Wearing a ski helmet is like fastening the seat belt in the car. The absolutely obvious thing when going skiing. Big progress towards safety was made in past years. Now you will hardly find anyone in the skiing resort who will not wear a ski helmet. But how do you pick the right ski/snowboard helmet? Good looking, comfortable, and with the highest possible protection? Here is our ultimate guide to the best ski/snowboard helmets.
Our choice – Top Ski Helmet
Ski versus Snowboard Helmet
There are no differences between ski and snowboard helmets. They are mostly the same by construction, sizes, and protection level. I will use mainly the term ski helmet, but it also refers to a snowboard helmet or snow helmet.
The first and most important reason for wearing a ski helmet is safety. The times when the skiers wore just caps because of cold are over. The helmet can literally save your life or prevent many head injuries.
Moreover, the helmet is obligatory equipment in most skiing resorts (at least for kids) and required equipment in many skiing/sports insurance policies.
Regulations set the required protection level for ski helmets. Therefore you should check if your ski helmet is compliant with regulatory requirements. The official US certificate for non-motor recreational snow sports is ASTM F2040 (skiing and snowboarding included), the official European certificate is CE EN1077. The certificate logo should be on your helmet, usually at the strip with size and manufacturer identification.
A ski helmet can protect you in a big way, but do not forget that its protection is limited. It would be best if you always skied (snowboard) with caution and according to your performance level. The helmet should be replaced after a big crash even when it is not visually damaged as the inner absorption zones can be compressed.
Ski/Snowboard Helmet Construction
Ski helmets consist of two main parts that are responsible for your protection.
The outer shell is a solid high-impact plastic that protects against knocks and sharp objects. The outer part’s structure also spread the impact of energy over the shell surface during an accident.
The inner part of the helmet is made from EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam. This part should absorb the energy impact.
A good helmet should sit on your head and not move even when you ski on rough terrain at higher speeds. You should know the circumference of your head before you will go shopping. The circumference should be measured with the tape measure above your ears and eyes. Ideally, you should measure the largest part of your head.
There is no absolute rule about the helmet’s sizes, as every manufacturer has its own sizing system. However, generally, all are either in-line or very close to the sizing chart below.
Ski/Snowboard Helmet Size Table
|Helmet Size||Head Circumference [cm]||Head Circumference [in]|
|XS||48.5 - 52.0||19" - 20.5"|
|S||52.0 - 55,.5||20.5" - 21.75"|
|M||55.5 - 59.0||21.75" - 23"|
|L||59.0 - 62.5||23" - 24.5"|
You saw in the table above that every helmet size is related to the range of head circumference. Therefore, every helmet has a system included for fine-tuning for a good fit.
There are several possibilities for the fit system. An adjustable wheel or boa system at the back of your helmet is the most common one. You can make the helmet fit by turning the wheel at the helmet back. The system is light and easy to control.
The other possibilities are ratchets that tighten the helmet fit, a pad system with removable inner pads, or an air fit system when you add little air pillows for comfort and secure fit.
Ski Helmet Features for Comfort and Good Fit
Helmet manufacturers know that pure protection never sold anything. Therefore, they added a ton of features to increase comfort and improve the fit of ski helmets.
Chinstraps or buckle at the front is there for securing the helmet on your head. The straps are usually padded for better comfort and also for adding additional warmth to your chin. The open/close system is often click-on and adjustable for different head sizes.
Ski helmets have additional padding to make helmet wearing more comfortable. The inner padding softens the helmet position on your head. The padding also has a warming effect.
The ear padding is protecting your ears from injuries and also against the cold. Some ski helmets have removable ear padding or audio-compatible ear pads for listening to your favorite music during skiing.
Ventilation is another essential feature as nobody likes skiing with wet and sweaty hair. All helmets have some kind of passive venting that allows heat and moisture to escape. However, it is essential to have also adjustable venting, that you can set up the way you like the most. Adjustable venting is usually helmet or manufacturer specific. It can be in the form of a sliding mechanism (the most common system) or the form of some plugs or buttons.
A younger generation brought new requirements also for skiing. Shooting the clip of you riding down the slope is very popular, and some manufacturers responded by adding the camera mount on some helmet types.
The goggle strap is a small but handy feature on the back of your helmet. It essentially prevents the goggles from slipping off.
Ski Helmets with Goggles or with Visor
Almost all skiers are protecting their eyes too. Ski goggles must fit your helmet. There should be no gap between the top goggles and the helmet („goggle gap“). The best way is to buy a ski helmet in a pack with ski goggles. Another way is to bring your ski goggles to the shop when purchasing a ski helmet (or vice versa). The compatibility is crucial for excellent comfort.
The new trend in the helmet industry is ski helmets with an embedded visor. The visor is the glass shield attached to your helmet that substitutes ski goggles. The screen is replaceable and easy to change. You can wear regular sunglasses (not necessary as visor has UV and sun protection) or even prescription glasses (prescription ski goggles are available too) under the screen.
At the moment, you will see more ski goggles than helmets with the visor on the slopes. In the future, the situation will definitely change as the price difference between ski helmets with visors and ski helmets without is small. Instead of buying two items (helmet + goggles), many people will prefer buying just one (ski helmet with visor).
|Odoland Snow Ski Helmet and Goggles Set||MOON Ski Helmet with Detachable Ski Goggles Lens||HEAD Unisex Radar Ski Helmet|
|Ski Helmet and Ski Goggles set |
for kids and adults
|Ski Helmet with detachable lenses|
Lenses with anti-fog, anti-scratch, and UV protection
Helmet available in 4 color options
|HEAD Visor Construction: |
wind-sealed UV protective shield
prescription glasses fit under the shield
|Price Tier: $||Price Tier: $||Price Tier: $$$|
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The Best Ski Helmets – Our Choice
|OutdoorMaster KELVIN Ski Helmet||Wildhorn Drift Snowboard & Ski Helmet||KUYOU Ski Helmet with Snow Goggles|
9 color options
14 individual vents
from the supplier of the US Ski Team
11 color options
13 adjustable vents
adjustable size + ventilation system
Frameless Ski Goggles included (AntiFog + UV)
|Price Tier: $||Price Tier: $$||Price Tier: $$|
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