There are hundreds of ski and snowboard helmets to choose from, which can make it overwhelming to determine the right one for you. Various safety standards, technologies, and features play a role in selecting a suitable ski or snowboard helmet. Ultimately, these helmets serve three main purposes: keeping your head warm, protected, and stylish. While some individuals may delve into technical details, we aim to provide a simple and straightforward guide to help you find the best helmet for your needs!
Size and Fit
The best way to find the right ski helmet for you is to visit a Level Nine Sports shop and try some on! Helmet size charts and fit guides are useful when making online purchases, but since all helmets have slightly different fits and shapes, we highly recommend trying them on in person.
If you cannot visit the shop, don't worry! You can use a tape measure to measure the circumference of your head approximately 1" above your eyebrows, ensuring you measure the largest part of your head while keeping the tape level. Pro Tip! If you don't have a soft tape measure, you can wrap a string around your head, mark where it crosses, and then measure the distance between those two points! Note down this measurement so you can refer to each brand's size chart when browsing our helmet collection.
Finding the right fit is crucial when selecting a ski helmet. If a helmet is too big or too small, it won't provide the necessary protection to keep you safe. Unfortunately, there isn't a universal size guide that applies to all brands and models of ski helmets. However, each brand provides size charts for their helmets, so if you're interested in a specific brand, check the corresponding brand links below for the appropriate size chart for your helmet!
A properly fitting ski helmet should be snug overall, without being excessively tight in any specific area. If a helmet moves or slides around on your head, it is too big. Pro tip! When trying on helmets, ensure you wear the same layers on your head that you would wear while skiing. If you try on a helmet with no other headgear at the shop and then go skiing with a beanie and a facemask, the helmet may not fit the same.
It is also important to try on your helmet with your goggles. When you wear a helmet and goggles together, there should be no gap between the top of the goggles and the helmet. Having a gap can lead to a cold head and cause your goggles to fog up, which is not enjoyable for anyone!
Helmet Shape and Adjustable Sizing
It is important to note that not all ski helmets have the same shape. Even if two helmets are the same size, they may fit differently. This is one of the reasons why trying before you buy is essential. Make sure to select a helmet that doesn’t have large gaps in the front or on the sides.
Many ski and snowboard helmets feature adjustable sizing. Each brand incorporates a fit system that allows you to tailor the helmet’s size by turning a dial to tighten or loosen it, or even by removing internal pads to make it larger or accommodate different head shapes.
Safety is the primary purpose of snowboard and ski helmets. Due to the significance of safety, there are governing bodies that regulate the standards manufacturers must adhere to in order to have their helmets certified. The most important standard to check for when purchasing a helmet is the *ASTM F2040*. If a helmet has this certification, you can be confident that it will provide a good level of safety. It is important to remember that skiing and snowboarding are risky activities, and even if you wear a helmet, there is always a risk of head injury. Wearing a helmet will reduce the likelihood of a concussion and other head injuries, but you are responsible for your own safety. Here are some safety standards for skiing and snowboarding:
ASTM F2040: Non-motorized snow sports equipment
EN 1077A/B: Ski and snowboard helmets
EN 12492: Mountaineering helmets
You might be wondering, “What if I already have a bike helmet?” Bike helmets are great for biking! They keep your head cool, shield your face from the sun, and look stylish in the summer. However, having a ski helmet will help keep you warm and is specifically designed to protect your head while skiing.
You might have seen a yellow sticker with MIPS on it on many helmets. MIPS is a technology developed by a third-party company that many brands use and has almost become the standard for ski and snowboard helmets and even bike helmets. MIPS stands for **Multi-directional Impact Protection System**. MIPS is a great added level of protection that we highly recommend. MIPS allows the outer shell of the helmet to rotate around the inner foam of the helmet helping reduce the forces of directional impacts. If you are looking for the latest technology to protect your head we highly recommend getting a helmet with MIPS.
When to Retire Your Helmet
Unfortunately, helmets aren’t indestructible, and it is crucial to retire your ski helmet when necessary. The majority of helmets are constructed with EPS liners. EPS is a material composed of densely packed plastic beads and air, which makes it susceptible to compaction and cracking when exposed to impact forces. This means EPS helmets should be replaced every time a significant impact occurs. If you notice any dents or cracks in your helmet, it is best to replace it, as it won’t provide the same level of protection anymore. A less common type of helmet is a multi-impact helmet. These helmets are made from EPP, which is a softer foam that allows them to protect against multiple low to mid-grade impacts. However, these helmets should still be retired after a major impact, as they won’t offer the same level of protection.
Features and Extras
In addition to fit, there are a few features to consider when looking for a helmet.
Vents: Each helmet has different vent layouts and cooling systems. It may seem counterintuitive, but having vents to allow hot air to escape is crucial. In extremely cold conditions, it’s important not to overheat, as sweat can lead to feeling very cold on the lift. Some helmets have adjustable vents that can be opened or closed to help regulate temperature based on the weather conditions you encounter day-to-day.
Liners: Ski helmets have thin liners and ear pads that provide cushioning between the hard protective foam and your head, as well as offer some warmth. These liners can also be removed to help adjust the fit.
Audio: If you want to listen to music while shredding, there are helmets available with built-in audio systems. Typically, these helmets have headphone-like speakers integrated into the ear pads. Some helmets may not have built-in systems but provide features to integrate your own earbuds.
Helmet Case and Bags: Many helmets come with a microfiber bag that you can use to store your helmet and goggles, providing protection for them.