It used to be that only pros and people who went off into the backcountry to do crazy stuff wore a helmet. Recreational skiers and snowboarders tended to stay away from them.

But nowadays, after some high profile celebrity accidents, media campaigns and helmets being made compulsory in snowdomes and a few resorts across the world, helmets have become a staple piece of ski and snowboard kit.

If you've read our piece on the facts about wearing a hemlet, you will know that while wearing a helmet could well reduce a concussion, and will save you from cuts, bruises and having to get stitches in your head.

But the fact of the matter is, people don't really like wearing helmets, they can be really expensive, they're not very cool, and they make your head feel massive.

So if you're thinking about investing in some head protection, check out our top tips to make sure you buy a helmet that you'll love forever (or, just feel indifferent about...).


It's really easy to find cheap stuff on the internet, but while you wouldn't buy, say, a pair of ski boots without trying them on, the same is true for helmets.

Badly fitting helmets can cause more harm than good, so it's important to know you have a well fitting one before forking out loads of cash.

Our heads come in all shapes and size, as do helmets; there isn't a universal sizing guide the way there is for shoes. So before you start typing in Cheap Helmets... get down to your local shop and see what they have to offer.

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When trying on helmets, take your beanie, goggles and whatever else you would usually wear on your head, to get a good idea of how your helmet will fit with your gear.

Wear your hair the same way you usually would with a helmet, too. The last thing you want is to get home and realise your helmet and goggles aren't compatible, leaving you with a massive gap.

If it's your first helmet, try some different goggle/sunglasses/beanie/ear-flap combos to find the most comfortable (and aesthetically pleasing) fit.

Some people wear their goggles over their helmets, some prefer them under - it's totally up to you!

Don't feel like you need to leave the ear-flaps in either - the chances of getting a tree branch through the ear canal are pretty minimal, and you can usually hear better with a beanie under your helmet instead.


It's easy to think that a helmet fits well in the shop, only to realise that it doesn't fit at all when you start riding.

Your helmet should fit your head snugly; there shouldn't be any pressure points, or big gaps, and it shouldn't wobble around when you move your head.

There should be as small a gap as possible between your goggles and helmet, and if it keeps slipping back, making the gap bigger, then it's probably to big.

Of course, if it's a bit big, you can pad it out by wearing a beanie, or the extra padding that usually comes with a new helmet, but if the back of the helmet rests on the back of your neck, this usually means it's too big which can be really dangerous if you have a nasty fall.

If it keeps moving around even with a beanie or extra padding, try going a size smaller.

Boa systems can be really useful if you're struggling to find a good fit, and mean that you have a little bit of versatility in size if you want to wear different beanies underneath.

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When it comes to helmets, the simpler the better.

Many helmet manufacturers try to make their helmets look cool by adding peaks and lots of air vents and bright colours, but that usually makes them look worse.

In the long run you're more likely to get a new jacket than a new helmet, and will wear different hoodies in the spring, so having a plain and simple helmet that goes with everything is always a good idea.

Furthermore, it might seem like a good idea to buy a really brightly coloured helmet with lots of pictures on it at the time, but chances are, you might not like it any more after a season, so we recommend keeping it cool and easy.


A lot of people will complain that wearing a helmet increases the circumference of your head, making you more likely to hit it while you're riding, so it's a good idea to wear your helmet all the time.

This way you'll get used to the way it feels while you're riding and you'll know to account for the the size of it when you fall - just think turtle!

Wearing your helmet all the time, (as opposed to, say, just on powder days) also means that you'll end up feeling more comfortable in it, until you don't want to go riding without it.

That's when you'll know it's safely assimilated itself into a staple piece of kit!

If you're feeling a bit stuck for inspiration, look out for our guide to the most awesome helmets of 2015...