Newer Ski and Snowboard Helmets Have Better Technology to Protect You

A MIPS Ski Helmet is Worth It

poc-helmetIt used to not be cool to wear a helmet but now everyone’s wearing them when they go skiing or snowboarding. It really only makes sense because you can easily hit speeds of 30-40 MPH or more when coming down a hill and trees don’t move. You need to protect your noggin.

There’s new technology that better protects your head call MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It’s a “slip-plane” technology inside athletic helmets designed to reduce rotational forces that can result from certain impacts. It’s from Swedish neurosurgeon Hans von Holst. says:

In a helmet with MIPS Brain Protection System the shell and the liner are separated by a low friction layer. When a helmet with MIPS Brain Protection System is subjected to an angled impact, the low friction layer allows the helmet to slide relative to the head.

Here’s how it works:

MIPS Enhances Ski Helmet Safety (

Not many skiers fall in a direct, vertical impact on their head, but they do hit fixed objects at oblique angles quite a bit. In fact, rotational impacts account for the vast majority of accidents and subsequent brain injury. The brain’s built-in protective mechanism allows the brain to slide after impact, on a layer of cerebrospinal fluid found between the skull and brain tissue. Most action sport’s impacts, however, vastly exceed the protective ability of this natural system.

Studying the brain’s built-in defenses, von Holst and his team of biomechanical engineers developed a corresponding amplification to be built unobtrusively into helmets. The result is a low-friction, movable layer between the liner and the helmet shell, which helps to decrease the rotational acceleration of your brain inside your skull after impact. According to MIPS, the system reduces the rotational impact on brain tissue by as much as 50 percent over a traditional helmet.

So MIPS is more than just putting some pads into something that fits your head. This not only works for ski and snowboard helmets but all helmets.

If your helmet is old or if you’re not wearing one yet, then you owe it to your head to get a good helmet that has the MIPS system. The big brand that seems to promote MIPS is POC since they were the first to use the system back in 2010. There are other helmet brands like Giro and Smith Optics that use it as well.

And Helmets Are Not Just for Kids!

Helmets are not just for kids. Yes, helmets matter more with kids and teens because their brains are still developing (up to age 26 actually) but adults need this protection, too.

Liam Nisson’s wife died due to a skiing accident. From what I heard, she was just on the flat snow, slipped and fell down. There weren’t even any visible signs of an injury. She died later that day after she thought she felt fine.

At Cascade Mountain, we have started including helmets for free with ski and snowboard rentals. Helmets now don’t cost extra to rent. It’s a smart idea and Cascade is an early adopter of this trend. It makes sense because they want to keep their customers safe so they keep coming back.

When you choose a helmet, make sure it fits right. That’s really important.

So Get a Helmet

For me, I like helmets for protection and safety but I also wear them because they’re warm. They really hug my head and keep my head and ears warm when I’m out on the snow. When it’s warmer out, there are vents you can open. You can also get helmets with built in earphones to listen to music. There’s even Bluetooth enabled helmets.

If you are a parent, then insist your kids wear helmets when they ski or snowboard because you want to keep them safe.

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