How to Choose a Snowboard Helmet

How to Choose a Snowboard Helmet
Anyone who's worried about a potential head injury from snowboarding should consider wearing a helmet. Helmets offer potentially life-saving protection and are particularly valuable when riding terrain that includes rocks, trees and other hazards. There are a few main things you'll want to consider when purchasing a helmet: fit, safety, comfort, design and features.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Verify the safety rating. In order to get the best protection, you're looking for a ski/snowboard-specific helmet that has met the appropriate safety standards. The helmet should have one or more of the following certifications: ASTM F-2040, Snell RS-98 or CEN 1077. A new higher standard has recently been developed by the Canadian Standards Association, and legislation is pending that could put it into law for helmets sold in Canada.
Step 2
Size the helmet. To provide the necessary protection, a snowboard helmet needs to fit correctly. To get your size, measure around your forehead with measuring tape (in centimeters). This measurement is your helmet size. However, it's best not to rely on size alone, because different helmet models can be shaped differently. Size it in person whenever possible.
Step 3
Put the helmet on and tighten the chin strap. The top of the helmet should cover your forehead and rest just above your eyebrows. The back of the helmet should cover your entire head and rest above your neck without touching it.
Step 4
Shake your head forward and backward and then side to side. The helmet should be firm on your head and shouldn't slide back and forth or wobble around. The inner lining should be against your head and face without leaving any gaps or being too tight and creating pressure points. Helmets that offer multiple fit adjustments or pads can provide a more-customized fit for the particulars of your head shape.
Step 5
Bring your goggles. Try the helmet on with your goggles to make sure they fit comfortably together. Alternately, purchase new goggles at the same time as your helmet and try them both on to establish a comfortable fit. The goggles should sit underneath the helmet without being pressed downward or pushing the helmet upward. Many helmets have a goggle strap clip so the strap will stay in place when worn over the helmet.
Step 6
Consider the overall design of the helmet. Make sure there's enough insulation to keep you warm on cold days. Test how well you can hear in the helmet, as you'll want to have a good sense of hearing on the slopes. Ensure there's suitable venting.
Step 7
Consider features. Beyond safety and fit, consider any features that may be important. Adjustable venting can be helpful for adjusting to the changing weather conditions of a day on the slopes. If you listen to music while riding, you might want to consider a helmet with built-in headphones. Some headphones work on a wireless connection, so they eliminate the dangling wires that can be awkward and uncomfortable.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Full-face snowboarding helmets are available for competitive and high-speed snowboarding. Regular helmets are generally sufficient for recreational riding.
 
Helmet or no helmet, snowboarding is a dangerous activity. Follow the rules of the slopes and ride carefully to prevent injury. If your helmet is involved in a crash, refer to your manufacturer's guidelines. Some helmets are meant to protect for only a single crash, so you may need to replace it. Check your helmet before each use to make sure there are no cracks or breakages that could impair its structural integrity.
 
Helmet or no helmet, snowboarding is a dangerous activity. Follow the rules of the slopes and ride carefully to prevent injury.
 
If your helmet is involved in a crash, refer to your manufacturer's guidelines. Some helmets are meant to protect for only a single crash, so you may need to replace it.
 
Check your helmet before each use to make sure there are no cracks or breakages that could impair its structural integrity.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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