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Buying Guide - Snowsports Helmets

The number of people wearing helmets for skiing and snowboarding has been on the increase and improvements in technology and design have increased the protection and comfort offered by modern helmets. Though not popular with everyone, wearing a helmet does significantly reduce your risk of head injury and should be an option every skier and snowboarder considers. 

As with many things, a good fit is key when picking a helmet. As well as causing annoyance and distraction, a  poorly fitted helmet will not offer the same level of protection in the event of an accident. All manufacturers offer slightly different shapes and sizes of helmets so it is worth trying a few types to see which fits best. Many helmets are also adjustable to improve the fit. 

Helmets sizing is measured by circumference. To work out your size take a soft tape measure and take a measurement around the head, just above the eyebrows. See our helmet size chart for manufactures measurements. 

How a helmet should fit:

A well fitted helmet should sit low enough to cover the forehead and should feel snug but not be uncomfortable. Ensure that it does not rock forward over the eyes by pushing forward and back and shake your head to check that there is no sideways movement. If there is, tighten the adjuster or try a smaller size. Press up on the front and back of the helmet to check that it does not lift, if it does, tighten the straps.

Different Helmet Types:

Snowsports helmets are constructed in two ways which has an affect on their price. The lower-cost construction model are injection moulded helmets which consist of a durable outer shell bonded with an EPS Foam Liner.

The more expensive method is to directly fuse the EPS Foam Liner with a Polycarbonate outer shell which results in a lighter, more ventilated helmet. 

It is important to note that another type of safety headwear, the hard hat is available and usually sold alongside snowsports helmets. These hardhats are designed to protect the wearer from repetitive impacts but they do not meet the same safety standards as a full snowsports helmet.

Fit with goggles

An important consideration is how your goggles will fit with your helmet. Most goggles are helmet compatible but this does not necessarily mean that they will fit with your helmet. Manufacturers who build both goggles and helmets will usually ensure that their products fit well together. If you haven't bought either choose the helmet first and a pair of goggles that go well with it. If you already have your goggles, take them with you to the shop and try them with the helmets. 


Helmets have a lifespan and most manufacturers recommend retiring a helmet after around 3 years of normal use. If your helmet begins to show signs of damage or if it sustains a significant impact it should be retired immediately. In cases of an impact the helmet may not show signs of damage but the EPS Foam may have been compressed and will not absorb the shock from a second impact, therefore providing next to no protection. Some helmet manufacturers such as Giro offer a helpline to advise whether a helmet should be retired.

Helmets can also be damaged by leaving them in direct UV light or by over heating. When not in use they should be stored in a dark, cool area. A helmet bag is also a good method of protection for transporting your helmet.