The most significant difference between a typical ski helmet and climbing helmet is the shell. In climbing helmets the shell is often thick plastic, with webbing suspending the outer shell away from direct contact with your head. In a ski helmet the outer shell is typically much thinner, with shaped foam inside the helmet supporting your head and providing additional cushioning.
Because each sport needs different accessories, the two types of helmets are designed to support those separate needs. In the case of climbing helmets you will often find a clip in the front of the helmet for attaching a headlamp. For ski helmets you are much more likely to find a clip or groove in the back of the helmet that is designed for use with ski goggles.
While safety standards for snow sport helmets can come from a number of different certifications and sources, climbing helmets are generally regulated by one safety standards certification. Look for UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) or CEN (European Committee for Standardization) certification on any climbing helmet you purchase.
Ski helmets are typically designed to both insulate and breathe, often featuring fleece liners and sealable ventilation. Climbing helmets tend to have plenty of ventilation and little in the way of warm linings. Of course, climbing helmets more specified to cold-weather conditions can be bought as well.
Article Written By Louie Doverspike
Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.