This is a common, not to mention important question, and one that we are frequently asked in-store. In order to properly answer it, there are a few other questions that need to be asked.
How long have you had your helmet?
The simple fact is this; helmets don’t last forever. A helmet’s life span depends on several factors, but the rule of thumb is, it should be replaced every five years even if it is in perfect condition and not been involved in any accidents. Helmets deteriorate over time. The inner shell starts to break down due to temperature variations, humidity or simply old age (a bit like their owners).
When was the last time you inspected your helmet?
Prior to any ski trip you need to inspect all of your gear to ensure it is still fit for purpose. Helmets are no exception. They may have sustained damage from your last snow trip. This commonly occurs in transit, unbeknownst to the owner. When reviewing your helmet, start with the exterior. There shouldn’t be any dents or dings in it. All ski or snowboard helmets, whether they are Soft Shell, Hard Shell, In-Mold or Hybrid, are designed to be single impact helmets. That means if you have taken a fall that has damaged your helmet, it must be replaced. Be sure to remove the inner fleece lining and check whether the inner energy-absorbing material has any visible signs of damage. If there are any signs of cracking, the helmet needs to be replaced.
Good News: Snow helmets are amazing now!
The days of bulky, dorky buckets (once the helmet option) are thankfully gone. They are now more comfortable, lighter, well ventilated and easy to dial in to the perfect fit. The introduction of new technologies like BOA fit adjustments, Koroyd and Fidlock make it even easier to keep your helmet fitting well and your head safe.
A sometimes overlooked but important helmet feature is ventilation. A lot of heat is lost through your head. Adjustable ventilation helps regulate your temperature and ensures you stay comfortable when you are on the slopes. Helmets like the Smith Vantage MIPS or Smith Quantum MIPS have the option of dual adjustments giving you the flexibility of being able to close the front vents and leave the back ones open or vice versa.
A big innovation in helmet safety in recent years has been MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System). It is designed to help reduce the rotational force of an oblique impact which in turn reduces brain injury. Research has proven this to be the case and the inclusion of MIPS will hopefully soon become an industry standard.
Just how important is it?
The simple answer is this: wearing a well-fitting, up to date helmet that has been looked after, is the best action you can take to stay safe whilst enjoying your time on the snow.
Looking for A New Helmet? Snowscene have a fantastic range - View here.
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