Ski helmets are a vital piece of ski gear that helps to protect you from any unwanted accidents or injuries. Many people who decide to buy a ski helmet after their first few holidays find themselves wondering if ski helmets are unisex, so they know they’re getting the right helmet.
Every ski helmet is unisex, as it’s just the style, color, and design that differentiate them from one another. Anybody can wear any ski helmet they like and still be completely protected.
That’s if you actually chose to wear a ski helmet in the first place, but why should you? Below, we take an in-depth look at some of the differences between men’s and women’s ski helmets and try to understand why they’re marketed differently.
Do Adults Have To Wear Ski Helmets?
Adults do not have to wear ski helmets in most countries, however in Nova Scotia, Canada, they are required to wear ski helmets. Whether they choose to wear a ski helmet is ultimately up to their own safety preferences, as well as the aesthetic appeal of a helmet versus a beanie.
On the whole, neither adults nor children have to wear ski helmets. It’s entirely up to the individual as to whether they chose to wear one or not. That said, there are a few things it’s important to consider before making that decision.
In 99 percent of places around the world, ski resorts leave the decision of wearing a ski helmet up to you. However, there are a few places where the choice is taken out of your hands.
In Italy and Austria, it’s mandatory for anyone under 16 to wear a helmet on the slope. They decided only children have a legal mandate to wear ski helmets because apparently, they are far more likely to get into accidents than adults.
While that might be true, it’s impossible to predict whether or not a child will collide with you on the slope. That would make them safe, but leave you open to injury.
Vail in Colorado and New Jersey have also made it a legal requirement for children to wear a ski helmet when riding at those specific resorts. Nova Scotia, Canada, is the only place in the world where everyone has to wear a ski helmet no matter what. If you’re caught without, you can expect a very large fine and potentially be banned from the resort.
As we just mentioned, wearing a ski helmet while skiing is almost always a personal preference. It’s up to the individual whether they think the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.
There has been a small amount of research that ski helmets don’t protect your brain from serious impacts. We can’t give a definitive answer on the intricacies of neuroscience, but we can say for sure that helmets do protect you from certain types of impacts.
First, small blunt impacts such as pulling the chair lift bar over your head, and colliding with other skiers. Even high-speed impacts would see the benefit of wearing a helmet because it would stop any direct collision with an object.
For instance, wearing a helmet would protect your skin from any serious wounds. If you end up colliding with another skier (through their fault or your own), taking a razor-sharp ski to the back of the head absolutely could have been prevented by the use of a helmet.
For a lot of people, the main reason they chose to wear a helmet or not comes down to how they look. A decade or two ago, wearing a ski helmet while skiing was considered “uncool.” It’s likely you’d find more people than not wearing either a beanie or simply nothing at all.
Of course, it’s lovely to feel the wind in your hair, but that alone isn’t reason enough to not wear a helmet. Nowadays, helmets have become far more of a common thing, and in a lot of resorts, the vast majority of people will be wearing one.
Perhaps this has to do with the wide acquisition of ski helmets by many professionals, or maybe we’ve become more safety conscious as a people. Either way, beanies are out, and ski helmets are in. That’s something we should all be happy about!
Is There A Difference Between Men’s And Women’s Ski Helmets?
Quite simply, there is nothing different between men’s and women’s ski helmets as far as structural integrity, materials, and build quality are concerned. The only differences can be found in the sizing chosen for the helmets, the specific colorations, and the advertising of them.
Most men’s helmets come up in bigger sizes than the women’s do. That means, even though you might find a “women’s” helmet you like the look of, it might not even be made in your size. On the other hand, men’s helmets may end up being far too big for you.
The actual molds of the ski helmet won’t be any different than the men’s, but depending on the brand of helmet, you may have an adjustable back toggle to allow you to get a tight fit. However, the helmet must be small enough to fit comfortably around your head.
There’s no point getting a giant helmet and tightening the back toggle to try and fit. That will end up being pointless and unsafe.
The second most distinct difference between male and female ski helmets is the color and design. While there are a lot of unisex style helmet designs, there is also the stereotypical pink, and flowery pattern designs that ski companies believe women like, and aggressive black and white patterns designed for men.
As we’ve just discussed, colors are one of the main aspects that differentiate men’s from women’s ski helmets. It’s not only colors that are different, but the entire advertising angle most companies use.
You’ll still find a separate men’s and women’s area on online ski shops, as well as distinctly different photos for each gender. However, it’s only because the advertisers chose to photograph women in the photo, not a man (or vice versa), that these helmets end up in their respective sections.
In recent years, the industry has been turning this around, and it’s more and more common to find neutral-looking helmets that are technically aimed at both men and women. This is a trend that will likely continue in the coming years.
How To Choose The Right Ski Helmet Size
Choosing the right ski helmet is critical to keeping safe on the mountain and using the helmet to its full capability. Not choosing the correct helmet could result in subpar protection and injury that could have otherwise been prevented.
The first thing to know when choosing the correct helmet size is that you should never order one online without first trying it on in a shop. There’s nothing wrong with ordering one online if you know the specific brand and size you need, but as all brands have a slightly different fit, it’s imperative you try it on first.
The next thing to know is how the helmet should feel when you try it on. It should fit snug around your head, and be comfortable enough for you to wear it all day. If you try it on in the shop and it’s either: Uncomfortable, has pressure points, or shakes when you move your head side to side, then it’s not the right helmet for you.
Make sure you try the helmet on with nothing on your head. That means no woolly hats or anything else to comprise the safety of the helmet. Even getting your hair cut can make a difference to the fit of the helmet, if you have a lot taken off.
Things To Consider When Buying A Ski Helmet
Budget will be a deciding factor in which ski helmet you chose. Some of the more expensive brands will use patented materials and technology that aren’t available in cheaper models. Whether they work or not, we can’t say, but they are an extra supposed level of protection that some of the cheaper models don’t have.
Some of the more expensive helmet models may feature things like inbuilt goggles, headphones, moveable air vents, and goggle straps. They won’t make your helmet any safer, and they aren’t designed specifically for men or women, but they might sway your decision one way or another.
Some helmets look more minimal, while others feature high-profile designs with bold colors and an aggressive shape. Minimal designs are far more popular now than they ever have been, and are probably easier to match with your ski outfit even if you change it later on. Extravagant designs might seem cool at the moment, but almost always turn out to be a fad.
All ski helmets are unisex and will provide the same amount of safety, with the only variations being sizing, coloration, and the advertising of the helmets. Adults are under no obligation to wear any ski helmet in most places, leaving the choice entirely up to the individual.