You don’t need us to tell you that protecting your bonce is pretty important, but it’s amazing how many snowboarders don’t. However, a recent spate of high-profile injuries has seen helmets growing in popularity.
All World Snowboard Tour events now require riders to wear helmets. The market for body armour has also grown massively in recent years. Perhaps that’s because it’s getting lighter and more comfortable. Or maybe it’s just that more and more people are realising that hurting yourself isn’t much fun. Here are a few features to look out for in your next helmet – many of them apply to body armour too.
1. Protection standard stickers
These show that your helmet or body armour has been tested and meets certain product standards. A CE logo means it meets certain European Union safety requirements, which are expressed as EN numbers. A helmet might say CE EN 1077:2007 for example, which means it’s been rated to withstand impacts of a certain force (in this case 89 joules). You can get super geeky and look up what all the ratings mean (check satrappeguide.com) but essentially, if you can see a CE sticker with an EN number, it’s probably OK.
For a helmet to work properly, though, you need to choose the right size. A loose lid can easily get knocked off in a fall. Check the manufacturer’s size guide when researching your purchase, and be sure to try it on before you use it. If it feels a little loose, you can tighten it around the crown using a dial on the back.
If you usually ride with a beanie underneath then it’s especially important to double-check the size. If it sits too high on your head, then switch it for something bigger.
Ventilation is key. Make sure your helmet has plenty of vents – especially if you’re riding in the spring or you normally wear a hat underneath. Adjustable vents can help regulate temperature further.
4. Goggle straps or clips
Goggle straps and clips allow you to attach your goggles to the outside of the helmet. Though currently the real fashion Nazis generally wear the strap underneath! Either way, the shape of the helmet should be a good match for your goggles, so that everything’s comfortable and in place.
5. Removable earpads
If you like to keep warm, look for a model with earpads and a plush lining. But bear in mind it’s easy to get too hot in a helmet, so removable pads like these ones are a definite bonus.
6. Moisture wicking fabrics
Moisture wicking fabrics draw sweat away from the skin, making them more comfortable. Look for removable liners that you can stick in the wash before your helmet starts to stink!
The chin strap should feel comfy and be easy to get on and off. Some models feature magnetic clips which mean you can even do your helmet up in gloves.