The risk of head injuries for snowboarders is much lower than it is for other extreme sports. But does that mean you can skip the helmet?
Let’s see what the experts say.
Does Wearing A Helmet While Snowboarding Reduce Head Injuries?
A 2015 study conducted by ASTM International looked at the prevalence of helmet wearing among skiers from 1996 to 2012. They noted that the number of skiers wearing helmets had increased from 8% to 84%, and that the number of reported head injuries and potentially serious head injuries decreased.
The percentage differences were minor, but still noteworthy.
A similar analysis was conducted by the NHS in the United Kingdom. They looked at a study that claimed wearing a helmet could reduce head injuries by up to 59% in children and 35% in adults, before concluding that it had “several shortcomings”, and didn’t paint a clear picture of what defined a head injury.
The NHS ultimately concluded that the risk of head injuries from skiing and snowboarding are very low, and similar conclusions have been drawn elsewhere.
Experts note that while wearing helmets does seem to reduce the risk of bumps, cuts, and other minor issues, there isn’t much change with regard to concussions and traumatic brain injuries. In fact, they argue that helmets are most effective at protecting against low-speed collisions but note that most collisions occur above the speed at which a helmet can be beneficial.
But does that mean you can leave the helmet at home? Well…it depends.
Should Snowboarders Wear Helmets?
It has been argued that ski and snowboard helmets may impair vision and increase the risk of a crash. However, most people who refuse to wear a helmet do so for aesthetic or comfort reasons, in which case you need to ask yourself, is it worth risking my health for the sake of “looking cooler?”
The risk of head injury might be low. But the risk of a car crash is also low, and yet you still wear a seatbelt. The risk of a plane crash is incredibly low, and yet planes are equipped to keep you alive in the event of a crash. The idea is to negate the risks when they exist, no matter how small they are.
And if wearing a helmet means you can reduce the risk of a serious head injury—one that could at best leave you in hospital for days and at the worst end your life—it’s worth it.
Is it mandatory to wear a helmet when snowboarding?
Helmets are not mandated by resorts in order to snowboard on their slopes. Not at least as far as we have seen. Maybe the better question to ask yourself is, “Should you wear a helmet”. We think the answer is yes as you can tell.
Why? Really?! Hmp. Ok, here we go:
- Fact: Bears eat beets.
- Fact: Head injuries happen.
- Fact: Head injuries can be prevented or mitigated by wearing a helmet.
- Fact: You will look cool wearing your helmet compared to the other guy with a traumatic brain injury because he didn’t wear a helmet.
- Fact: Snowboarding accidents are just that … accidents … unplanned events … things out of your control. Get it?
- Fact: You may be more apt to push your limits (appropriately) with the added protection of a helmet. Yes, you can be a better snowboarding because of your helmet.
- Fact: Even the best riders fall. How do you think they became the best snowboarders? They tried things, they fell, they were OK, they tried things again. They were probably wearing a helmet.
What is the difference between a ski and snowboard helmet?
Helmets for skiing can be used for snowboarding and vice versa. It’s mostly a question of aesthetics. Go rock that faux mohawk as you bomb the hill on skis or a snowboard.
Can you use A motorcycle helmet snowboarding?
No. Don’t wear a motorcycle helmet, a bike helmet or a skateboarding helmet snowboarding. Get the right helmet for snowboarding. Protect your head.
Can you wear a beanie under a helmet?
No, you should not wear a beanie, a hat or anything else under your helmet. Anything the goes between your head and your helmet will compromise the fit of the helmet and the protection it is designed to provide.
Summary: Wear a Helmet
A snowboarding helmet is not like a bike helmet. With the former, you’re protecting against other riders and even your own board, as well as any obstacles you may encounter on the way. With the latter, you’re protecting against the ground, and need that protection every time that you fall.
It’s fair to say that the two are not the same. A bike helmet is 100% necessary at all times and there is no disputing that. A snowboarding helmet, arguably, is just not as useful. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear one.
As noted above, while the risk is low, it’s still there, and that should be enough reason to buy and wear a helmet.
In fact, most snowboarding instructors now wear them and also insist that their students wear them. They may also be mandatory at certain resorts.
So, if you’re heading for the slopes, wear a helmet!