There is no doubt that this is a controversial area of discussion. When we don’t have any scientific paper on the ground, it may be hard to agree with such a statement. However, let’s face it – you must have thought that full-face helmets are safe due to their structure and shape as they cover your whole head. Yes, they are okay when you are in a motorcycle or car race. They help in reducing the risk of getting injured if you’re involved in a crash.
But when we talk of skiing, we are on a different page. It may do you more harm than good. That’s why it’s highly discouraged to use a full-face helmet when going on a skiing trip. Full face helmets may exaggerate injuries if you’re unlucky enough to be involved in a skiing accident. There are several reasons for this which we’ll cover in this article. Before we delve deep into our topic, it’s good that we start on common ground.
Why are full-face helmets bad for skiing? The most commonly cited reason as to why full-face helmets are bad for skiing is due to the increased risk of spinal injury if a fall occurs. Full-face helmets have the potential to dig into the snow during a fall which can pull your head forward or backward causing spinal injuries. Helmets are still recommended for skiing, but it’s important to choose an appropriate helmet made for the purpose.
You can pick a ski helmet made for skiing here.
Why Full-face Helmets Are Bad For Skiing: How a Helmet works
The main purpose of a helmet is to reduce the impact of collision to the head. It works in three ways; the first one is reducing the deceleration of the skull. It does this by preventing any brain movement, which is the primary cause of brain damage.
Also, the helmet acts as a sharing beam. When you have an accident, it spreads the forces on a larger area. Focusing the force on one area may cause extreme fracture on the brain. Lastly, helmets act as a mechanical barrier between debris or any object that might hit the head in case of an accident.
Importance of wearing Helmets when Skiing
You have heard safety authorities blurting everywhere that you need to wear helmets when riding a bicycle, motorcycle or when skiing. Have you ever taken a moment to think about why it’s imperative?
Well did you know that helmets reduce head injuries by 70%? It will not be wrong to say that wearing a helmet saves a life. This is the main reason why the number of people using helmets shot from 25% to over 70% in the previous 10 years. The numbers are increasing yearly since many people are being acquainted with the benefits of wearing a helmet.
The figures do not mean that the accidents have declined. But there has been a significant control of the severity of head injuries. Apart from that, Helmets assists in the following;
Blocking the sun’s rays:
As a novice skier, you may think that a helmet has a mission of ensuring you fall. The goggles seem dark, and you may feel that you won’t be able to see. However, the shade doesn’t do you more harm but good. It keeps your eyes from the direct sun rays and protects you from the snow.
Keeping you Warm
According to doctors, heat escape through your head when you are out in the cold, more so during the winter season. Ski helmets act as heat repellant, and not heat can escape through. So, in the end, you still maintain your warmth.
Protecting your Eyes
It’s detrimental when the snow gets into your eyes. They are itchy, and it may take a while before you are completely healed. The helmet, therefore, holds goggles to protect your eyes from a great deal.
Being a role model
Whether you are a novice or an expert, there are people around you that are keenly watching your steps. Most of them are children that need to know that wearing a helmet when skiing is required. Don’t smash their trust in you by skiing with your bear heads.
Add some Flare
You want to become unique in the snow hills, make your helmet unique. You can do this by adding some stickers on it or have it painted with your favorite colors.
Smashed face or broken Backbone
Which one would you instead choose to have in case of an accident? None of the two, of course. However, things happen, and either one might happen. Crashing is common when skiing. Not all make out of it safe and sound, and the helmets are what determines the outcomes.
There are numerous kinds of helmets for skiing, and there are things you should know before you settle on any — for instance, the in-mold construction, fit adjuster or goggle security. A full-face helmet has all the above, but why is it still dangerous?
Here are three scenarios that impact full-face helmets.
Higher chances of spinal injuries
Full face helmets have a higher chance of causing spinal injuries. If you fall, especially into your front, the helmet can dig into the snow, pulling your head forward or backward and potentially causing severe spinal injuries. The risk is increased if you’re traveling at speed and can turn what could have been a bad fall into a life-threatening injury.
Balance and Visibility
These helmets are extensively heavy for skiing. It’s not like when riding a motorcycle. What you need is to balance the bike correctly and leave everything else to gravity and grip of the tires to the road. You control your whole body when skiing. You don’t need another extra load that wants your attention too. Since you are trying to maintain two things at once, it becomes dangerous as the helmet magnifies any chance of crashing. It increases head movements when you begin wobbling hence posing a great danger to the Backbone.
Additionally, full-face helmets can decrease visibility when you’re on the slopes and prevent you from spotting dangers you could have otherwise avoided.
Blows to the chin
Typical skiing helmets are free and are not enclosed. In case of an accident, they do not rip at the jaws and the chin like full-face helmets.
When you have a direct blow to the chin, the full-face helmets act as a three-pulley system. The chin bar is the lever, with force coming from the impact as the load. The effect is translated to the lower skull base hence breaking it apart. Also, the sudden movement may affect the neck, which has other disadvantages of its own.
Full Face Helmets versus Open Face Helmets
Depending on the functionality and type of snow sport, both of these have advantages and disadvantages. It’s only that full-face helmet’s cons overhaul the benefits of open face helmets. Furthermore, they’re only applicable in one snow sport – snowmobiling.
To narrow down to your choice, both depend on several factors, but also your personal preferences play a vital role. Now before you settle on any, what should be clicking on your mind should be how long you will be using one.
Do you ski for short periods or you take the whole afternoon daily to ski? Are you are doing it for fun or as a professional sport? Either way, these considerations go a long way by ensuring you take the ideal helmet.
A Closer Look at open face Helmets
You won’t feel more of a motorcycle race course champion in these helmets. They don’t symbolize the helmets bikers use. They are the perfect replacement of full-face helmets now that the concern has been raised over their dangers.
Some of the upsides it has when compared to the full-face helmets are the recognizable low weight. You don’t have another task on your shoulder to balance. The feature gives the rider an easy time to control their body even they’re undergoing “turbulence”.
Also, the helmets offer perfect ventilation. It’s not easy for anything to cut through it. Not to forget, you will have to look for good snow goggles which may be the only con on the sides of your pocket. You don’t need an extra goggle with a full-face helmet. All in all, open face helmets are comfortable in any condition.
Is there any good in full-face Helmets?
Well, every coin has two sides. The full-face helmet is not entirely a devil; at least it shines somewhere even if it’s not on every part. It’s true that when you put the effects of snow on the picture, a full-face helmet prevents any snow from entering inside. It comes in handy when a massive avalanche is right behind you. In case it catches up, the helmets may prevent suffocation. Also, it protects your face from strong winds.
One of the biggest downsides of full-face helmets is not even in the crashing but lies with the ventilation. Since its ventilation is not enough, it can become foggy quickly. The lack of breathing deflectors also increases the fog.
Head injuries in skiing are not common. However, in case it happens, the chance of its injuries being fatal is 60%. Therefore, precaution must be taken. The full-face helmet may save your life in case of a crash. It will decrease the impact by nearly halfway. We have seen numerous careless deaths that have occurred due to the failure of wearing a helmet, and you don’t want to be among the statistics.
Many factors may increase injuries while skiing — steeper slopes, barriers like trees and rocks which may make serious injuries. Also, detecting lesions in the brain may not be discovered early. However, helmets do a great deal in preventing injuries in case of a crash. Wear your helmet, be safe!