While helmets may not look all that cool or feel comfortable,
they are essential in preventing head injuries ranging from
headaches to serious concussions (or worse!).
Depending on your locality, the snow resorts you frequent may or may not
have made helmets mandatory. However, even in places where they are optional,
chances are you'll find most riders wearing one.
Do I Need to Wear a Helmet?
Some riders argue that wearing a helmet leads to a significant
deterioration in their snowboarding experience. They say that
this cuts right
at the heart of the feelings of freedom which attract
people to the sport in the first place.
As with most things, the freedom of choice is yours as long as your
are aware of and are willing to accept the possible repercussions
of your decision. Unless, of course, the snow resort has made
helmets mandatory, in which case the decision to wear one would be
If you are proficient in your snowboarding skills and
are just planning on a slow and relaxing ride on the bunny hill
or gentle blue runs with few obstacles, you could probably get away
without a helmet. Keep in mind, though, that you would still be susceptible
to being run into by another skier/rider.
If, however, you plan on indulging in some speed while carving
sharp turns or doing terror-death jumps, spins and tricks, then
it would probably be foolish and irresponsible if you choose to
forsake the protection that a helmet provides. Make no mistake,
the possibility of being knocked out cold or worse after a head
collision is very real.
The Right Fit
Some general criteria to use when selecting a helmet include
compactness and coverage over vulnerable areas. Most importantly,
however, is that since helmets
come in various shapes and sizes, the helmet you choose must fit your
head snugly and comfortably.
Since you will be wearing it for six to eight hours a day on the slopes, a
badly fitting helmet could end up giving you a headache at the end of the day.
Or worse still, it might, in
fact, cause more injury than it prevents in the event of a crash.
If you're going to a store to try on a helmet, it will be a good idea
to try on the goggles you are planning to wear with it at the same time.
Some goggles are just not compatible with certain helmets which can
lead to poor sealage while forcing you to work around the problem by
wearing your helmet over the top of the goggle strap instead of strapping
your goggles around the outside of the helmet the way it's supposed to be.
Warmth and Ventilation
Unless you wear a dual-purpose helmet (e.g. a helmet built for skateboarding
or other sports too) you won't have to wear a beanie underneath your helmet.
Helmets made specifically for snow sports are designed with inner linings
and layers to keep your head warm.
Some even come with
removable ear-flaps in case it gets too warm for your liking.
Helmets may also have built in vents which can be open or closed. These are handy
for keeping the warmth in on cold days or increasing the ventilation
so that your head doesn't feel like a steamer on warm and sunny days.
If you ride the pipe and push the limits on a routine basis, you may like
to get a helmet which can sustain multiple impacts and still provide
adequate protection. Cheap helmets or helmets made for other sports may
only be good for one hard collision before they must be disposed for