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How to Choose a Snowboard Helmet



Your helmet should fit snugly without squeezing your head. If your helmet feels loose when you shake your head, it's too big. Most helmets are adjustable and use Boa dials, sliders, or pads to ensure a good fit. Measure your head and use the manufacturer's size chart to get the best fit.


Most helmets feature an outer ABS plastic shell lined with 'hard' EPS foam, and feature either in-mold or injection-molded construction. These helmets are designed to absorb the impact from a single catastrophic event, after which they should be discarded. A few manufacturers (like Bern) offer helmets that are lined with a 'soft' foam that's useful for multiple low-intensity hits, but these aren't rated to the same safety standard.


Most helmets, aside from perhaps skate-style park helmets, feature some kind of venting to keep your head cool and comfortable. Venting systems vary, but usually consist of outlets that allow hot air to escape and inlets that allow cooler air to enter. Often venting can be controlled with sliders or with drop-in plugs.


If you like listening to music when you ride, or simply want hands-free convenience on phone calls, look for ear flaps or attachments that add audio capabilities to your helmet. Some helmets come with audio already built in, while others are simply audio-compatible, with speaker units available separately.

How to Choose a Snowboard Helmet

The Most Important Piece of Gear You'll Ever Own

Whether you prefer the park, powder or groomers, there’s always the risk of hitting your head during a crash. Although wearing a helmet does not guarantee protection from a head injury, it’s been shown that wearing one can reduce the incidence and severity of numerous types of head injuries. When choosing your helmet, fit should be the primary factor that guides your decision. After fit, the other element informing your choice is construction—how the helmet is made. Regardless of your ultimate decision, helmets are not designed to sustain multiple impacts. You should destroy and replace your helmet following a serious fall.


If the helmet doesn't fit, it won’t offer the protection you need (and may become a potential source of injury). Slip on your new helmet and give your head a good shake. If the helmet moves independent of your head, it’s too big and it doesn't fit.


Three types of helmet construction predominate the marketplace: injection-molded, in-mold, and hybrid. Injection-molded is often the least expensive option while in-mold helmets are often lighter and sleeker. Hybrid construction offers extended durability and it feels light atop your head.