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How often should you replace ski helmets?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Assuming no falls (the rule in horse world is replace helmet after a fall), how many years should you go on one helmet? Again, in horse world the rule of thumb is 5-7 years on a helmet without falls due to deterioration of the liners. Same for skiing?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm no expert on the matter, but I know Giro recommends every three years. Now whether or not that's an overly cautious recommendation in an attempt to get you to buy a helmet sooner, I have no idea. :wink: They also say don't wear it after an accident.


Staff member
It probably depends on a lot of things - how much UV exposure the helmet has had, how it gets stored in summer, how well it was constructed in the first place, how many times it's been dropped on the ground...

I would guess that the 3 year estimate is conservative and based on a lot of use and less than ideal care. So I'm sure you can go significantly longer than that if you're taking care of it.

ski diva

Staff member
I've heard that you should replace your helmet after a bad fall. Maybe that's in case there's some structural damage, even if it's not evident? :noidea:

My husband fell so hard once he actually cracked his helmet. Imagine if he hadn't had one on! :eek:


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Worry about unseen compression and damage is why you replace the helmet after a fall. I guess I'd probably go with the 5-7 year horse helmet rule, then...exposures are similar.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I was thinking about this. On one hand, replacement is a good idea. After all, it IS your brain that you are protecting. What price do you put on that? On the other hand, is just hitting the snow enough to make you replace it? What about the inner foam - is there a breakdown? What does the protecting - the foam or the hard shell?

There are a lot of people guessing about this, so I emailed Smith Optics, the maker of my Intrigue helmet, to see what they had to say about it. Here is their reply.

"Good afternoon and thank you for contacting Smith Optics. It all depends on how hard you hit your head. If it was hard enough to cause visual damage, we would suggest to replace it. If you lose consciousness or get knocked silly then you'd want to replace it as well. Other than that there is no expiration date or anything like that."

If you have any additional questions, please email or call us directly at 1.888.206.2995 X 2021 (Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, MST.)..."

From the horses mouth, so to speak.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Stickers? On helmets? Like stickers of places people have skied or something?
I like to express myself a lot. I decorate my helmet (and sometimes my skis) with stickers. An example of several stickers currently adorning my helmet: No one cares how you tele, Ski now Work later, I might like you better if we ski together...

Car decals work great for turning boring men's skis into works of art.
Several years ago Mr. skibum fell on his head and cracked his helmet, and I had to force him to get a new one. Yikes!

I noticed after about 6 or 7 years on my first helmet, that it did not seem to provide as good protection. Suddenly my neck was getting stiff after a fall, which had not been happening previously. I discussed it with my trusted boot fitter in Mammoth, and he indicated that the foam could get compressed, and provide a lesser degree of protection. That convinced me to get a new one. I need my head in one piece!

As to stickers, anything you like. It will help friends recognize you in lift lines. I have Mammoth stickers, Keystone stickers, a memorial sticker for 3 patrolmen who died at Mammoth, butterflies, etc. Here are a couple of quicks pics taken with my phone.



Angel Diva
We replaced my husband's helmet last spring after he took a fall, was knocked unconscious and cracked the helmet. Incidentally, if you are ever back boarded of the hill, the emergency room doctor will ask to see your helmet once you get to the hospital, so be sure to take it with you in the ambulance.

(He's fine today. Fully recovered from the memory loss.)


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm searching for a new helmet this year. I had a bad fall last year, caused by a snowboarder. I was queuing up for the lift line with the rest of my group, and this negligent boarder decks me from behind. My friend left with me, we went to the ER, they just said I had a mild concussion. I wasn't feeling the best over the next few days...I felt like I had this never-ending hangover. My helmet saved me, I couldn't imagine how bad off I would had been if I took it off. I really do dislike boarders...all they say is, "sorry didn't see you." REALLY? How can you NOT see me? I have neon green pants. At least the punk broke his binding when he hit me.

My helmet looked fine on the front where the impact was. The ER docs were kind of amazed. There's worse dents on it from pulling the lap bars down on the lift. Will for sure be getting a new one this year...dropped hints to "Santa" that I need the pink/orange POC frontal.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The brain is not a place to skimp. IMO...if you think it needs to be replaced, do it. Not worth finding out you should have when it's too late. My hubby is 1.5 years post-TBI from skiing...and still has a few lasting effects...don't skimp. People splurge on ski clothing, skiis, boots, everything...wtf would you even consider skimping on your brain? If it's a $ issue, skimp somewhere else. My kids get new helmets every couple years (their head grows) and I usually get a new one every 2 years.

Plus..I don't necessarily trust what 'experts' say and 3 years seems sorta a long time to me. It seems like noone really knows, so error on the side of caution. We are lucky my hubby was able to go back to work after 6 mos...but you spend some time with BI folks in brain rehab for months on end and you will not **************** with your brain! Sorry for the wakeup call...but save $ on skis, gear, clothing...but do not skimp on a helmet.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I quit passing down DD's old helmets for this reason. I noticed that a friend of a friend of a friends child is wearing a helmet now that we passed down which is now at least 10-12 years old now. What concerns me is it is both made of that old school plastic that does get brittle and has the type of rivets on the straps that get old and break also. Not to mention, it does not fit the child well at all either. I am all for reusing things, especially plastic things, but not in this manner. Plastic can only be exposed to temperature extremes and UV exposure so many times.


Certified Ski Diva
Oy - now I'm thinking I need to replace my helmet. Currently using a hand-me-down that's actually a men's helmet (I have a really large head lol). It's probably at least 5 years old and has definitely seen some action as I've learned to ski. Any favorite brands out there?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Any favorite brands out there?
Whichever one fits YOUR head.

The helmet should stay on your head if you bend over, even with the stap undone. It should fit down, just above the eyebrows and should be snug enough that your brow/eyebrows move when you move the helmet with your hands. There should be no noticable "hot spots" on while on your head as that will create headaches and they'll only get worse, not better, as you wear it.

Extra features to consider include a brim or visor, the number of vents, vents that can be opened and closed, audio compatibility.


Certified Ski Diva
Thanks volklgirl, looks like this won't be an online purchase but that's okay. After all, it IS my head we're talking about. Appreciate your tips!

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