Helmet hair: The new cool

Everybody knows the importance of helmets, but in spite of this there are still plenty of skiers and snowboarders who choose not to buckle up. Considering that skiing can be such a fast and dangerous sport this has always baffled me, after all you don’t see many downhill mountain bikers without helmets. So why skiers?

Skiing, and especially snowboarding, has always been closely linked with fashion and skiers have always liked to look good on the slopes (the glorious 80s being the exception!), and perhaps many skiers or boarders thought of helmets as uncool or wimpy. I know that in my experience I used to find them heavy and uncomfortable.

Thankfully things have moved on quite dramatically. Today’s ski helmets are light, comfortable, inexpensive and effective. They offer an extra degree of protection over and above the important safe riding basics of skiing responsibly and in control. And they are even starting to become a fashion statement now with many pro skiers and boarders choosing to wear them.

So do they work?

According to skihelmets.com, 44% of skiers currently wear a helmet and 42% are intending to wear one the next time they visit the slopes. One reason for this growth is that out of 84,200 winter sports injuries recorded last season, 17,500 were head related. It is believed that out of those 17,500, 7,700 injuries and 11 deaths could have been avoided if they had been wearing a helmet. Whether or not those statistics are true, I am willing to bet that there are very few instances where wearing a helmet has actually caused an accident.

Here are a few things to consider:

1.When looking at helmets, don’t just consider the hardness of the outer shell, but make sure you check the inner liner – which will absorb most of any impact energy through compression or destruction. The outer shell helps to spread impact energy over a larger portion of the helmet.

2.Bring your goggles when you buy your helmet. Different goggles and helmets work together differently. A well fitting system will provide great protection for the face and forehead from cold wind and snow and still allow adequate ventilation for
the goggles.

3.Ski and Snowboard as if you weren’t wearing a helmet and don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. Helmets help prevent head injuries but are of little help in high speed, head-on injuries and offer no protection against neck and other types of injuries.

So, to conclude, in my opinion helmets are a good idea and will protect you against many of the common injuries that the head is susceptible too. They are especially important for children, who are at highest risk of snow sport injury. However, it must be remembered that wearing a helmet will not protect you if you have a high speed impact – so go careful, especially if there are trees near the pistes you’re on.

For all you need to know about choosing a helmet, have a look at kit2fit.com.