I took part in a helmet development programme last week with students from around the world attending an innovation workshop in UCD. That got me thinking and I realised we should all be aware of the latest in helmets… read on!

Wear a helmet!Whilst the Indoor Ski Centre is a controlled environment… when you get on real snow it is important to wear a helmet. The main difference is when you are in the Ski Centre you are not travelling down the slope at 20,30,40mph! and if you have a moment your friendly Instructor kindly presses the stop button. Also most accidents are caused (believe it or not) by people colliding with each other. Again this risk is not a problem as we only have max three people per slope in Ski Centre… with no random skier coming out of the blue!

Concussion is one of the most serious head injuries for skiers and snowboarders alike and over 70% of injuries are caused by people colliding with each other! So first thing to remember is “control your line and speed” on slope and remember the 10 FIS rules (you’ll find them under the “about tab”)!

Accidents do happen… so what can we do to reduce serious injuries?

Size & Fit: Get proper advice of the size and fit of helmet for you. Mark at Snow+Rock has plenty of advice to share… so pop in and explore the options. A well fitted ski helmet is vital, poorly fitted helmets will be of little use in the event of a fall, and will be uncomfortable too. Just for fun…pop on you helmet and don’t fasten the chin strap too much. Now ask a friend to push the front of the helmet (gently). In the test we did, my helmet slid right off…and ended behind my head with the chin strap across my throat. If this was in a real situation I probably would have hurt my neck and my head was definitely protected. So get a helmet that fits and strap-up!

Lightweight & breathable Venting systems now disperse excess heat and are easy to open and close ensuring season long comfort in varying conditions. I wear glasses so controlling the heat will help reduce the fogging on your goggles and also aid your comfort and energy levels.

Safety Standards  Check to see they meet Central European standard EN1077

When I completed my BASI Level 1 I remember Andy Lockerbie explaining that in tests carried out in the UK they established you ideally need at least one foot of padding around your head to fully protect yourself.

In the workshop the concept of a “virtual foot of protection” came to mind i.e. how could you create the equivalent of a foot of protection in a few inches? After the week long programme I was very impressed with the concepts the students developed and definitely believe this “virtual foot” can be achieved.

However in the meantime there are some huge developments in this area one of which is MIPS. Safety is a huge part of fun on the slopes… check this out.

MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System is the latest innovation taking head protection to a new level. MIPS technology was developed in Sweden from 15 years of research and testing, centred on reducing head trauma during falls. Traditionally, helmets are tested against vertical impacts but this research found that in the majority of falls, the impacts sustained tended to be oblique, as we more often than not land at an angle during a fall. MIPS technology works in conjunction with already proven methods of head protection, adding a dynamic new level of safety into your kit.

Mips During an oblique impact to the head, the brain has the ability to slide along a membrane within the skull, which helps to reduce the force of the impact it undergoes. It is, however, this rotation of the brain which can lead to severe damage. MIPS technology absorbs this rotational energy by mimicking the brain, allowing the shell of the helmet to rotate over the liner, by the addition of a third low-friction layer, giving substantially increased protection against oblique impacts.

More information: click here or call into Snow+Rock Dundrum.