How to Compare Ski Helmets

How to Compare Ski Helmets
Ski helmets are designed to absorb much of the force of an impact in case you take a serious fall. The effects of a fall on a helmet may or may not be visible to the naked eye. Because of this, you should always discard your helmet after taking a major fall, and replace it with a new one. If you're not able to find the same type of helmet in the store, or are just buying your first ski helmet, you'll need to know how to compare the variety of available helmets and find the best fit.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Flexible measuring tape
Step 1
Wrap a flexible tape measure around your head, parallel to the ground, a half-inch above your eyebrows. This measurement, read in inches, is your head circumference. Check the sizing charts on the helmet packaging to locate the appropriate size helmet, based on this measurement.
Step 2
Decide whether, based on your skiing style and ability, you'd rather wear a sleek, light in-mold helmet or a more durable injection-molded helmet that can withstand more everyday bangs and bumps. Both types of helmets offer similar levels of protection against a serious fall, but deciding whether weight or long-term durability is more important will reduce the field of helmets you need to try on.
Step 3
Try on each helmet. Stand in front of a mirror--there should be one somewhere in the store, even if you have to find it in the bathroom. The front rim of the helmet should sit no more than an inch above your eyebrows, the pads should sit flush with your cheeks and forehead and the back of the helmet shouldn't be so low that it touches the collar of your shirt.
Step 4
Shake your head side to side. If the helmet shifts back and forth as your head moves, it's too big. Adjust the sizing mechanism, substitute larger pads, or size down to a smaller helmet.
Step 5
Try to push the helmet forward and backward on your head. If it shifts freely, either tighten the chin strap--which should be back against your throat, but not so tight that it cuts into the flesh of your chin or restricts your breathing, speaking or movement--or try a smaller helmet. When properly adjusted, the helmet should sit firmly on your head with its front edge one inch or less away from your eyebrows.
Step 6
Put your goggles on with the helmet. Check that the goggles sit in a comfortable position with the helmet on and that there's no gap between the top of the goggles and the helmet.
Step 7
Put aside any helmets that don't fit properly. Considering only those helmets that do fit, rank them in order of preference by their extra features. Removable liners and ear pads, how goggles attach to the helmet, compatibility with audio devices and vents are all options on mid-range to high-end helmets.
Step 8
Factor cost into the equation. Purchase the helmet highest on your ranking list that you feel you can afford.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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