Knowing your limits is the best way to prevent getting into situations out of your control where you’re more likely to have a wipe-out. However, even the most experienced mountain riders have taken a spill on a green run. One of my worst wipe-outs came from an end-of-day green ski-out in Whitefish Mountain Resort. I was cruising along at full speed and out of nowhere caught an edge; before I knew it my head bounced off the groomer and I was sliding face down the run. FORTUNATELY, I was wearing a helmet & had nothing more than a few scratches. UNFORTUNATELY, I fell directly under the chair and had to pick myself off the ground while listening to the laughs of those heading up the lift. Brain = safe, Ego = damaged forever.
We know the mountains are called the Rockies for a reason; the last thing you want to do is meet a rock head-on with no protection. Game over.
Levels of Protection
How protective are helmets? OneCanadian study found that the risk of head injuries decreased overall by 29% while severe head injuries decreased by 56%. AnotherNorwegian study found that helmets reduced the chance of head injury by 60%.
Unfortunately, no helmet will prevent all injuries; so if you want to remain healthy and enjoy your days on the slopes, know your limits, stay in control, and wear a helmet!
Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets for 2021/22
Choosing a helmet can be difficult, and you shouldn’t just pick the best-looking helmet or the helmet that can fit the most stickers on it (everyone likes a good helmet sticker collection). In no particular order, here are a few great options if you’re looking for a new helmet this season:
Smith says: When you're dedicated to skiing or riding all season long, little things make a big difference when it comes to comfort, safety, and durability. The Smith Vantage helmet is loaded with tech that makes a difference. Zonal Koroyd™ complements MIPS® for energy-absorbing impact protection to give you confidence while exploring in or out of bounds. The hybrid shell enhances day-to-day durability and includes a full 21 vents with dual adjustability that lets you fine-tune airflow to meet the conditions. As for fit, The Vantage uses the BOA® 360 Fit System for the ability to micro-adjust the size around your whole head with the turn of a dial. Add the proven Smith AirEvac™ tech for a fog-free goggle interface, and you have a helmet to match your dedication. Price: CAD 280-320
Smith says: If you spend more days on the mountain than off, the Smith Quantum is your helmet for bomber protection season after season. In addition to a hybrid shell that adds durability, the Quantum's secret comes from using Koroyd® throughout the helmet, a fully-vented material that absorbs more energy in a crash than traditional foam construction alone. Add MIPS® for increased safety during angled impacts, and you have our most advanced helmet design. Since all this protection is useless if you don't want to wear it, we dialled up the comfort level with a system that micro-adjusts around your whole head. A sweat-wicking, odour-fighting liner keeps you warm, while an easily adjustable 22-vent design lets you adjust airflow as needed. Price: CAD 350
Salomon says: When you want to go higher in the mountains, less weight means more altitude. The MTN Lab is exceptionally light so you can take it on every expedition, and it meets the safety norms for both Alpine and Mountaineering. This is the go-to helmet for backcountry fanatics in 2021/22. Price: CAD 199.00
Smith says: A quiver of one. The Holt helmet serves up all-season certification, so you can reach for one helmet to cover you from terrain park to skate park or backcountry kicker. Smith's bombshell construction means it holds up to the hard knocks of living the life. Plenty of vents keep the air flowing and your goggles fog-free. Add the audio of your choice for inspired sessions, or pull the ear pads for room to breathe during the summer season. Price: CAD 90, currently on sale for 45
Giro Says: The Zone Mips® features innovative Hybrid Construction, which combines the ding-resistant durability of a Hard Shell upper with the lighter weight of In-Mold Construction lower and sidewalls. The Zone Mips is packed with amenities including the In Form 2 Fit System; a quick-fit Vertical Tuning adjustment system for proper helmet positioning; Mips technology; fully adjustable venting; Fidlock magnetic buckle closure; and a sleek, integrated POV camera mount. Price: CAD 280
Gregory Louie, Doctor of Physical Therapy (aka @the_ski_pt on Insta) discusses some simple ski exercises and workouts you can do to help prevent knee injuries this season! Greg specializes in building ski-specific strength & conditioning programs and helping injured skiers with their rehab. His unique niche has given opportunities for him to work with the U.S. Ski Team as a volunteer medical provider.