Ski helmet
A ski helmet or snowboard helmet is a protective head covering
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

 specifically designed and constructed for wintersports, often insulated against cold weather. Design includes the ability to withstand multiple impacts. This protective gear comes in different styles and types - full shell, short shell, and full face models. A ski helmet must be properly fitted to provide maximum protection, performance and comfort.

In addition to providing protection, some newer helmets come with built-in earpad speakers for listening to portable music devices.

Safety standards

Certification standards include ASTM, CEN 1077, Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell)
Snell Memorial Foundation
The Snell Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created to provide a high quality standard of safety for helmets. Founded in 1957, SMF is named after William "Pete" Snell, a popular sports car racer who died in 1956 of head injuries he received when the racing helmet he wore failed...

 RS-98 and S-98.ASTM and Snell's ski helmet standards are similar, Snell tests helmets obtained by purchase from randomly chosen retailers, testing the characteristics of the helmet as manufactured.

The risks

An average of 40.6 people per year have died while skiing or snowboarding in the US during the past 10 years, 0.64 deaths per million skier/snowboarder visits.” Most head injuries (74%) occur when skiers hit their head on the snow, 10% when they collided with other skiers, and 13% when they collided with fixed objects. In 188 skiing and snowboarding related deaths, 108 of these had head injury as the primary cause of death.

Evidence for effectiveness

A meta-analysis
In statistics, a meta-analysis combines the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a common measure of effect size, for which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-analyses. Here the...

 of twelve studies found that those wearing a helmet were about two-thirds as likely to suffer a head injury as were those not wearing a helmet, strongly suggesting that helmets reduce the risk of head injury among skiers and snowboarders. There was no increase of neck injuries among wearers. Helmet wearers have claimed that they skied/snowboarded at slower speeds and challenged themselves less than non-helmet wearers.

Evidence for lack of effectiveness

Criticism of helmets include risk compensation
Risk compensation
In ethology, risk compensation is an effect whereby individual people may tend to adjust their behavior in response to perceived changes in risk. It is seen as self-evident that individuals will tend to behave in a more cautious manner if their perception of risk or danger increases...

- where wearers attempt slightly more dangerous practices. “There is no evidence they reduce fatalities,” according to Dr. Jasper Shealy. “We are up to 40 percent usage but there has been no change in fatalities in a 10-year period.” Helmeted skiers tend to go faster.


California is currently the only US state in which helmet use during snow sports is compulsory, and only for participants 18 years and under. The current recommendation by the National Ski Areas Association is for participants to wear a helmet but to ride as if they’re not.

Vail Resorts, in the United States, now requires helmet wear for their employees, as well as for children under 12 participating in formal classes.
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