When I first took to a snowboard in 2002 wearing a helmet was the furthest thing from my mind. There are plenty of reasons why I wear a helmet snowboarding which I will look into below.
But for me there was a clear defining moment on the first day of my season in Whistler that lead to foam and plastic encasing my head. I hired a snowboard to help me decide which to buy and the shop handed me a helmet. I tried to decline, but apparently helmets were compulsory when hiring a snowboard.
My options where to wear it, or to rent a locker to put it in. Eager to hit the slopes without faffing, and equally eager not to pay for a locker, I put the helmet on and have never snowboarded lidless since.
Why I wear a helmet snowboarding
Everyone will have their own reasons they do or do not wear a helmet snowboarding, but these are the top reasons why I don a lid.
I don’t have enough to carry
Seeing skiers struggle with 2 skis and 2 poles, in boots that are designed for falling down stairs, I realised it was unfair that I only had one thing to carry. Getting a helmet solved this. Until I started wearing it while walking to the lifts, but hey its the thought that counts.
My helmet is not itchy
Unlike when I wear a beanie, I find I avoid an itchy head when I wear a helmet snowboarding. Obviously some hats are itchier than others but of the four or five helmets I’ve worn snowboarding none have have been itchy.
Somewhere to put stickers
The world of snowboarding is flooded by stickers. There are only so many you can put on a board, a gondola window, your mates back, or a car bumper before you start annoying people. The answer is to paste them all over your helmet.
I feel I should let you in on a secret, I am the wrong site of 40 to be considered cool, except by my kids who are too young to know any better. But in this instance I am not talking about others perception of me, but how I avoid overheating. With numerous vents, when I wear a helmet snowboarding I can let enough air in to keep me cool without getting cold.
I feel I should let you in on a secret, I am the wrong site of 40 to be considered hot, except by my wife who is too besotted to know any better. But I am not talking about attracting the opposite sex, just about keeping my head nice and warm, which is easier in a helmet than wearing a beanie on those really cold days.
Its not called beanie cam for a reason.
Keeps my goggles in place
If you do not wear a helmet snowboarding, when you take a tumble there is a chance your hat and goggles with come off. Now this looks pretty spectacular on snowboarding videos, but less so when you have a mundane stack on a gentle blue. Post tumble it’s just embarrassing (and annoying) having to collect your snowboarding detritus spread across the slope, it also gets expensive if you lose your goggles in powder.
Snowboarding is not the cheapest of hobbies, but buying a helmet is actually good value for money. Not only does it save you losing your goggles in pow, your gloves in pubs or your brains against a tree, but I owned the same helmet for over a decade. In that time I would have gone through a least ten beanies.
Normally peer pressure is considered a bad thing but it works both ways. All my friends wear a helmet so if I ever rode without a lid I would feel like the odd one out. If I then had to miss out on snowboarding due to a head injury I would feel like a right tit!
Somewhere to put my gloves
Obviously most of the time my gloves are on my hands, but when I am having a post snowboarding drink the gloves come off (and I am not talking about fisticuffs). Now rather than putting them on the table, trying to stuff them in my pockets, or putting them on the seat next to me I can put them in my helmet, and even clip them to the strap.
Not only does this mean I have less to carry, but if the post snowboarding drink turns into a session everything is kept together and my gear does not get scattered around the bar. Unfortunately it doesn’t help me remember it.
Head to object interactions
I have had a number of head to object interactions since I started to wear a helmet snowboarding. Most would have resulted in nothing more than a bit of swearing at the object, however some I am sure would have resulted in concussion, and on one occasion I am convinced the helmet saved me from serious injury.
Here is a list of head to object interactions I have ridden away from as the ‘winner’.
Trees: Fairly regularly hitting branches that are lower than I realised despite me being short. Once I stacked riding through trees and slid on my back head first into a trunk, it hurt my head little but my pride more.
Rails and boxes: I am not a jibbster but I like to hit the odd rail or box, problem is I am not very good at it and have managed to hit my head on the feature. If I did not wear a helmet snowboarding, these head to feature interactions would probably have resulted in Luke to nurse interactions in A&E.
Ski poles: Mostly accidental and mostly my wife, however I copped a deliberate bashing once from an irate skier. I had stopped to do up a binding after unstrapping over a slow section, admittedly I was in his way but then he was behind me and I was clearly skating my board uphill.
Irony: OK I have never been hit over the head by irony. But I have taken a few hits from chairlift safety bars when over-zealous chairlift-users pull them down while I was still in the act of sitting. And it would have been ironic to be injured by a safety device.
Hard packed snow: Catching edges, inadvertent inversion during a trick, or head whipped back onto the snow during a spill are all ways I have used my head to test how hard snow can get. Once or twice concussion has probably only been avoided because I was wearing a helmet.
My own snowboard: More than once I have hit myself on the head with my own board. To explain how would be embarrassing, but its safe to say I am not flexible enough to do it while it’s attached.
Jumping snowboard: This was not a magical self-jumping snowboard, it had a snowboarder attached who was doing a trick onto the piste out of some trees. The edge of his board hit the side of my head and it would have been a serious injury if not for the helmet.
So there we have it the top reasons I wear a helmet snowboarding. I haven’t even mentioned Schumacher or quoted a single statistic or scientific study. At the end of the day for me it is simple, helmets are comfy, easy to regulate temperature, convenient and have saved me from quite a few injuries.
‘Why I wear a helmet snowboarding’ is a tongue in cheek look at a serious topic. Whether you lid up or not doesn’t bother me, each to there own and all that. But personally I can’t see why you wouldn’t.