Many people can say that the legs are the most important part of a ski tourer’s body and that we pay the most attention to. We think about choosing the right boots, we are looking for skis tailored to our style of skiing, but the head turns out to be the most important for our tour. Here is a short guide on how to choose a helmet to be able to enjoy a safe trip.
We should start by explaining a few differences between a touring helmet and a helmet intended for climbing or typically skiing. First, weight. When we compare the weight of a climbing helmet to a ski helmet, it seems obvious that this ski helmet will weigh more. This is not surprising as a ski helmet is usually more insulated, thicker and has a larger surface area to cover the back of the head. In addition to the thicker insulation layer in the ski helmet, there are less openings in it that allow our head to be ventilated. Another element of the helmet that does not exist in climbing helmets are the ear muffs, which also play an important role when it comes to protecting the sides of the head. So where does the real touring helmet fit into all of this? It is a hybrid between the two types of helmets, ensuring an adequate level of safety when skiing, while maintaining the lightness and greater airiness of a climbing helmet.
Another difference is the durability of such helmets. Each helmet approved for sale should have the appropriate number of approvals. They confirm whether it protects against blows and their strength. Climbing helmets meet the standards for safe use while climbing (EN 12492, UIAA 106), but they are not adapted to the risks of a fall while skiing. So it’s important not to use them on your ski tour! In addition, when choosing a helmet, you should check whether the helmet meets the EN 1077A or B standard, which are also used for classic ski helmets. In both variants of this standard, the back of the head is covered, and they differ only in the protection of the ears, in which a helmet with a standard A will protect them, while a helmet with a standard B will leave them uncovered.
For several years, manufacturers have been looking for solutions that will combine both the safety of ski helmets and the lightness of climbing helmets. It started in the 2016/2017 season with changes to the regulations introduced by the International Ski Federation (ISMF). Currently, we can find helmets that meet the above-mentioned standards, but weigh much less than ski helmets, and have more advanced cooling systems that prevent our head from overheating when climbing. Another common procedure is the removable ear muffs of the ski touring helmet, which helps to adapt it to the type of activity. It is worth mentioning that you can successfully use ski helmets for touring because they meet these standards, but unfortunately they are usually heavier than touring helmets.
We hope that your head will not overheat during the hardship of choosing a helmet. At the very end, it is worth adding that the best way to measure and adjust the helmet in the store is than to order it online. It is important that it is comfortable and well-fitted to our head so that it can fulfill its task. We spend so much time finding the perfect boots or skis and it is likely that the helmet will last a lot longer. We wish that, despite frequent trips to the mountains, it turned out to be just an accessory on your head 😊