been without wearing the helmet.
Different kinds of helmets – not all are created equal
When you are thinking about which helmet you want to purchase, there are a few things I think you should know first beforehand so you can decide which fits you the best.
First is which type of shell do you want?
The full hard shell is the first one we will go over here. A full hard shell is going to be a little heavier than its counterparts. It comes complete with non removable ear covers and soft interior but little to no vents.
Next is the soft half shell. They have soft flexible ears and are very comfortable. They are warmer than a full shell. You can remove the ear coverings if you want to, making it easier to hear better while wearing this helmet.
Next let’s talk construction
Hard shell. It has a harder shell with a softer interior and is a two piece system. There are not many options with these as far as modifications and vents. Vents are as is and cannot be adjusted.
Hybrid. Combines an in mold and hard shell together. Has a sort of exoskeleton with a soft in mold liner. They are lighter than the hard shell helmet, but still offering the protection of a hard shell.
In Mold helmet. Has a softer exterior with foam molded into the helmet. Adjustable vents that can be changed on the fly for those warmer days out on the mountain. Might not be as impact resistant, but liners absorb impact of fall better than hard shell.
Multiple impact helmet vs. single impact helmet
A Multiple impact helmet would be one that is able to take multiple hits before you will need to replace it. This means that you could have more than one high impact fall and it should still protect your head. However, this is not really realistic.
Although some helmets that go further than others in regard to liners, you’d want to check out your helmet after a high impact fall to make sure its not cracked or broken.
Single impact helmets are what the snowboard safety standards require. The foam on the inside is designed to crush in a high impact fall, so once your protection is crushed, you won’t have the same protection as before the fall.
If this happens, it’s time to say thank you to that helmet for doing its job and then move on to purchasing a new one before getting back out there to ride another day.
Easy style it
As with most areas of snowboarding, your personal style will impact which direction you go with your helmet choice. There are a few different style selections for you to make.
1. First we have the Ski type helmet with brands like Giro or Smith that comes with more vents and ways to connect jaw guards for ski racing.
2. Next is the traditional looking snowboard helmet. This has a smooth profile with little to no vents or ear guards and is shaped like a dome. Burton, Bern, and other brands have helmets that fit this profile.
3. Helmet with a bill. This is a standard helmet but has a little style added to it by adding a brim on the front. It looks like a baseball cap with a bill on it. Bern, Smith, and Burton make versions with these styles as well!
Make sure it fits
I probably should have put this up at towards the front of this article, because it is super important! The one thing you need to make sure of is that the helmet fits. If its too tight, it will be very uncomfortable on your head to ride in. And if it’s too big, it won’t protect you the way it should.
When making an in person helmet purchase, you may want to bring your goggles and beanie hat with you. That way you can create the same set up that you will be wearing up on the hill.
If you are ordering online and getting it sent to you, look at the size chart that is almost always provided online to determine which size fits you.
Then whenever you can, either in the store or when it gets to you, put it on and shake your head around. If its too tight, you will feel pressure or pinching where you don’t want it. If it’s took loose, it will shake around like crazy and won’t stay where you want it. You should roughly have about one finger width that can fit between the helmet and your head for it to be right.
The wrap up
So there you have it. Once you decide it’s a good idea to wear a helmet…and I think you should decide that…hopefully this will help you on your quest for a great dome covering.
And with more and more people opting to wear head protection while out skiing or snowboarding, you’ll be one of the cool kids by joining in.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. I love interacting with my website visitors! Otherwise, I’ll see you out on the mountain.
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