Category Archive : snowbord helmets

Should I Wear a Helmet When Skiing or Snowboarding?

After many years without a helmet, today I would not think of skiing or riding without one. Helmets not only protect from many head injuries, they are warm and comfortable.


Should I Wear a Helmet When Skiing or Snowboarding?

by Karen La Borde

In 2011 the NHS reported that current studies on the benefits of wearing a helmet whilst skiing or snowboarding had several shortcomings. Whilst some concluded wearing a helmet can reduce head injuries by 35% in adults and 59% in children, the NHS claimed most of these studies lacked adequate sampling of control groups, an unclear definition of what actually constitutes a head injury and no consideration of the consequences of the actual fit of a helmet.

So as skiers and snowboarders, should we wear a helmet? What do we gain and what do we lose?

The NHS maintain that the actual risk of head injury for skiers and snowboarders is relatively low. Only 1 in 11,111 ski or snowboard outings result in an head injury and serious head injuries which cause fatalities are extremely rare.

Helmets are most effective if collisions happen at low speeds under 15mph. As we all know, the majority of intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders regularly travel at speeds much faster than this which increases their risk.

So what are the benefits of a helmet? Most regular helmet wearers describe higher levels of comfort. Helmets, unlike woolly hats, do not itch. They do not soak up moisture. They are warm when its cold and cool when its hot. Some claim that once you wear a helmet you will never go back to the beanie. New styles and designs of helmets have also made them more fashionable and in some European and American resorts, studies have shown helmet wearing has increased to 80% of those enjoying winter sports.

If you are considering a career in ski or snowboard instruction, you will find most candidates purchase a helmet. When teaching it is always better to lead by example, especially to children for whom it may be compulsory to wear a helmet.

Snowboarders have also to be aware that the Canadian Association of Snowboarders, who certify and test those wishing to become a qualified, internationally recognised instructor, have made helmets mandatory for their Level 2, 3 and 4 courses. If snowboarders also want to learn to teach in the park, helmet wearing is enforced.

So what do you lose if you wear a helmet? Some argue helmets may impair vision and hearing and that they may encourage people to take greater risk. There is also a cost factor to the purchase of a helmet – at around a £100 they are expensive item.

However, if you decide to invest in a helmet, you must ensure it fits well to give maximum comfort and protection. Measure the circumference of your head from just above your eyebrows and roughly follow the sizing chart below:-

Small 42 – 55.5 cm
Medium 55.5 – 59 cm
Large 59 – 62.5 cm
Ex Large 62.5 – 65 cm

A helmet needs to fit snugly with very little movement inside when you move your head. Be wary of a helmet that is too tight as it will be uncomfortable. When trying a helmet out wear it for several minutes in the shop to get a true sense of its fit. The ear pads inside should be in line with your ears and if you use goggles take them along and wear them with the helmet as they also can effect the fit.

Helmet wearing is not yet compulsory for adults in Canada or Europe and some ‘old school’ ski instructors and ‘cool’ snowboard instructors still persist in hat wearing. This is not a good example to set to youngsters who will aspire to be like their role models, and quit wearing their helmet as soon as they are old enough. If you are choosing to begin a career as a snow sports instructor, then at The Winter Sports Company we lead by example and ensure all our trainee ski instructors and snowboard instructors wear their helmets. Visit

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Helmets are the smart way to ride and ski. Make the right decision and hook up with a cool helmet for this season on the slopes.



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