Getting the right fit
When it's time to shop for your protective lid, heed this advice from reviewers.
This checklist will help ensure that your helmet fits well and is nuisance-free
on the slopes.
- Measure your head. Wrap a flexible
measuring tape around the crown of your head, just above your eyebrows, keeping
the tape measure as level as possible. Most helmets are sized in centimeters.
If you can't take the measurement in centimeters, measure in inches and then
multiply by 2.54 to convert to centimeters.
- Wear your beanie (or any other
headgear you intend to use) when you try on the helmet. If you have long
hair, wear it the way you intend to while skiing or snowboarding -- in
most cases, helmets don't leave room for a ponytail. A "beanie-compatible" helmet
usually has a removable liner that allows you to fine-tune insulation and
make room for a beanie.
- Bring your goggles with you when you
try on the helmet. The top of the goggles and the bottom of the helmet
should come together snugly, but the helmet shouldn't impede your vision
or push the goggles down.
- Test the ski helmet's fit by sliding
it back and forth on your head with the chinstrap fastened. The helmet
is too loose if your eyebrows don't move back and forth with the helmet,
and if it moves freely on your head when you either shake your head from
side to side or have somebody put one hand on the helmet and twist it
from side to side.
- Double-check the fit by fastening
the chinstrap and looking in the mirror to make sure the front
of the helmet covers your forehead. Shift the helmet around on your head to check
for any pinch or rub points, and make sure the lining fits snugly against
- Bring your MP3 player if you're purchasing
a ski helmet with a sound system. Check the sound quality before you
buy, or as soon as you get the helmet if you purchase online.
- Invest in a reasonably
light, comfortable helmet that you'll actually wear. A super-inexpensive
bargain ski helmet won't do you any good if it's so uncomfortable that
you leave it at home, and even the fanciest, most expensive snowboarding
helmet won't keep you safe if it's so heavy that you end up taking it
your old helmet after a serious crash, or if it shows
any visible cracking or damage to the outer shell or foam liner, but
don't throw the old one out. Many helmet manufacturers give a discount or credit toward purchasing
a new helmet if you return the damaged model.