Fitting Helmets & Goggles

Fitting Helmets & Goggles

It sure is pretty – but does it fit right?

Last week I promised to share with you how Ski Patrol made out with their Guinness World Record attempt of simultaneous snow angels across the Country. The record was a big one to break, nearing 16,000. Unfortunately, with the participation of 48 resorts across the Country, we fell short of breaking the record. Here at Poley Mountain we are happy to report we had a turn-out of 198, having to turn away some late arrivals.

This week we’re going a bit technical on you, hopefully helping you with some basic questions on helmet fitting and what goggle lenses for what conditions. Let’s start with helmets…

To get started, use a soft measuring tape and wrap it around your head roughly 1” above your eyebrows and ears. You may be inclined to ask, ‘who has a soft measuring tape on hand?’ No problem! Assuming you don’t, take a piece of string, wrap that around your head, dig out your ruler or carpenter’s measuring tape and measure the piece of string. Problem solved.

Most helmets are measured in centimetres, so unless you love calculations, we recommend you use the centimetre side of the tape. For example, if your head measures 56cm, then you would choose the helmet with the 55-58cm scale, typically size medium. Keep in mind manufacturers may use different scales, so it is the centimetre measurement you want to pay attention to, not the size small, medium, large, etc…

Next step? Try the helmet on. Helmets should feel snug; a properly fitting helmet needs to be snug all the way around your head so to not move around. You should not have any excess space between your helmet and your head.

Now, “snug” can be subjective, so we want you to perform what we call the “shake test”. With the helmet still on your head, shake your head around. If the helmet moves on its own – it’s too big! Now, use your hand and move the helmet to the left, to the right, up and down. The skin on your head should move when the helmet moves.

What if you aren’t really sure – how do you know if the helmet is too tight? Firstly, be sure to pay attention to any pressure or pain points. If your head is feeling squeezed, or it doesn’t quite fit all the way down onto your head – it’s too small! A properly fitted helmet should fit comfortably on your head and remain comfortable for the duration of your day on the Mountain.

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is definitely true when considering your next helmet purchase. Some differences would include venting, hard shell versus soft shell, and helmet construction. Nearly all helmets have some form of open venting built into their design which allows for excess heat and moisture to escape. These systems are generally passive in that they cannot be adjusted personally. Different manufacturers set their venting systems in ways which reflect what they deem as necessary. On the flip side, helmets with adjustable venting systems provide the ability to open or close the vents to suit your personal needs. A variety of adjustable systems are used by the various manufacturers and include plugs, dials (most common) sliding mechanisms, and push buttons. Choosing a specific system is mostly up to you and your personal preference.

In terms of helmet construction, “in-mold” construction utilizes a thin, hard plastic outer shell that is molded to an EPS foam liner to absorb shock. This allows for less rebound during impact because it will collapse under a hard impact. This option is also considered to be light-weight. Thumbs up!

Hard Shell ABS construction uses a thick and tough plastic shell that is pre-formed and glued onto a pre-molded hard form interior. This design offers good protection that is still considered budget-friendly. Thumbs up!

Soft Shell helmets, also designed for a single hard impact, are additionally able to withstand less intense yet multiple impacts. Many now feature 2 foam densities, with a softer foam against your noggin transitioning to a harder foam against the outer shell. Thumbs up!

Some popular brands of snow sport helmets would include; Giro, Carrera, K2, and Marker. And finally, you are looking for the Safety Rating EN 1077A/B Snow Sports Helmets. These helmets are tested for blunt impact protection, sharp and pointed object penetration, chin strap resistance, area of coverage, field of vision and clearance between the head and shell.

Looks like we are out of space for this week. We will touch on “goggles” another day I guess. Don’t forget, Couples Night is Friday the 19th from 4-9pm and Family Night is Saturday the 20th from 4-9pm. We’re also promoting our revived Ribs N Ride, now on Saturday evenings from 4-9pm. For more info check-out

As written for the Kings County Record, February 16th Column 


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