Popular Helmet Brands

When it comes to most gear, brand corresponds to price—not quality. This, however, is not always true for ski helmets. These helmet brands, though expensive, have been working hard to produce consistently high-quality products for years. With in-house researchers and countless studies to support their design and material choices, you can rest assured that these helmets are likely some of the safest options available.

 

Smith—Smith was born in 1965, when Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and bonified ski bum, developed a pair of sealed thermal goggles. They’ve been perfecting safe and secure ski and snowboard headgear for over fifty years, producing advanced products to both fuel adrenaline and protect against accidents.
Giro—Giro has been making high-quality ski helmets for over thirty years. Founder Jim Gentes started the company with a simple mission: to make a safe and secure helmet that was lift, stylish, and well-ventilated. Since its inception, the company has made hundreds of thousands of protective headgear products.

 

Oakley—While many know Oakley as a surf company, they began producing ski equipment very early in the company’s life. They specialize in sunglasses and goggles, but they make a mean, protective, and all-around stylish ski helmet.

 

Sweet Protection—Sweet Protection makes performance helmets, protection gear, and technical clothing for skiing, snowboarding, biking, and whitewater rafting. They specialize in protective gear, spending much of their resources on researching the best, most current technology available. They blend industry-leading innovation with unmatched craftsmanship to create protection strong enough to push people beyond their boundaries.

 

Salomon—Salomon is a leading name in the ski industry, and it’s no surprise that they make a damn good helmet. Their headgear is separated into discipline categories: touring, freeride, on piste, and racing. This nearly guarantees a helmet perfectly suited to your needs.

Do Your Research—Concussions Are Dangerous

As with most ski equipment, not all helmets are created equal. Unlike other pieces of your ski ensemble, purchasing a cheap helmet can dramatically impact your safety. Head injury is the main cause of death or serious injury among skiers and snowboarders, and neglecting to safely cover up can have terrible consequences. The public has taken notice, and helmet use has risen dramatically in the past decade.

 

The popularity of helmets has coincided with them becoming more flatteringly streamlined, lighter, and fashionable. There are hundreds of options to choose from, but there remains a lot of controversy over how well they can actually protect our heads. While research shows that skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets are better protected from head injury, certain helmets—cheap, thin, and light versions–don’t stand up to the most dangerous injuries.

 

A study conducted by l’Hopital de Sacre-Cour de Montreal in Canada found that, though helmets provide significant protection against head injuries like gashes and bruises, they don’t necessarily prevent concussion and other brain injuries. While its normal for helmets to be able to stop sharp objects from piercing the material, they cannot always absorb a certain amount of impact. They are not necessarily designed to protect against the type of accidents that cause concussions, and current safety standards don’t demand it.

 

If you’re in the market for a new helmet, be sure to read about your preferred brand’s safety testing. If there is no mention of concussion or brain injury prevention, it likely hasn’t been tested. To that end, don’t opt for style over protection. Though you may be tempted to go with the sleeker, more flattering design, this might not be the most helpful if you accidentally hit your head while tumbling down the mountain.

Best Helmets of 2018 Round-Up

Each year brings new safety and style innovation to the headgear protection world. The 2017/2018 ski season saw a new generation of original, fresh, and creative ways to incorporate safety and sophistication in the ski and snowboard helmet. If you’ve been putting of replacing a helmet for a few years or want to take advantage of some new technology, here is the industry-leading equipment you should consider. Though these models are quite expensive, buyers should understand the helmets are an investment; you can use them for years, and they are an invaluable part of skiing.

 

Giro Range MIPS–$250

This hybrid in-mold construction weighs just 19 ounces and boasts thirteen adjustable vents. Fit is controlled with a dial system, which brings together a two-piece shell in a durable and semi-flexible design. This flexibility creates unmatched comfort and a low profile. The integrated MIPS—Multi-Directional Impact Protection System—combines an interior foam liner, a low friction liner, and an elastomeric attachment system to reduce rotational forces that may damage the head in case of an accident. With all-day warmth, comfort, and protection, this is one of the best all-around helmets on the market today.

 

Smith Holt–$70

With a bombshell construction, earpads, 14 vents, a self-adjusting fit system, and a dial-controlled adjustment band, this is the best helmet you can buy for under $100. Built for all-season toughness, this helmet is excellent for both on-piste and backcountry skiing. The dial adjustment system guarantees comfort you might not otherwise experience with a budget helmet, and the sleek design avoids the dreaded “mushroom” shape commonly found in budget designs.

 

POC Receptor Bug–$135

This hybrid double shell construction helmet boasts eight adjustable vents, just 19.4 ounces of weight, and a tough, impact-resistant material. It offers exceptional durability with the double shell system, making it a perfect choice for backcountry exploration. Though this helmet doesn’t come with a fit adjuster, the POC Receptor Bug is one of the most durable, well-constructed pieces of protective gear on the market. The outer ABS layer covers the entire helmet, offering award-winning safety.

 

Your Responsibility Code

Mountains and ski resorts often have a code of conduct posted near chairlifts and around the lodge. Unfortunately, many people completely disregard these rules when out on the trails, becoming hazards to both themselves and their fellow riders. If you keep to these seven rules, you are sure to have an unforgettable season!

 

  1. Always stay in control.
  2. Stop in a safe place for you and others.
  3. People downhill have the right of way.
  4. Always look uphill and yield when merging.
  5. Observe signs and warnings.
  6. Keep off closed trails.
  7. Know your personal limits.

Other Ways to Stay Safe on the Slopes

Ski and board safety doesn’t stop with purchasing a helmet. The practice is a recurring and evolving process—one that many skiers, including myself, struggle with. Gear checks should occur throughout the season, and replacing broken or damaged items is essential.

 

A good way to start the season on the right foot? Visit your local shop. Every year, before my inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend trip, I visit my ski and board shop to get my skis sharpened and waxed. This is also a felicitous time to ensure your boots and bindings fit properly. By holding myself accountable at the beginning of the season, I start with a clean slate—rather than discovering a dangerous binding situation halfway through March.

 

Clothing choice is another easy method for staying safe on the slopes. Always dress in layers, and check in with yourself throughout the day. Can you feel your fingers and toes? What about your nose? Consistently keeping track of your body’s response to your surroundings is the best, most efficient way to have a safe ski experience.

 

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