Choosing the right ski helmet is dependent on several factors, the most important of which is what you want to get out of it in the first place. Always remember that a one-size-fits-all approach will backfire and that this is an endlessly customisable winter sports accessory that’s as individual as the person wearing it.
We always recommend buying your own helmet instead of renting one for your every skiing endeavour, because the cost of renting is close to what you’d pay for a new one, anyway. You’ll get more value for your money in the long run when buying one, as well as the unparalleled benefits of a shiny, brand new ski helmet just for you!
Remember that unless you’re a seasoned professional with many years of experience in the sport, you’ll probably be needing advice from authorities on the subject to help you acquire the best accessory for you.
To make your decision clearer and more straightforward, this guide groups the three main types of ski helmet features into popular categories for you to consider before making this significant purchase.
Ski Helmet Safety
Safety features are an essential element to study in your pursuit of the perfect ski helmet. After all, their primary purpose is to keep their users safe at all points of the skiing experience. With time, the technology behind them is becoming more sophisticated and safety features and benefits are on the increase. Safe skiing brings you the peace of mind you need to focus completely on the sport, with the comforting knowledge that preventable injuries are avoided.
The shell comes in either hard or soft variations. What sets these shell types apart is that they have different methods of mitigating shocks from large impacts. Our ski helmets have either a high-density acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) lightweight shell, a high-impact ABS shell, or a high-density polycarbonate (PC) lightweight shell – all of which are hard outer cases.
Hard shells are preferable because they distribute the force of any blow suffered across the helmet, which is then absorbed into the padding. ABS shells boast high impact resistance and toughness, while PC shells are the lighter – yet still durable and protective – option.
Hard shells are great value-for-money features and hard-wearing to boot. However, we always recommend replacing a helmet if the shell has suffered a sizeable impact, as this will not only have damaged the high-performing plastic of the shell, but also the delicate lining underneath.
Padding and Lining
Adequate padding or lining inside the helmet ensures that your head is protected from any impacts and absorbs the shock experienced from bumps. The padding we use is EPS core foam: high-density expanded polystyrene that has led the pioneering of fully form-effective helmet padding in the past decade.
As head protection is a very serious matter, manufacturers worth their salt produce helmets that meet the European Economic Community (EEC)’s standards. This critical quality and safety benchmark will be stamped on products which comply with these stringent requirements.
Aesthetics of Your Ski Helmet
The first thing you’re going to be noticing about your ski helmet is how it looks – especially if you’re not a pro skier and aesthetics are the only feature you can comfortably figure out by yourself. Some of the aesthetic properties to take into account include colour, pattern or design, and shape. These days the aesthetic options are endless and you’ll find everything from pretty floral designs to gothic style helmets on the market.
From classic blacks to dazzling whites, the sky’s the limit when it comes to colour. Choose a colour that suits your preferences and matches your personality – whether that’s bold and brave, or subtle, understated elegance.
The shape of the helmet has to complement the shape of your head to form a comfortable, snug fit. Trying on a selection of different shapes – from rounded, monolithic curvatures to flatter lines and more streamlined oval shapes – will help you make sense of what’s available and select a shape that is aesthetically pleasing, yet also gives you maximum protection on the piste.
While safety concerns remain a top priority when deliberating which item to buy, comfort is key. Ski helmets that are pretty and safe to wear but feel uncomfortable are a big no-no. Naturally, you want to be skiing comfortably on the slopes and any accessories you put on must do their job without making you feel cumbersome.
You can tell how valuable a helmet will be to you in terms of comfort when you try on one that adheres to all your aesthetic and safety parameters but doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a large, awkward headdress.
The size largely depends on the size of your head, and – like the shape – should be tailored around your measurements. The sizes of our helmets vary from 48-52cm for kids helmets, and 53-62cm for adult helmets, leaving room for heads of all shapes and circumferences to squeeze in.
Aim for a fit that is secure but not too tight. A good test is shaking your head to and fro with the helmet on. If it moves, it’s too big and if it starts to hurt, it’s too small. Weight will also factor into the comfort levels, but with our ABS and PC lightweight models, your head will be fully protected yet still very much free to move around.
Adjustable and Removable Extras
In addition to the run-of-the-mill features, extras such as chinstraps, quick-release buckles, goggle retainers and clips all maximise the comfort and functionality of the helmet.
Chinstraps are always adjustable and strap the helmet into place during use, allowing for a range of tightness when the head kit piece is on.
Quick-release buckles are built into the chinstraps and are specifically designed to be able to release the chinstrap and the helmet with efficiency and ease.
Goggle retainers and clips are a handy feature that fasten your skiing eyewear in place, so the entirety of your face and head are protected from the elements. Goggle retainers can also be removed, so you always have the freedom to pick and choose the extras that best suit your needs.
You should always make sure that all of these elements merge comfortably when you put the headgear on, with the chinstraps fixed securely against your chin, quick-release buckles fastened neatly and goggle retainers and clips fitted smoothly in with your goggles.
To control the temperature inside, most helmets have built-in removable ear pads. These ear pads act as flaps that cushion your ears and shelter them from the chill, and can be removed on warmer days to regulate the temperature inside and keep your head from overheating.
Temperature control is a relevant factor to consider as it can severely affect a skier’s concentration and performance.
Together with controlling the interior temperature, ventilation capacity is another feature you’ll want to take note of to ensure maximum comfort. If you’re wearing your helmet for long stretches at a time, vents are a must as they allow entry of air into the helmet so that your head stays fresh and oxygenated.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be sure to land yourself a ski helmet that ticks all the right boxes and keeps you protected, comfortable and looking your absolute best on the piste this winter.