What you need to know about helmets.
The speed we ski with these days has increase and on top of it we move laterally to a greater extent than before. Since this all puts us at a greater risk, helmets provide a safety everyone should use. The helmets have been developed in recent years and are now much lighter and more comfortable. They therefore don't impair perception and movement as much as they used to.
Today there are many different styles, shapes and colors. The helmets are built to suit different conditions of skiing and riding, but most helmets can be used regardless of if you jump the tabletops in the park, carve the groomers or go off-piste or backcountry. It's more so a matter of taste and fit.
The helmet should not be tilted backwards but sit straight on the head. This is so that the helmet sits properly and don't fall off in case of a hard fall. If your helmet have been involved in a hard crash you should replace it since its protection may be altered or lost.
Always test a pair of goggles together with your helmet so that you are sure they fit properly.
Wearing a hat underneath the helmet compromises its way of protecting you hugely. A helmet is usually warm enough as it, meaning it's seldom necessary to wear anything underneath. For children, when it's really cold, a thin balaclava will help protect against the cold at the neck and face.
The helmets on the market today are designed for different conditions and different types of skiing and riding. Below we provide a brief description of the various helmet types:
Slalom Helmet Full shell Half shell In mold Full Face
Half shell: This helmet has the same structure as a helmet with full shell except for replacing the material at the ears with a softer material to increase comfort and to provide better hearing. This is currently the most frequently used helmet, used by park skiers, freeriders and on-piste skiers. They come in many different models and brands.
In mold: This is a light helmet based on a principle where the helmet absorbing material is injected into a mold while the hard outer shell remains. This allows the making of considerably lighter helmets and with better ventilation. Most commonly these helmets are built like the half shell helmets with softer materials at the ears. Most helmets today are built according to this principle.
Full Face: These helmets look more like a motorcycle helmet and are built to protect also the face, mouth and teeth. Mainly off-piste skiers, skiing rocky steep faces and dropping cliffs, and the skicross-competitors use these helmets.
Downhill Helmet: This helmet is based on a helmet with full shell with the only difference that a mounting to protect the face against the slalom gates is added.
Most helmets today have good ventilation. This is important since it can get sweaty to ride with a helmet in warmer weather. If you ski a lot in warmer temperatures, you should buy a helmet based on the in mold technology, with the ventilation and weight advantage over more traditional helmet types.
We advice you to get the help of a certified helmet vendor who can find a helmet that really suits you. Today there are a lot of helmets with different adjustment systems to facilitate making i more accurate for each individual head. The front of the helmet should sit just above the eyebrows. If the helmet is not touching the top of your head the helmet is too small, and if it slides down below the eyebrows it is too big.
The following figure and table size is a general method to determine the size of the helmet. (Do remember to always use the help of an expert once in the ski shop, though.)