A ski helmet is, without doubt, the most important item you need to have with you when you’re going skiing or snowboarding. While it’s also imperative you arm yourself with a jacket, some gloves, and some goggles, a ski helmet is the only thing that can truly minimise your chances of injury.
The majority of resorts won’t let you step foot into your boots without having one, but you’ll often see that one guy who thinks he’s invincible.
He’s not, and neither are you. So investing in some serious head protection is absolutely vital and should really be your first port of call when stocking up on ski and snowboard gear.
In this ski helmets story…
What to look for in a ski helmet
There are countless construction methods, materials, and technologies used within ski helmets to help keep your noggin safe, along with other third-party products that add to their protectiveness, comfort, and ease of use. But for the best ski helmet, you ought to look out for the following features:
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It’s been developed by brain surgeons and scientists, and is an added layer fitted to helmets to help reduce rotational forces applied to your head in crashes. When you fall off your skis, you’re likely to fall at an angle.
Ski helmets that don’t have MIPS will rotate with your head, which can apply potentially damaging forces on your brain. What MIPS does is allow the helmet to move by up to 15mm during an impact, absorbing more of the energy and transferring it around the rest of the surface area to take the stress away from your brain.
Not all ski helmet manufacturers have adopted MIPS, but the ones that have will rock a yellow logo, so be sure to look out for this.
In-Mould is a form of building method that sees an inner foam layer fused directly to the outer helmet layer. Some manufacturers have their own various ways of referring to it but they all relate to the same thing.
In-Mould ski helmets are tough-as-nails, being highly resistant to cracks from impacts and they allow for larger vents to be integrated too, improving airflow and keeping your head cool.
Fitting & Adjustment
It should go without saying that a ski helmet will only be truly effective if it is well-fitted to your head. You may need to try on a few different models to find one that works for you, and much of that will depend on the adjustment system it provides. Ski helmets come in sizes such as S/M and M/L, to cater for a range of head sizes, but then offer an adjustable inner layer to secure it in place.
Different manufacturers may use their own in-house systems, K2, for example, has a K2 Dialed system. Others, such as Smith and Oakley, have adopted the BOA Fit system. This third-party system is used on snowboard boots and ski helmets and allows the wearer to turn a dial to tighten or loosen the fit. Once you’ve found a fit that works, you simply push the dial in to hold it in place (and push to release it to make changes).
Chin Strap & Fastening
With your helmet fitted snugly to your head, all that’s left to do is fasten the chin strap. With thick ski gloves on though, it can sometimes be tricky, especially if your helmet has a conventional clasp fastening. Ski helmet manufacturers are now turning to magnets to make the process much easier.
The most common system – and arguably one of the best – you’re likely to see, comes from Fidlock, masters of magnetic fastenings. Helmets with Fidlock buckles can be operated with one hand and without looking. All you need to do is slide the opposing pieces together and they’ll remain securely in place until you need to take it off.
Ski Helmet FAQs
Yes. You can put your ski helmet in your carry-on bags when travelling through airports. Others can also get away by clipping them outside their cabin bags. To know your ski helmet size, use a fabric tape measure around the circumference of your head, about 2.5 cm above your ears and eyebrows. Absolutely not. A bicycle helmet is not designed for skiing or snowboarding. You must wear the proper gear to protect yourself from injuries in case of accidents.
Can you take a ski helmet as hand luggage?
How to measure for ski helmet?
Can I use a bike helmet for skiing?
Yes. You can put your ski helmet in your carry-on bags when travelling through airports. Others can also get away by clipping them outside their cabin bags.
To know your ski helmet size, use a fabric tape measure around the circumference of your head, about 2.5 cm above your ears and eyebrows.
Absolutely not. A bicycle helmet is not designed for skiing or snowboarding. You must wear the proper gear to protect yourself from injuries in case of accidents.
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Best Ski Helmets
There are myriad manufacturers producing high-performance ski helmets, so we’ve sifted through the vast baulk to let you know which ones are really are the best.
