The snow has finally arrived and winter sports enthusiasts throughout Central Oregon are celebrating. As you head to the hill to enjoy the powder, it is important to remember that heavy crowds and changing snow conditions can pose a higher risk than usual. Accidents happen – but there are easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury when skiing or snowboarding. Step number one? A good helmet!
There is no concussion-proof helmet, but helmets do absorb the shock of impact during head trauma and protect your skull. It is still possible to suffer a head injury while wearing a helmet, but the severity of your injury will likely be much less. According to an article in the New York Times, studies have concluded that helmets reduce the risk of a serious head injury by as much as 60 percent.
Beyond protecting your head, helmets can help to block the sun from your eyes, keep snow out of your face, hold your goggles in place, and keep your head warm and shielded from the elements. As technology continues to advance, there are a multitude of features and accessories available for ski and snowboard helmets depending on what you’re looking for.
Here are some expert tips to choose the right helmet to protect your head:
- Always try on helmets in person when possible. Helmets should fit comfortably and sit on your head correctly for the best possible protection. For an even better fit, bring your goggles with you to try on with a few helmets.
- If you are ordering a helmet online, measure your head to make sure you choose the correct size. Use a tape measure to determine the circumference of the largest part of your head.
- You don’t want your helmet to be too tight or too loose. A well-fit helmet will be snug, but not uncomfortable. Your helmet is too loose if it can rock back and forth on your head, or if it shifts when you move your head from side to side.
- Your helmet should rest approximately ones inch above your eyebrows. There should not be a gap between your helmet and your goggles, but you also don’t want your helmet to push down on your goggles or effect your vision.
- No more than two fingers should fit under your chinstrap when the helmet is buckled. Always fasten the chinstrap before riding, and adjust the straps as needed.
- Make sure the helmet you choose meets all current snow helmet safety standards, such as the ASTM.
Choose a helmet in a style and color you like, with features that you prefer, so that you will actually want to wear it. For tips on helmet fitting for other sports, check out our medical blog.