Ski helmets are becoming an increasing sight on the slopes and people are starting to view them as crucial as ski jackets and gloves…but they are not compulsory or could they be? Some insurance companies are starting to take the view that if customers ski without suitable head protection they could run the risk of invalidating their policy. Some companies have even started to offer a lower premium for skiers wearing helmets. Whilst a helmet does not reduce all sports injuries, it does reduce the risk of potentially fatal head injuries.

Things to add to your to do list before you go skiing – check your insurance policy and make sure you are covered appropriately, buy a helmet if you do not own one and for those that do dust it off and get ready to hit the slopes. Forget those woolly hats invest in a good helmet, the best you can afford.

Once you decide which style helmet fits your needs best, it’s time to find a helmet that fits as perfectly as possible. Fit is, by far, the most critical element in choosing a helmet. Just as there is much variation in the size and shape of the human head, so also is there a lot of variation in helmet size and fit.

Start by measuring your head, or better yet, get someone else to help you do it. Measure the circumference of your head above the ears, and about two fingers width above your eyebrows. The biggest mistake people make here is in pulling the tape too tight; get an accurate measurement by pulling it snug but not too tight around your head.

Next, try on as many different helmets as possible to find the one that fits best, one that sits squarely on your head with the front of the helmet about two finger’s width up from your brow. The helmet’s padding should give firm, uniform pressure all around your head. You will know you have a good fit if the skin on your forehead moves when you to try to rotate the helmet from left to right, and from front to back.

Pay close attention to the chin strap retention system as well. The front and rear straps should form a “Y” just below and forward of your ears, and when the straps have been adjusted and the chin strap snapped closed, there should be no slack in the system.

Finally, if you have a special pair of goggles you want to continue to use, take them with you to make sure they are compatible with the helmet you have chosen before you make your purchase.

Remember once again, fit is key. A helmet that is too big will not be as effective in protecting your head, and a lid that is too tight and uncomfortable will probably be left at home.

Take the time to get it right. You only get one head!