They're leaders when it comes to creating the best action sports equipment as their mission is to, 'protect lives and reduce consequences of accidents for athletes and anyone inspired to be one'. POC makes well-constructed gear thanks to their design forums, POC lab and WATTS lab, where the greatest minds come together to create products where safety is the priority.
Some of POC's best ski helmets fall under their Obex moniker. These ski helmets are engineered to be as durable as possible, and a thick outer shell makes them perfect for backcountry skiing. They benefit from EPS foam to absorb and disperse shock, and POC's own fully-adjustable fit system will allow you to find the perfect fit.
Smith makes some of the best ski helmets around, as they make full use of the MIPS protection system, along with hybrid shell constructions for maximum durability and strength. Other features worth noting include the BOA fit system and removable ear pads, if you decide you want to wear your own hat underneath your helmet. Smith's own Air Evac ventilation system is integrated throughout their helmet collections too, which generates airflow and helps clear the fog out of goggles, promising crystal clear vision.
Their Oakley mod collection features their highest selling helmets with a classic skate style, offering MIPS and a modular brim system allowing riders to choose between a brim or no brim aesthetic; without comprising goggle integration.
Also, 360-degree BOA fit helmets are available, delivering full wrap-around comfort, suitable for extreme weather conditions. Also, the Oakley mod collection features removable ear pads and odour and bacterial eliminating technology. You're sure to feel fresh and clean while repping this brand.
It employs in-mould construction for a lightweight yet protective build, along with XT2 anti-odour technology to prevent it from smelling after several sweat-inducing runs. A dial-controlled In Form Fit system makes adjustments a doddle and MIPS ensures all-round head protection from impacts. What more could you want from a ski helmet?
The company has a comprehensive ski helmet range to back that up, and we've picked out the Brigade+ Audio for its blend of safety features for protecting your head and its technologies for delivering music to your ears.
Salomon's own EPS4D technology is employed here, which helps to absorb energy from any impacts, and you can ensure you get a secure fit thanks to the integrated dial control system.
But, we all know there's nothing better than listening to some sick tunes when hurtling down a mountain, and with the built-in audio system on the Brigade+ helmet, you don't have to worry about having earphones being shoved deep into your ears.
Their ski helmets are ideal for aggressive riders as their EPP multi-impact technology features expanded polypropylene that increases durability and helps the helmet retain protective shock absorption properties for longer. Designed to be an easy fit, Rossignol helmets are easy to adjust with their flexible elastic, providing comfort without compromising protection. Additional adjustable vents are available, offering on-the-fly temperature control.
K2 designs extremely tough, hardshell ski helmets. Fortunately, their strong construction never compromises comfort as they have added Active Matrix adjustable vents, allowing control of temperature and airflow. Better still, the vast majority of K2 ski helmets come with built-in audio systems, so you can enjoy a little music, heightening the outdoor experience.
That includes the Switcher, one of the company's latest models designed for the regular free rider (if you partake in specific snow race events, Sweet offers other helmets to suit). If ventilation is top of your priorities, the Switcher is the ski helmet for you, as it offers 22 vents, all adjustable with just one hand.
Sweet has used a combination of in-mould and hard shell construction methods, resulting in a supremely lightweight helmet that offers top-level protection. MIPS has been utilised too to help reduce forces on the brain during impact, and a magnetic chin buckle makes fastening and unfastening a cinch.
MIPS is included for protection against angled impact, and if you happen to have an accident and need assistance, ICEdot Emergency ID stores your contact and medical information. 23 adjustable vents make finding the perfect amount of airflow easy and the Fidlock buckle makes fastening it even easier.
The Watts is one of the most iconic helmets in its catalogue, owing to its baseball-hat-inspired visor design, setting it apart from other helmets on the mountain.
The company's own Crank Fit dial system makes an appearance for quick and easy adjustments, and a hybrid EPS/ABS build provides comfortable yet durable protection. It arrives with a moisture-controlling liner by default, but if you really feel the cold you can attach Bern's Winter Knit liner for added comfort.