We now require all children to wear ski helmets in our ski and snowboard lessons.
Here’s some ski helmet fitting advice and background to why more people are wearing ski helmets in the Portes du Soleil.
Some people may have had a close encounter or a sobering experience that reinforces the wearing of a helmet. In the US most people wear ski helmets, this may be partly due to high profile celeb head injuries and we may be seeing a trickle effect in France.
Many parents find the easiest way to persuade kids to wear a helmet is to wear a helmet themselves.
Being seen as a more adventurous skier may be one reason for increased helmet use. Ski resorts are now building more friendly progressions to snow parks and advise wearing a helmet when entering them. Just a few years ago, the parks were a no-go for a novice, with huge intimidating half pipes and kickers.
A few years ago Morzine saw the expansion of the Penguin Boarder Park for young kids. The resort was responding to the growing snowpark culture in establishing gentle introduction adventure ski zones, now Les Gets has followed suit with a new snowpark.
Avoriaz has expanded The Stash Snowpark and created the Lil’Stash for younger kids and adults kids wanting to progress and have fun.
Top Ten most important things to know before selecting ski helmets:
- Rent or buy? Renting can save on baggage allowance and carrying around. Many people will simply clip it to their hand luggage. Most ski rental shops in resort now rent helmets.
- A common mistake is to buy a helmet with “growing room” or pack it out with a beanie. This can be dangerous and uncomfortable. Get the right size! The only time you may want to bump up a size is if your child is in between sizes.
- The measurement: Ski helmets are usually sized in cm. Measuring your head with a tape is a good idea and speeds up selection. A fabric tape is best! Take the measurement just above your eyebrows around the circumference of the head . Many helmets now have a twisting knob at the back for fine adjustment.
- We all have different shaped heads so try a couple of models to find the right one. A well-fitting helmet should be snug and secure. Align the front rim above your eyebrows and check for gaps, padding should be flush against the head, not tight or headache inducing. Many companies will have a fine tuning system consisting of small changes in the padding or a twist ratchet at the back.
- Because helmets come in many different shapes, it is a good idea to keep the helmet on for a few minutes when trying on to ensure the one you have chosen is truly a good fit.
- Remember to take your goggles with you when selecting a helmet (or your glasses) to ensure your goggles are helmet friendly. Things to check: Do your goggles fit snugly against your face and not push down against your nose restricting breathing.
- It is generally a good idea to have it ventilated for temperature control (best if vents can be opened and closed).
- Ear Friendly – Check you can hear freely, ears are comfortable and you can do the strap up with ease. We find that uncomfortable helmets are less likely to be worn or can result in unhappy children.
- Check the ski helmets complies with one of these three standards..
- The Common European Norm (CEN 1077) first issued in 1996.
- The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), helmets which show that they have reached standard F2040.
- Snell Memorial Foundation, Snell RS-98 the most stringent helmet safety standard.
- Finally check: Give the helmet a twist and a wiggle, if the skin on the forehead moves then the helmet fits properly.