How Should Ski And Snowboard Helmets Fit?
|How Should Ski And Snowboard Helmets Fit?
Helmet use for skiing and snowboarding has increased from 25% to 90% in the last two decades. That's a good thing, but there's a significant difference between wearing a helmet and wearing a helmet properly - and bad helmet fit is on the rise. This article will walk you through three simple actions that can help you stay safer and more comfortable on your next ski or snowboard vacation.
It's incredible to imagine that in the last two decades, helmet use for skiing and snowboarding has increased from 25% to 90%. That is a figure to be proud of, however even though wearing a helmet is becoming commonplace, not everyone is wearing a helmet that fits them. So, how do ski and snowboard helmets fit?
Properly fitted ski and snowboard helmets will lay flush to the head and feel tight but comfortable. Helmets that do not fit properly will move independently of the head when worn, but helmets that do fit properly will move in sync with the head even when unbuckled and unadjusted.
The "head shake" test, as it's so cleverly dubbed, is one of three procedures that every skier and snowboarder should know when shopping for a correctly fitting helmet. Let's take a look at each.
3 Steps to Choose A Perfect-Fitting Ski Or Snowboard Helmet
You might be shocked (or not) to learn how many individuals begin and conclude their hunt for a helmet with style and color coordination in mind.
Fit and safety are rarely considered, which, as you might expect, should be the main priority.
And, while appearing stylish should be a consideration, it should not be the determining reason.
Finding a helmet that fits well and looks amazing has never been easier. While the color and style are entirely up to you, here are three stages to assist you decide on fit.
1. Size And Shape
Even if you know your helmet size and are shopping for a new helmet, the following measures are always recommended. Like everything else in the ski and snowboard industry, each manufacturer has a distinct meaning of size, and even within the same brand, sizing can vary.
How to Know If Your Ski Or Snowboard Helmet Fits?
When you put the helmet on, you should feel air pumping out of the vents and sides of your head. That's a promising indicator. If not, try the next size up or a new model entirely.
Also, don't underestimate the usefulness of a helmet's vents - they do wonders for expelling heat and ultimately keeping you comfortable.
Perform The Shake Test
Once you've determined the proper size, perform the head shake test. This is where you'll find out if the helmet is snug enough to stay in place in an emergency.
Put on the helmet but do not fasten the chin strap. Then begin shaking your head side to side, or if you want to get into character, perform a gentler version of head-banging in a mosh pit.
Aside from bad jokes, if your helmet moves independently of your head, it's too loose.
But what does travelling independently imply? That's "independent" movement if you feel the helmet rubbing against your hair or squirm in and out of the position you started in.
When you gaze in the mirror, a loose-fitting helmet will lag behind your head movement.
A helmet that fits your head perfectly will not shift when you shake your head; it will move exactly as your head does, without rubbing the top of your head.
Also, if the helmet compresses your head or is just uncomfortable, yet it does not move independently, it is most certainly not a good fit.
You should still be at ease. And if this is you, try sizing up or double-checking that any adjustments on the rear of your helmet haven't been set.
Just a reminder that the entire test is performed without the chin strap fastened. That's up next
2. Chin Strap & Fit Adjustment System
After you've determined the proper helmet size and performed the head shaking test, it's time to put the final touches on your ideal fit, which is all about subtle changes for safety and comfort.
Adjusting both the chin strap and the fit adjustment mechanism is a two-for-one deal (if applicable).
Let's start with the chin strap since nothing else counts if it's not tight enough.
Adjusting The Chin Strap
Before you clasp the chin strap, grasp the two ends of the strap and give them a little tug to extract any slack out of the straps and tighten so there's no play.
You shouldn't have to yank hard to remove all the slack; a slight tug should enough.
Now that the chin strap is in the proper position, buckle it. It should pull the strap so that it rests where your throat and chin connect.
You should also not feel as if the strap is suffocating you. If you do, it's too tight and has to be adjusted.
It's too tight if you can't squeeze one finger between your chin/neck and the strap. It's too loose if you can squeeze more than two fingers between the strap and your chin/neck.
Once you've secured the chin strap, you may find that your helmet has slipped somewhat on your head. If it has, it's likely that it has to be modified utilizing the fit adjustment system, which has a million different names.
Adjusting The Fit System
Most, but not all, helmets feature a crank, ratchet, or slider on the rear that draws the helmet closer to your head or, in some circumstances, allowing the helmet to better "hug" the contours of your head.
Some of the modifications you'll make with this are personal choice, but it's particularly useful with apparel, like as a high-riding buff.
Or, whether you're having a bad hair day or grew your hair out in the off-season, there is a solution.
Adjust the fit system on your helmet until it feels snug from all angles - front to back and side to side.
There should be no pressure points. The helmet should feel comfortable on your head without being too loose or too tight.
3. Check The Fit Of Your Goggles
Not all goggles are compatible with helmets, and if you force the issue, you may jeopardize your helmet's efficacy for safety or, at best, have an uncomfortable ride.
Consider your goggles - bring them with you to the store, or read up on compatibility if you're purchasing online.
With that in mind, there are two things you should look for right now: the gaper gap and the side space.
What Is Gaper Gap?
The undesired space generated between the top of goggles and a ski or snowboard helmet is referred to as the gaper gap. It indicates that the helmet does not fit properly, maybe because it is too loose, or because the goggles do not fit properly to the helmet.
You want the space to be absolutely flush (or as near to it as possible), with the goggles not pressing into the helmet but also moving out to create a gap. Just neatly blooming close to each other.
Not to mention the gap might leave a great windburn or sunburn market, which doesn't help with any cool points. Aside from that, it's a technique to defend against frostbite, which is a major hazard to any exposed skin.
This point of fitting is easily remembered thanks to an old, yet hilarious and successful campaign called "Erase the Space."
You may only need to tweak the fit system or goggle strap, but an awful cause is incompatible goggles and helmets.
If you need new goggles, acquire them together with your helmet to ensure a proper fit.
As previously said, if you already have goggles, bring them with you when you buy a helmet. It's not strange - and it's a clever technique to get around this.
What's strange is the gaper gap.
A helmet that is compatible with goggles will fit firmly to the helmet and, in some circumstances, will have a small slot that the helmet's brim fits into, eliminating any unnecessary space.
Space On The Sides
You've got your helmet and goggles on, and there's no gaper gap in sight. Now comes the ultimate challenge of helmet fits: side space.
Ideally, you should have little to no room between the edges of your lens and your helmet, exactly like a gaper gap.
However, if that is not the case, here is a test you may do.
Place one of your index fingers in the area between the sides of your goggles and your helmet.
If it's a loose fit or you can get more than one finger in there, you've got the improper goggles/helmet combo.
That may be horrible news to hear, but knowing now is far preferable to dealing with some of the consequences.
This can affect safety by causing issues with peripheral vision. Check your range of vision while wearing both your helmet and goggles; you can imagine how hazardous restricted vision might be on the slopes.
The Right Fit Comfortably Reduces Gaps
It may appear like there is a lot to consider in order to acquire a helmet that fits well, but the overriding notion is simple: reduce gaps between your head/face and your gear (helmet and goggles) while being comfortable.
You now understand how a ski or snowboard helmet should fit, move, and conform to the curve of your head. It's naturally adaptable, allowing you to close the space between the nape of your neck and the helmet while tightening the chin strap to the right position of your chin and neck. Finally, your goggles and helmet system work together to reduce any weaknesses in your helmet's effectiveness or eyesight.
Even though that seems like a lot to consider when purchasing a ski or snowboard helmet, it will be worthwhile if you take the time and follow the three steps to discover one that fits properly.