The right fit: Tips on buying a helmet
Pink, blue, racing stripes or stars. There are plenty of ski and snowboard helmets out there to fit a person’s individual style.
More important, however, is how a helmet fits a person’s head.
Craig Peterson is a corporate buyer for Christy Sports, which has teamed up with the nonprofit agency “It Ain’t Brain Surgery” to provide free helmet rentals with every ski or snowboard rental.
Peterson has a few tips for skiers and snowboarders in the market for a helmet:
– Buyers should look for a helmet that has been rated for safety. Most helmets sold at Christy Sports have an ASTM, or American Society for Testing and Materials, approval rating. Other ratings include the European standard, CE or Snell standard. The difference? Peterson summed it up by saying that ASTM and Snell rated helmets have passed impact tests. The European standard also looks at the likelihood a sharp object could penetrate your head, for example, through ventilation slots.
– A helmet should fit snugly all the way around your head. “You want to make sure the helmet is snug enough so that when you tilt your head forward, it doesn’t slide over your eyes,” Peterson said. Some helmets come with insertable pads to adjust the tightness.
– The most common mistake people make is wearing their helmet too far back. The front rim of the helmet should be right above your eyebrows. Also, if the chin strap slides around, you need a different helmet.
– Try on several types of helmets. Some are lighter or provide more ventilation. Some brands are better suited for a particular head shape. Boeri brand helmets have four different fits, Peterson said. Giro brand helmets are known for being extremely light and well-ventilated, he said.
– Already have a helmet? Notice any cracks or dents? If you’ve taken a bad fall recently, it’s probably time to get a new helmet.
Peterson has noticed a significant increase in helmet sales in the last few years, particularly among older skiers and snowboarders. It used to be that 80 percent of helmet sales were for children or young teens.
“Now we sell 75-percent adult-sized helmets,” he said.