Wearing a proper-fitting helmet is the single most impactful thing you can do to prevent yourself from sustaining a serious injury while skiing or snowboarding. In the event of a nasty spill, or even just a minor slip up on the mountain, a helmet that is too large or too small will not adequately protect you. It’s simply not worth it to risk injury because the helmet you have is a poor fit, so SKIS.com is here to give you some tips on how to correctly fit a ski or snowboard helmet.
What Exactly Does a Helmet Do?
We all know helmets are designed to protect your head, but just how exactly does a helmet do this? It seems simple, but there is actually a lot of science that goes into making sure your head stays safe. Helmets do more than just act as a barrier between your head and whatever it might come into contact with. All ski or snowboard helmets are designed to absorb and displace impact rather than transferring it to you. This helps prevent head injuries by ensuring the helmet takes the brunt of the blow.
All helmets are subject to impact testing to certify them for different activities. These tests certify that they are safe to use for their designated sport. All helmets that are certified for skiing and snowboarding are single impact helmets. This means that if you have taken a crash that is hard enough to dent the exterior shell of the helmet or damage the interior liner, this helmet has done its job and protected your brain from the impact. Helmets that have been damaged should no longer be used. It is also recommended by every helmet manufacturer that you replace your helmet every five years. The protective material on the inside can start to deteriorate, reducing its protective capabilities.
What is MIPS?
One of the biggest trends in ski and snowboard helmets lately is MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. Ski or snowboard helmets that are equipped with MIPS have an inner liner that rotates upon impact. This rotation of the liner helps prevent energy from being absorbed to your brain. Most helmets offer forward and rearward protection, where MIPS helmets offer added side to side protection as well.
What Size Ski or Snowboard Helmet Do I Need?
In order to find out what helmet size you are, you first you need to measure the size of your head. The easiest way to figure this out is to use a soft tape measure and measure the circumference of your head just above the brow line. If you do not have a soft tape measure, use a string to measure the circumference, then measure the string. Helmet sizes are typically measured in centimeters. Helmets with Full Adjustability usually offer a range of 3-5 cm of adjustment. Full adjustability is the easiest way for you to get the best fit. Full adjustments can be made by way of a dial, BOA or an air pump. Helmets with Partial Adjustability give you minimal adjustments for stability and comfort. There are some helmets that do not offer any adjustability; these are typically Race Helmets. We strongly encourage every skier to wear a helmet regardless of their ability and experience, but junior skiers should all be wearing helmets. Helmets for boys and girls have junior specific fits. It is never a good idea to allow room for growth when sizing a junior skier or snowboarder for a helmet.
Often times fit varies from brand to brand, so before you buy take a look at our brand Sizing Charts page. Under the accessories tab on that page, you’ll find size charts for all the brands of helmets we sell. Make sure your measurements lineup with the size of helmet you are planning on purchasing.
Trying the Helmet on
Once you have determined what size helmet you need, the best way to ensure a perfect fit is to try it on. It’s always preferable to try on a helmet in person before purchasing, but if you need
Place the helmet on the top of your forehead first, then flip it back onto the rest of your head. A helmet should sit flush on the top of your head and across the forehead, without any gaps in the padding. If you have a helmet with adjustability, give the adjustment a quick cinch to snug it up. Move the helmet gently forward and backward. The helmet should fit snug and move the skin on your forehead and eyebrows ever so slightly. This is how you know you have the perfect fit. Another way that you can test the fit of your helmet is to, once the helmet is on your head, shake your head. If the helmet shifts and moves on your head, it is most likely too large and you will have to size down. A helmet that is too large will not offer you the proper vibration absorption, and a helmet that is too small will be uncomfortable and not offer the protection you need.
We want everyone to keep enjoying their winter sport of choice safely and soundly, and the best way to ensure that is by helping skiers and snowboarders wear proper helmets. That’s why we carry every type of helmet that you will need to keep you protected on the slopes. For more details on how to properly size your ski or snowboard helmet please visit our Helmet Sizing Guide. For more details on all of the features and options available to you in helmets, please take a look at our Helmet Buying Guide.