Helmets are essential for almost any kind of winter sport, as this infographic shows.

Why is Skiing or Snowboarding without a Helmet Dangerous?

For one, you can hit a tree.  That’s how most skiing head injuries occur.  Even intermediate skiers hit 30-43 km/h on a well-groomed slope.  If you hit an object at that speed you can get a concussion, many bruises, or even die.

Essential Travel Survey Results

37% of holiday travelers and sportspeople did not wear a helmet.  People ages 18 and younger comprise the largest group of helmet users.  Only 42% of people over the age of 60 use a helmet.  65.8% skiers and snowboarders have experienced head injuries on the slope, while two thirds of the people people who have been injured on the slopes who were wearing a helmet believe that the helmet saved them from a more serious injury. So why don’t people wear helmets?

73% have never worn one, while 29% say they are uncomfortable.  24% believe that helmets reduce their vision, and 29% think that they are not at risk for head injury.  26% think they are careful enough to not need a helmet, and 23% think that helmets are too hard to pack.  12% dislike the look of a helmet, and 5% believe that helmets are too expensive.

Head Injury Statistics

Across Europe and North America, the head injury rate for winter sports is 10-15%.  Men are 2.2 times more likely to suffer a head injury than women.  The concussion rate for 2002 to 2008 for helmet wearers is 2.3% and 5.8% for non helmet wearers.

A Scottish survey in 2005 showed the different parts of the body that are injured in skiing and snowboarding.  In skiing, 13.7% of injuries happen to the head, 5.4% to the wrist, 9.1% to the shoulder, 7.6% to the legs, and 33.2% to the knee.  For snowboarding, 14.3% of injuries happen to the head, 24.9% to the wrist, 13.1% to the shoulder, 11.8% to the knee, 5.9% to the ankle, and 4.6% to the back.

Famous Skiing Deaths

Sonny Bono died in Lake Tahoe in 1998 after hitting a tree.  Natasha Richardson was skiing in Canada in 2009 when she sustained a head injury that later killed her.  German politician Dieter Althaus collided with a woman on the slopes.  She died from her injuries.  She wasn’t wearing a helmet.  Althaus, who was wearing a helmet, was later charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Sizing a Helmet

To figure out your helmet size, wrap a measuring tape around your head just above your eyebrows.  Take note of where the tape overlaps.  52 to 55.5 cm means you need a small helmet.  55.5 to 59 cm means you need a medium helmet.  59 to 62.5 cm means you need a large helmet.  Keep in mind that helmet sizes vary according to when they were made and their brand.  So, make sure you try it on, and make sure it’s rated by a reputable agency.  The infographic shows the logos of the companies that are reputable, but they don’t extrapolate and tell you which companies they are.  If you aren’t familiar, you might not now.


Design:  A-

The purple and gold colors are nice on the white background.  The graphics are a little cheesy, but overall effective.

Information:  A

While an explanation of the right rating companies would be helpful, the rest of the information makes up for that loss.