Learning how to ski is hard. On top of that, you still have to think about the equipment you need to wear. For some beginners, the pressure of buying the ski gears is even bigger than the pressure from learning how to ski itself. Many instructors and pros make such a huge deal over the gears, or at least, look like they do. If you go to an outdoor or sports store which sells ski gears, you’ll find there are tons of stuff to choose from which actually make you confuse even more. On top of that, the sales person seems to just point out the most expensive products as the best product.
And just like the other ski gears, ski helmets are no different. There are many kinds of helmets out there to choose from. Though ski helmets supposedly consist of three types, the companies nowadays got more and more creative and somehow expand those three types into tens of types. Some say you get what you buy. In ski helmets case, I’d say they aren’t necessarily true. Just like other products in the market, the best way to know which the best is by reading reviews. In modern days like now, looking for a review means ask Google what it thinks. On the internet, you’ll find zillions of reviews for ski helmets. They all might mention the same products and some might (I guarantee will) mention completely different products. So, how do we know which one is the best ski helmet?
Which review is correct?
Well, before reading any review, we must remember that the main function of a ski helmet is for protection. This means the best product should have been the safest, or at least has a very high safety ranking. There are two major ski helmet safety certifications you need to know: ASTM F2040 and CE EN1077. The ASTM F2040 is US based certification for non-motorized recreational snow sports. The CE EN1077, on the other hand, is a European certification for alpine skiing and snowboarding helmets. Some helmets have either one of the certification, some have both. The ASTM, however, is considered to be stricter than the CE EN1077. Therefore, a lot of helmets which met the CE EN1077 standards won’t necessarily met the ASTM standards. Knowledge of this will be useful when you read some reviews which mention helmets’ safety certifications. You’ll know the comparison between a helmet with ASTM certification and CE EN1077 one.
After completing its main function, we can now move on to some other aspects of “best ski helmet”. Reviews usually use five to six factors (other than safety) to review a ski helmet. Those factors usually are comfort, weight, warmth, ventilation, goggle compatibility, and style with the most important usually are comfort and weight.
Comfort is usually the main factor for someone in choosing a product. In a ski helmet review, however, it’s rather tricky because the comfort between a person to another can be very different. Let me explain. In ski helmets cases, comfort has so much to do with the shape of the helmet and its compatibility with the shape of the user’s head. And the shape of people’s head, of course, is varied. Some products have tendencies to make a more oval shape of helmets. Some prefer their products to be more round. The others choose to make their helmets be long-oval. With problems like this, reviews usually tend to downplay shape based comfort and focus more on whether the helmet hurt their head or not (is the padding too soft or too hard).
The second factor is weight. There is a contradiction in this factor. In the case of protection gears, greater weight and greater bulk usually mean protection. However, this can backslap us if the helmet becomes too heavy to wear. Not only it will make you uncomfortable, it will also put too much pressure on your head, thus hurt it more rather than protect it. What makes each helmet weigh differently is based on the materials they used. A heavier material isn’t necessarily better in protecting than a lighter one. A helmet made of EPS, for example, has the same impact resistance level than a helmet made of ABS. ABS, however, is heavier than EPS. Though not that different in impact resistance factor, EPS made helmets are different than the ABS ones. They are more expensive.