Helmet Buying Guide

Nothing will bring you confidence like the right helmet. 

Proper safety has become increasingly popular with skiers and snowboarders but a properly suited helmet can also provide warmth, added confidence and even audio integration so you can have the absolute best day out on the slopes.

Only need info on a specific topic? Jump down to what you're looking for:
01. Fit & Sizing
02. Components & Features
03. Fit Systems
04. Style
05. Venting
06. Construction
07. Safety Ratings
     -When To Replace Your Helmet



As you can imagine, a helmet that doesn’t fit you correctly won’t provide any protection, ensuring that you select the right size is the most important part in helmet shopping. While some helmets offer some adjustability, each size will fit a size range measured in cm's, this is usually the best place to start.


Start off by using a soft tape measure or a piece of string and wrap it around your head. Ideally, you should have the tape measure about an inch above your eyebrows and just above your ears. Try to keep the tape or string level and measure around the largest part of your head. Since helmets are sized in cm, take your measurement in cms to make things easier. 

Helmet SizeSize Range
XS 51cm or Less
S 51-55cm
M 55-59cm
L 59-63cm
XL 63cm or More

*This chart is just a guide, each manufacturer sizes their helmets differently but will have a sizing chart available so you know where you fit in.


Once you’ve selected a helmet, it’s time to make sure it fits properly. It should fit snugly on your head but not be uncomfortably tight. If you feel the helmet rocking on your head or if it shifts when you shake your head back and forth, try a smaller size or if the helmet has an adjustment mechanism, tighten it down. If your head is feeling uncomfortably squeezed or the helmet isn’t coming down all the way onto your head you need a bigger size.

A helmet with a proper fit should come down to about 1 inch above your eyebrows to protect your forehead but you also want to ensure that they will fit with your goggles. You don’t want to have a gap between your goggles and the helmet nor should the helmet push down on your goggles which will result in impaired vision. You shouldn’t feel any gaps between your head and the helmet’s lining.

If you’re buying a Junior helmet, all the same rules apply. Make sure its snug but that your kids aren’t complaining about anything that hurts. Do not buy a helmet that is loose, hoping that they'll grow into it, if it doesn’t fit properly from the start, it won’t protect them in a fall.


There are a few parts that make up a helmet and we’ll dig into the details each a little later on but here are a few things you can look out for while you’re shopping for a helmet.

    This is the outer layer of the helmet, usually made of a hard ABS, high-impact plastic. The shell protects you from sharp objects and knocks and vary in their construction.

    The inner part of the helmet that is usually made of EPS. The liner is designed to absorb impact and in some models is removable. Liners come in varying materials for added warmth and moisture wicking.

    The strap and buckle can be adjusted for your comfort (it should sit against your throat when it’s done up without causing any discomfort), but doesn’t affect the overall fit of the helmet.

    You’ll notice that most helmets have venting systems to keep you comfortable, some are adjustable so you never have to worry about being too hot or too cold. The venting system should work in conjunction with your goggles to keep them from fogging.

  • Helmet Components

A feature that has become increasingly popular with snow sport enthusiasts, many helmets allow for an audio system to be placed into the earpads or the lining of the helmet for a no fuss integrated system.

Most helmets will have some adjustability, either with a dial or an elastic band in the back of the helmet.



    Usually in the form of a dial or BOA system, this allows you to fine tune the fit of your helmet and makes it easy to adjust on the go. This gives you the most custom option for fit. Depending on the model, some dial systems will adjust the fit both around your head and vertically.
  • adjustability-partial.jpg

    Some helmets offer an elastic insert to flex around the wearer’s head while others can be adjusted using padded inserts.
  • adjustability-none.jpg

  • NONE
    When proper fit and the best protection are needed, not having room for adjustability can be the best option. This is mostly common in race or competitive helmets.


When it comes to snow helmets, there are two major styles of helmets available:

Half Shell

The more common style which is appropriate for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. The half shell has soft ear pads which, along with the liner, are usually removable for washing or temperature management and allow for better hearing.

Full Shell

Mandatory for racers, the full shell offers protection including over the ears in case of a fall. These will also often feature screw holes for chin guards. If you’re a very aggressive rider or attempting big air tricks, a full shell helmet may be a good choice for you.


The majority of helmets have some kind of venting, whether adjustable or fixed which creates airflow to allow excess heat and moisture to escape. This ensures that you remain comfortable all day.

Manufacturers have come up with all kinds of venting systems that can be adjusted to control the amount of airflow passing through your helmet. They are usually designed with a fairly simple lever or dial that can be adjusted on the go making it ideal for changing temperatures or keeping heat in while you’re on the chairlift.

Helmets that don’t have adjustable vents are strategically placed throughout the helmet shell and usually work in conjunction with the liner for optimum airflow.

Helmets without any form of venting are typically reserved for racers or competition riders who won’t be wearing their helmet all day and need the utmost protection.

  • adjustable-venting.jpg
    Adjustable Vents with Regulator
    Image courtesy of Smith

  • fixed-venting.jpgFixed Venting
    Image Courtesy of Smith



  • In Mold



    Most closely resembling a bike helmet, the in-mold process uses a thin outer shell made from a hard plastic molded to an EPS foam liner for shock absorption. It is a super lightweight helmet that reduces rebound during impact as it will collapse under a hard hit. These helmets should be replaced after any hard impact.
  • Hard Shell


    A hard shell will usually be made up of a tough ABS plastic that it pre-molded and then glued onto a foam liner. It will resist harder impacts before having to be replaced and generally offers better protection during a fall.
  • construction-hybrid.jpg


    Just as it sounds, hybrid shells are the best of both worlds. They use an in-mold design for a lightweight helmet and reinforce strategic, high impact areas with harder ABS plastic for all around comfort and safety.


You’ll see a lot of acronyms stickered on helmets designating its safety ratings, there are three main safety standards: The American Society of Testing Materials, International (ASTM), the European Committee for Standardization (CE EN), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

ASTM F2040
Is a certification designating a helmet for non-motorized  snow sports that have met or exceeded the testing standard of the ASTM which is required to sell in American marketplaces. This is the certification you will most commonly find on helmets sold at Corbetts.

CE EN 1077
Designation attributed to helmets that have met or surpassed testing such as blunt impact, sharp object penetration and more to be able to sell in European marketplaces.

CE EN 1078
You might see this on a few helmets that have removable liners and have passed additional testing which make them suitable for cycling and skateboarding as well.


It’s important to note that helmets aren’t built to last a lifetime; they are designed to protect you in an accident but generally only withstand a single major impact. As most helmets are designed with an EPS liner which compacts and can crack under impact, this jeopardizes the integrity of the helmet. The next impact the helmet takes won’t protect you like it did the first time which is why most helmets are rated as single-impact.

Helmets that are designed for more wear and tear generally have an EPP liner. These are popular with freestyle/park skiers and snowboarders as they are deemed safe for multiple impacts. If you notice any kind of compression or crack in the shell or liner of the helmet, it’s time to replace it.

With overall use of a helmet, sweat, cleaning and exposure to the elements, some of the materials will start to breakdown. It’s recommended that you replace your helmet every 3-5 years even if you haven’t had any major crashes or falls.

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Still have some questions? We've got an extremely knowledgeable and friendly team at Corbetts. Visit us at our retail location or give us a call and we'll help you find the perfect skis to fit your needs.