Skiing is considered one of the most exciting snow-related activities; the activity is also turned into a sport due to its popularity. The best thing about the sport is that extra machinery is not required. All you need is ample snow, a good slope, and, most importantly, the skiing board handles and a good-quality skiing helmet.
Skiing requires fast reflexes, and the person participating needs to be spatially aware. Only people not paying attention to the terrain are prone to get injured. But despite being extra cautious, there are chances of an accident, which is why one should always wear protective gear while skiing.
Head-related injuries in Skiing:
Even though skiing is pretty safe compared to other thrill-seeking adventure activities, it is not wise to leave the head exposed, as that could only lead to it being open to uncertainties constantly involved in natural outings like a snow trail.
Small cuts and bruises from branches are a very common phenomenon in skiing, but things get out of hand when severe hits take place and result in serious concussions, fractures of the skull, or even death. According to a study conducted on the deaths taking place in snow sports, it was found out that head injuries were leading to 60 % of the deaths.
Importance and need of helmets in Skiing:
Most of the problems mentioned above can be solved by using good-quality helmets, which could help prevent major and minor head-related injuries in the sport. People who need to wear helmets may not be there if one is going for a recreational slide on the resort, but this is not entirely correct. The chances of an injury can be anywhere.
With that being said, it is not a far-fetched statement to make that the need to don a skiing helmet is present many more times in the sport because the difficulty and the route are much more complicated and tougher, so any athlete would most certainly need to protect themselves by wearing in arguably the most important piece of safety equipment.
Finding the best ski helmets:
The skiing helmets are an integral part of the overall gear of this sport. The helmet one is looking to buy must have a certification of standard, guaranteeing the wearer’s quality and safety.
The main components one should check before buying a helmet are as follows;
- The helmet’s outer shell is made of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastics, the majority of the helmets. It can provide protection against sharp objects, abrasions, and cuts. Still, more importantly, they help in distributing the impact from one portion to the entire helmet, thereby reducing the pressure from one area.
- Inner liner – The inner part of the helmet is made from EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam. The main purpose of this component is to absorb the impact to the best it can. The depression felt on the inside is what takes care of the head.
Anytime a helmet has taken a serious fall, it must always be replaced immediately without any delay because even if it looks good on the exterior and is sans any visible damage, there are chances of it being damaged on the inside and having invisible cracks which on any next impact would most definitely shatter and while doing so would decrease the protection to the head as well.
Types of Ski helmets:
There are numerous types of ski helmets available on the market, but each categorization differs in some way. Ski helmets based on the construction method used;
- In-mold helmet – These helmets are made by attaching the shell and the shock-absorbing foam in a single molding process. The weight of these helmets is light, and they offer a sleek look.
- Injection-molded helmets – In these types of helmets, the EPS foam is bonded separately with the shell, often made from ABS plastics. These helmets offer a higher level of durability on a day in day out basis.
Then comes the types of helmets based on the impact. This category also contains two types of helmets, namely;
- Multiple Impact Ski helmets – These helmets are built with the intention of being able to withstand numerous hits and still keep on going. But an important factor to remember is that they need to be checked and tested after every usage, and if they have sustained a certain number of hits, they must be replaced.
- Single Impact Ski helmets – These helmets are built with the intention of being replaced after every major hit they take, irrespective of whether visible damage appears or not on the helmet.
Finally, the most important categorization of ski helmets is on the basis of the material used for the manufacturing of these helmets;
- EPS – They are lightweight and low profile. Although not meant for multiple uses, they still meet industry standards. They have a liner present in them which is intended to break on high-intensity impact.
- SXP – SXP stands for Surface Activated Expanded Polypropylene. They are built to sustain multiple impacts and are meant to last a long time. These are for those who are looking to go hard and aggressive.
- SEPP – SEPP stands for Super Expanded Polypropylene. These are meant to absorb the impact and can be used repeatedly. Although they are built with liners, the capacity of impact absorption short is higher, meaning they will break too after several impacts.
- Hard Hat Brock Foam – These are the type of helmets that are meant for low-risk skiing. These foams are soft and can take on shocks quite well, but they are not certified for safety, so one needs to be wary of this before getting these.
Things to keep in mind:
Before getting oneself a ski helmet, it is important to keep the following key points in mind;
- Measure for your size – If there happens to be an REI store nearby, then it is smart to get your measurements done before buying the helmet because, in this way, one can be sure of what size will fit.
- Check the fit – The fitting on the helmet should be just about right. Neither too loose for it to come off during high-velocity movement or intense impact nor too tight that the blood circulation or air passage is blocked.
- No gap between goggles and the helmets – Make sure that there is no gap between the google one is wearing and the helmet because this will leave a vital portion of the head exposed to injury threats.
- Chinstraps – The strap should fit compactly with the throat in a way that it does not come off unless unfastened.
- Certifications for safety – The helmet one is buying must have a safety certification. Two major certificates go by the names ASTM F2040 and CE EN1077. The former is a common type of certification for snow helmets, and it is prevalent in the USA; it can be found on the inside of the helmet in the form of a sticker. The latter is a European certification that also ensures quality, but it is not widely used in the USA.
Additional features one can look for:
It is understandable that the primary feature of helmets is to protect the people taking part in skiing. Still, many additional features are associated with the helmets, which can enhance the overall skiing experience many folds. Some of the prominent features include – vents which aid in air circulation and keep the temperature inside regulated; camera mounts to record the event and relive it later whenever one wishes to; audio compatibility for those who like listening to music while skiing; hard cases for skiers who often travel; and finally goggle compatibility for un-interfered vision.
Always look for advancements:
While choosing a ski helmet, make sure they have proper certification of safety, it is best to have both ASTM and CE EN certification, but since not all REI stores have both, it is wiser to go with ASTM on the American snow. The fitting must be perfect, and the strap must be compact. New technologies are constantly being developed, so check on them beforehand; for instance, in the D30 mold, this material hardens rapidly to absorb shock, disperses it immediately, and is rather comfortable to wear.
Then there are helmets coming with MIPS technology, Multi-directional Impact Protection System. This technology uses a low-friction layer of protection inside the helmet, which the other shell removes after the impact. The result is a reduction and redirection of the impact.
In the end, it could be summarized that in sports such as skiing, there is always a possibility of injury, and when it is to the head, it can be a real problem; therefore, getting a ski helmet is a no-brainer. While opting for a ski helmet, make sure that the quality is top-notch and that there is room for complacency in the helmet. It could very well decide the extent of an injury if it were to happen, so only select a ski helmet that meets all the standards on every front presentable.