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Old 02-21-2011, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Are all snowboard helmets equally as safe?

Title says it all. I know all helmets undergo the same tests to be deemed consumer-approved, but are there safer helmets (full face helmets aside)? If I don't care about ventilation, sound system stuff, etc, is there a "safest non full face helmet"?
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but short answer; no.

Long answer; yes, but only if the helmet fits you properly. As far as ventilation and sound systems go, neither drastically reduce the structural integrity of the helmet. Sound systems are just an added ounce or so of cords and speakers so they obviously wouldn't change much. However, in terms of comfort, ventilation may affect the overall temperature of your body. With your head being one of the largest areas of sweat production, it is important to keep it warm. Too many vents on a cold day will make you cold, too few on a hot day will make you warm. However, I never really noticed this and I've snowboarded on some chilly -20f days and some partially warmer days around 10f. I use a Giro Encore 2 and love it.

But as I said, I may be wrong.

EDIT: Sweat is bad, vents are good.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Pretty sure the EPS foam ones are the most safe but are only single impact and have passed the action sports test or whatever.
Brock and other soft foams are multiple impact but don't pass the action sports test but you can use them for hundreds of hits and it is super comfy.

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Old 02-22-2011, 04:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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when's the last time you had a single-impact crash?
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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there is currently no multi-impact standard for snowboard/ski helmets. helmets using brock foam are classified as 'hard hats' not helmets and offer less protection than EPS foam. Your best bet for a "safe" helmet will be one made with EPS foam, and as always, replace the helmet after any significant impact even if there are no visible signs of damage.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_z View Post
there is currently no multi-impact standard for snowboard/ski helmets. helmets using brock foam are classified as 'hard hats' not helmets and offer less protection than EPS foam. Your best bet for a "safe" helmet will be one made with EPS foam, and as always, replace the helmet after any significant impact even if there are no visible signs of damage.
There are different types of multi-impact foam though, right? Specifically, I'm thinking of Pro-Tec versus Bern...Bern's got a denser, yet still foamy, shell all the way around whereas Pro-Tec just has some weeny little foam pads.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There are different types of multi-impact foam though, right? Specifically, I'm thinking of Pro-Tec versus Bern...Bern's got a denser, yet still foamy, shell all the way around whereas Pro-Tec just has some weeny little foam pads.
Bern has a fully-lined helmet or hardhat, right? So you don't have those little foam pads/strips, but beneath that all there is still an EPS hard foam core to the helmet.

By "weeny little foam pads" do you mean those little pads that are velcroed/glued to the interior of the helmet? That's not what matters. The actual helmet, beneath the plastic exterior is made of "foam" and in the case of Pro-Tec (venturing a guess here that they are still made similar to the old one I just threw out) this is very hard foam like what you would find in a mountain-biking helmet. If you look closely it resembles styrofoam. The little pads you describe are there to basically keep you comfortable when the helmet is not absorbing impact.

The helmet is designed to compress/get destroyed on impact, so as to mitigate/minimize damage to your skull (and it's precious, precious contents).

The soft foam (brock foam) according to Bern: Hard Hats with Brock soft foam do not meet the standards for action sport head protection


Honestly, I wouldn't waste my money on a brock foam helmet. If you're going to go that route, you might as well not wear a helmet.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_z View Post
Bern has a fully-lined helmet or hardhat, right? So you don't have those little foam pads/strips, but beneath that all there is still an EPS hard foam core to the helmet.

By "weeny little foam pads" do you mean those little pads that are velcroed/glued to the interior of the helmet? That's not what matters. The actual helmet, beneath the plastic exterior is made of "foam" and in the case of Pro-Tec (venturing a guess here that they are still made similar to the old one I just threw out) this is very hard foam like what you would find in a mountain-biking helmet. If you look closely it resembles styrofoam. The little pads you describe are there to basically keep you comfortable when the helmet is not absorbing impact.

The helmet is designed to compress/get destroyed on impact, so as to mitigate/minimize damage to your skull (and it's precious, precious contents).

The soft foam (brock foam) according to Bern: Hard Hats with Brock soft foam do not meet the standards for action sport head protection


Honestly, I wouldn't waste my money on a brock foam helmet. If you're going to go that route, you might as well not wear a helmet.
Last I knew, Bern only makes hardhats...I had an issue with one a few years back, so I had a pretty in-depth conversation with the customer service rep, and I consider myself "fairly" knowledgable about their different types of foam.

Technically, Pro-Tec is a "hard hat" as well; at least their skateboard stuff is (plastic shell with pretty compressible foam pads)...those are the little weeny pads I was referring to. I haven't looked close at their snowboard helmets.

Bike helmets have EPS foam...as do Smith and Giro helmets. Those meet the CPSC standard for protection single-hit/action/snow-sport protection...I forget the exact testing criteria, but they drop a certain weight from a set height in the helmet and use an accelerometer to see if it stopped slowly enough...and that's a hard, rigid foam.
However, the Bern hardhat I just bought has a pretty dense foam shell, but it's not EPS...it's compressible, but firm. IIRC, that (Brock?) foam is designed for "a few" hits...it's not a single-hit helmet, but it's not necessarily a multi-hit in the sense that a Pro-Tec or 888 might be. In my personal opinion, I'd trust the Bern one more than a Pro-Tec or 888...which is partially why I went and bought a Bern, instead of using my 888 or comparable helmet.

Bear in mind though, 95% of my helmet knowledge comes from bikes and skateboards...not really sure how much of any of that translates into winter sports.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [fly] View Post
Last I knew, Bern only makes hardhats...I had an issue with one a few years back, so I had a pretty in-depth conversation with the customer service rep, and I consider myself "fairly" knowledgable about their different types of foam.
That's what I thought, too, it looks like they now offer most/all of their helmets in both formats: standards-compliant helmets with EPS foam, or non-compliant "helmets" or hardhats with the brock foam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [fly] View Post
Technically, Pro-Tec is a "hard hat" as well; at least their skateboard stuff is (plastic shell with pretty compressible foam pads)...those are the little weeny pads I was referring to. I haven't looked close at their snowboard helmets.
OK - I do recall my old Pro-Tec skateboard helmet I know exactly what you're talking about... their snow helmets are different than this but they might also make hardhat style, non-compliant lids. I'm not sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [fly] View Post
Bear in mind though, 95% of my helmet knowledge comes from bikes and skateboards...not really sure how much of any of that translates into winter sports.
I think it's pretty much the same standards/tests like dropping the weight or dropping the helmet with a dummy "head" inside of it from a specified height, etc.
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Repping the world's smallest mountains... 2013-2014 snow days: 48

Mt. Brighton - 13
Hawk Island - 6
Mt. Holly - 5
Mt. Bohemia - 3
Mt. Tolle - 3
Boyne Mountain - 2
Pine Knob - 2
Crystal Mountain - 2
Treetops - 2
Alpine Valley - 2
Caberfae Peaks - 2
Cannonsburg - 1
Urban - 1
Slackcountry - 1
Nub's Nob - 1
Sugar Mountain, NC - 1
Beech Mountain, NC - 1
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Solomon also uses EPS in their helmets as well as a "custom air" system on their higher end lids (I'm currently using the patrol custom air) that was designed by a sports trauma physician. It fits great and protects/vents really well. As for safety, I found an interesting article (though a bit old) on the topic here. Bottom line IMO any helmet (that fits proper) is better than no helmet.
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