Wearing a helmet on the slopes is all about using your head. After all, you’d wear a helmet on a motorcycle or a mountain bike, and you’d wear a helmet if you were a race car driver or a mountain climber, so why wouldn’t you protect your head as a skier or snowboarder?
At a time when more aggressive styles of skiing and snowboarding are emerging, wearing a helmet has never made so much sense. New ski and snowboard equipment is loads of fun, and so are halfpipes, terrain parks and backcountry ski trails. But all of those kinds of thrills can put skiers and snowboarders in precarious positions. Accidents can and do happen.
How to Choose a Helmet
- The only way a helmet can help you is if it fits your head properly:
- A helmet should feel snug, but not painfully uncomfortable.
- It should fit the contour of the head, have no air pockets and cover your forehead.
- It shouldn’t have room to jiggle from front-to-back or side-to-side.
- Don’t buy a helmet for your kids with the idea they’ll grow into it.
“It’s important to tell snow sports enthusiasts that helmets are not a guarantee of safety. Ski- and snowboard-specific helmets are consistent with the technology associated with every other piece of performance equipment that we use in these sports,” said Marc Hauser, president of MPH Associates, Inc./Boeri Sport USA, distributors of Boeri helmets. “In making the choice to wear a helmet the baseline may be added protection, but there are other definite factors that should also motivate the decision. Helmets provide performance advantages as well as mental advantages. Reduced distraction, enhanced concentration and focus translate into a better experience on the mountain.”
Trends indicate that advice is being taken to heart:
- The National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, and The American Association of Snowboard Instructors have recognized the validity of wearing helmets while skiing and snowboarding.
- Plus, virtually all race programs in the U.S. require helmets, while some ski school programs are also mandating protective headgear. There has been talk in some states about enacting legislation to require helmets on the slopes.
- A report conducted at the Colorado School of Medicine in Denver strongly advocated helmet use while skiing or snowboarding, summarizing that “helmets can prevent deaths and reduce the severity of head injuries.”