How Your Snowboard Helmet Works

The men’s, women’s, and kids’ snowboard helmets carried at Sport Chek are designed to withstand a minimal tested standard of impact. Selecting the appropriate helmet for your intended usage can play a big role in the outcome of a potential accident.

There are three classes of Sport Chek snowboard helmet designs available: in-mold (similar to a bike helmet), hard-shelled (similar to a BMX or skateboard helmet), and hard-sided (similar to a motocross helmet). These three classes of helmets fall on a scale ranging from extremely efficient at protecting from large impacts (or repetitive minor impacts) to less efficient. Hard-sided helmets offer the greatest protection and in-mold the least. 

  • In-mold helmets use a hard, thin plastic outer layer molded over a foam liner. Absorbing shock, the foam collapses under hard impact, reducing rebound.
  • Hard-shelled helmets come with a thick plastic shell over a pre-molded hard foam liner, providing increased protection in the event of a major impact.
  • Hard-sided helmets offer even greater protection and are often used by more extreme riders and racers. They feature full-sided protection and utilize more sophisticated shock absorption systems.

The top snowboard helmet brands available at Sport Chek including K2, Giro, Smith and Salomon will sometimes offer at least one helmet design in each category of protection.

It’s important to remember that after a helmet sustains any kind of major impact (or repetitive minor impacts) its structural integrity is likely compromised even if you’re not able to see any visible damage. If your helmet has sustained any impact, it likely will not protect your head as well as it could in the event of a fall and it’s best to replace it.

Your snowboard helmet doesn’t just protect your head, it also helps keep you warm on the mountain. The helmet’s foam liner serves as a barrier that absorbs impact as well as an insulator that helps trap warm air near your head. Additionally, the vents found on most helmets allow perspiration to evaporate out of the helmet, keeping you dry and warm (also decreasing goggle fogging).


If you plan to wear a thin helmet liner or skull cap under your helmet, be sure to bring it with you to try on with potential helmets. Avoid bulky headwear like toques or hats as they will prevent a proper fit. Bring your snowboard goggles with you as well to ensure they fit the helmet you choose. 

Follow these key steps to ensure you find the best men’s, women’s or kids’ snowboard helmet fit:

1. Before trying on a helmet, be sure to loosen all the adjustable pieces like the chin strap and any ratchet or dial systems. Place the helmet squarely on your head, ensuring it’s not tilted forward or back. There should be a small space between your eyebrows and the edge of the helmet, and the fit should be snug, comfortable and consistent all the way around your head.

2. Without locking the buckle on your helmet, shake your head back and forth and nod it up and down. The helmet should stay snug on your head. If it’s sliding around or moves separately from your head, it’s too big. Minor sizing adjustments can be made using the helmet’s adjustment mechanisms.

3. Secure the chin strap and adjust any additional ratchet or dial mechanisms until you have a stable, secure and comfortable fit. Are there any pressure points that could become uncomfortable after wearing the helmet over a long time?

4. Try the helmet on along with your goggles. Does the helmet allow your goggles to properly seal to your face, and do the bottom edge of the helmet and the top edge of the goggles come together comfortably?

Other Helmet Features

In addition to the main function of offering protection and warmth, there are other features to consider when selecting the best snowboard helmet:

  • Detachable ear flaps help keep you warm on the days you need it but can be removed to allow greater airflow on warmer days.
  • Built-in speakers often built directly into the ear flaps, these speakers allow you to bring your music on the mountain without needing headphones and are often compatible with your iPod, MP3 Player and even satellite radio.
  • MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) helmets are designed to add protection against rotational motion to the brain from angled impacts to the head. Rotational motion comes from angled impacts, combined with acceleration; something prevalent in extreme sports. MIPS' added protection helps reduce impacts connected to minor and severe brain injuries by absorbing and redirecting the force away from the brain.

The most important function of your snowboard helmet is protecting your head from injury. The colour, style and additional features should be secondary considerations. Find a properly fitting snowboard helmet that offers maximum protection and make a habit of wearing it every single time you hit the mountain.

This article and post is designed for educational purposes only. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is a possibility of physical injury. Please consult with a doctor prior to engaging in any exercise or exercise program. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk. Product selection is an individual choice and the consumer is responsible for determining whether or not any product is suitable based on the consumer’s circumstances.