Can you snowboard wearing a skateboard helmet?
While skateboard and snowboard helmets may appear similar, they are actually designed to perform very different functions.
Falling on a snowboard differs from falling on a skateboard!
The main distinction between snowboard and skateboard falls is the speed at which you are traveling. A snowboard can easily reach speeds in excess of 50mph, whereas a skateboard will likely never exceed 20mph. Even inexperienced snowboarders will soon be reaching speeds greater than
This means that the risk of serious impact injury is much higher when riding a snowboard. At these speeds, the risk of colliding with another skier/snowboarder, a tree, or a rock increases significantly.
The faster you can go on a snowboard, the bigger the jumps you can do! The average recreational skateboarder will rarely get more than a few feet off the ground, whereas jumps in the snowpark on a snowboard will start at around 5 feet and progress up to 80+ feet on the pro-line.
Differences in helmet design
Snowboard helmets are designed to resemble skate helmets, but this is more for fashion than function. Snowboarders used to not want to look like skiers with big, bulky helmets, preferring to reflect their skateboarding roots.
But, aside from the overall appearance, what are the design differences?
Earpads are included with all ski/snowboard helmets. Obviously, the mountains can get much colder than the skate park! So you're going to need something to keep your ears warm.
Many riders take off their earpads and wear a beanie and goggles underneath their helmet. You could wear a skate helmet in the same way, but there are other benefits to wearing a snowboard helmet instead...
Snowboard helmets are far more insulated than skate helmets. They must not only protect your head, but also keep it warm! They accomplish this by using an insulated liner, which adds warmth and comfort.
When shopping for a helmet, look for one with a lot of vents that can be opened to let some air in and keep your head from overheating. Skate helmets have numerous ventilation holes, but they cannot be closed if it becomes cold!
A goggle clip is another feature that a skate helmet lacks. This is a clip on the back of the helmet that keeps the goggles in place. Again, you can get around this by wearing the goggles over a beanie and under your helmet.
Most snowboard helmets include some method of fine-tuning the fit so that the helmet is both comfortable and securely held onto your head. This is important because if you fall, you may tumble for a long distance, and you don't want your helmet to fall off.
Skate helmets are typically just a basic shell held in place by a chin strap. This is suitable for the occasional fall on a skateboard but is ineffective for snowboarding.
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The most significant distinction between skateboard and snowboard helmets is in the standards to which they are tested. Skateboard and snowboard helmets are not subjected to the same testing procedures or standards as snowboard helmets.
The ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) F2040 safety standard is used to test ski and snowboard helmets. Skateboard helmets, on the other hand, have a different standard (ASTM F1492-15).
The primary distinction in the testing is that snow helmets are:
- Impact at higher speeds was tested.
- Tested in various climatic conditions (cold/warm/wet).
This is the only instance where the skateboard helmet triumphs. As you might expect, the price difference is proportional to the number of features available. A standard skateboard helmet will cost you around $50. Snowboard helmets, on the other hand, start around $80 and can cost well over $300.
As we've seen, there are numerous distinctions between snowboard and skate helmets.
The most significant difference, in my opinion, is the more secure fit that a snowboard helmet provides. This will secure the helmet in place, allowing it to do its job as you ragdoll down the mountain!
It may be tempting to save money by simply using your skate helmet. However, if you want to save money, renting a helmet is a much better option than purchasing one.