We all know that not everyone uses their head as much as they should but this is no reason to not protect it. All joking aside, having a helmet that is properly fitted and suited to your activities can mean the difference between life and death. Its just a matter of how well you ride, it is also a matter of how well the people around you ride.
Just like the difference between a free style and a free ride snowboard, there are a lot of differences between helmet styles. The purpose of any helmet is the same, to keep your head safe, warm and comfortable but how each helmet does this and the requirements of the helmets vary depending upon the type of riding you are doing.
The first thing to look for with any helmet is the standard used to certify its safety performance. Helmets should carry a CE, ASTM or Snell RS-98 certification. The ASTM standard is one of the more common standards and is determined by a battery of tests on helmets. These tests include the strength of a helmet’s retention system under simulated hot, cold and wet conditions and multiple impacts and velocity forces against various sections of the helmet to determine it’s performance in snowboarding accidents.
Once you have identified a safe helmet you can begin looking for the features that you need. Each year manufacturers are coming up with new designs but generally the focus is making lighter, more durable and more fashionable helmets as to reduce the resistance with first-time buyers. Also, helmet companies are trying to construct helmets that can be used for multiple activities such as climbing, skating and cycling.
One thing you will have to decide is if you want a full or partial helmet. A full shell helmet provides complete coverage of your head and seals out wind, precipitation and other elements normally encountered on the slopes. These are recommended if you are planning to do a lot of tricks or some faster snowboarding. A short shell helmet offers comparable protection to full shell styles, but give less coverage and have a less armored and constrictive feel as well as venting and removable liners. This is the model you want if you are uncomfortable with a full helmet. There are a few helmets that could be considered competition or hybrid helmets. With these helmets you have the option of adding extra pieces such as chin protection if you are going into competition or riding very tough areas.
Of course the most important thing when buying a helmet is that it fits properly on your head. It should be comfortable and offer you the best protection based upon your riding style. The following things are things to verify before purchasing your helmet.
- Measure your head. Your helmet size is determined by the circumference of your head and is measured by wrapping a tape measure around your head.
- Check for Gaps. Make sure there are no unwanted gaps between the helmet lining and your head. Also, make sure the back of the helmet does not touch the back of your neck.
- Snugness. Your helmet should fit snugly and when shaking your head should not move.
- Goggle Test. Bring along your favorite pair of goggles and make sure they fit properly on your helmet.
Keep in mind that the producers of helmets all have different ideas on the shape of a human head. Although the size might be right, the shape of the helmet mind not fit your particular style scull. Be sure to try various helmets from various manufacturers to get the best possible fit.
If you keep these things in mind you are sure to get the correct helmet that will provide the ideal protection for snowboarding and possibly other activities as well. Your safety is not something to be taken lightly; one mistake by anyone on the hill is all it takes to cause permanent damage or death. Do not risk injury to yourself and get a suitable helmet. A properly fitting and styled helmet will not only protect you but will also be comfortable to wear all day long.