Ski helmets are generally constructed in three main ways. Construction methods are constantly being developed and you can find hybrids of technologies but for the purposes of this blog, we are concentrating on the three main technologies widely found across the main ski brands who specialise in ski helmet research and development.
The shell is the main part of the ski helmet that is designed to protect you. The shell is designed to absorb both impact and sharp, blunt forces caused by collisions or falls where you hit your head on ice or protruding rocks.
Hard shell ski helmets are constructed with a durable ABS shell and a lightweight EPS liner bonded together. This type of ski helmet is extremely hard-wearing and is a highly effective safety combination: impact-resistant outside, shock absorbing and insulating inside. Due to their construction they tend to have less vents.
In-mould construction uses an impact resistant polycarbonate outer shell with the impact-absorbing EPS foam liner being foamed directly into the polycarbonate shell. This combination of shell and liner results in a better ventilation system, has good durability without excess weight
MIPS is an enhanced safety feature integrated into an ABS hard shell ski helmet. MIPS reduces rotational forces on the brain caused by hitting your head at an angle. In a MIPS helmet the shell and the liner are separated by a low friction layer. The “slip” layer moves only a couple of mm during the impact but it absorbs the rotational force instead of the force being transferred to the brain.
Pro’s and Con’s Summary:
Hard Shell – Tends to be bulkier in design, less vents, heavier but a cheaper price and longer lifetimes
In-Mould – Better ventilation systems, lighter weight but slightly more expensive
MIPS – Can further protect the brain in certain types of falls, more expensive
To conclude, remember that all ski helmets must conform to stringent industry standards (European CE1077or American ASTM F 2040) and wearing a ski helmet will protect your head during a fall or collision. So rest assured, whatever your budget, wearing a ski helmet could save you or your childs life or dramatically reduce serious brain injuries.
Tess Bradshaw October 2016