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.

 

The Fun Stuff: How to Personalize Your Helmet

Once you’ve determined the type of helmet that works best for you, consider the ways in which you would like to use your new piece of equipment. Though created for safety, helmets provide the opportunity for added warmth and media. Below is a list of helmet personalization methods:

 

Liner: Every seasoned skier and boarder knows the drastic temperature changes that may occur throughout the season, month, or day. Finding a helmet with detachable pads and drop liners will allow you to customize the amount of warmth you need.

 

Vents: Similar to detachable liner, vents allow you to control the helmet’s internal temperature. Adjustable vents allow you to cool down on the go, while removable plugs require stopping to adjust airflow.

 

Audio: An increasing number of skiers and boarders listen to music while out on the trails. If your helmet has ear pads and additional liner, squeezing headphones into your ears may become difficult. If this is the case, consider purchasing a helmet with built-in speakers. This is also perfect for those who ride in large groups, as you can often connect both cell phones and 2-way radios to your helmet’s speakers.

 

Camera: Park rats and speed demons are turning to GoPro and other small cameras to capture their stunts. As a result, many helmets now have built-in camera mounts. By freeing your hands from cameras and cell phones, a camera mount will help produce a smooth and seamless video.

 

Goggles: Protecting your head is necessary, but protecting your eyes is also important. While some riders prefer sunglasses, goggles protect against sun damage, wind, and debris. However, this equipment is rendered useless if not properly secured, and—as a result—finding a goggle-compatible helmet is essential.

 

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