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Helmets for Skiing and Snowboarding

Just like there will always be folks who argue against wearing seatbelts or motorcycle helmets, there will forever be skiers and boarders who prefer the freedom of nothing more than a knit wool hat rather than a protective helmet. There are no rules requiring the use of helmets, (with the exception of some kid's ski schools) but support for them is strong and the percentage of people who always wear one on the slopes is growing. Protection from serious life-altering head injury should be argument enough for almost any reasonable person.

A dramatic increase in helmet use is often attributed to the famous deaths of Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono from head injuries while skiing in the winter of '97-'98. Modern improvements to skis and snowboards are also a factor in helmet use. With better equipment, more people are comfortable riding at higher speeds, thus increasing the need for a helmet. As of 2013 approximately 70 percent of skiers and boarders are using them.

Modern ski helmets are warmer than knit hats, yet can be ventilated to cool. Recreational models have "soft ears", while performance race models have "hard ears" – where the shell extends down to cover your ears for additional protection. Many helmets have internal adjustability allowing for a more precise fit. Some even have blue tooth capability and are MP3 compatible. Every model fits slightly different, with some helmets working better for round heads, some for oval-shaped heads. By following these simple guidelines for fitting helmets, you should be able to find the perfect fit.

Fitting Your Helmet:

  • Your helmet size is determined by the circumference of your head. Use a tape measure wrapped around your head above your ears and just above your eyebrows. Helmets will list their size in centimeters or inches.
  • Align the front of the helmet above your eyebrows and pull down snug.
  • Make sure the helmet contours to your head, with no unwanted gaps between the helmet lining and your head.
  • Make sure the back of the helmet does not touch the back of your neck.
  • The helmet should fit snug when you shake your head.
  • The helmet should be comfortable, so you won't be tempted to leave it in your duffle.

Hoigaard's carries a variety of helmets from Giro, R.E.D. by Burton, Salomon, Smith and POC. Our helmets include models for kids, recreational skiers and racers. Our expert staff can educate you on all the options and properly fit you to a helmet.

- Jim Lind