By Ann Schissler

Skiing is certainly a sport that requires a lot of equipment and along with that comes the responsibility for equipment maintenance. That being said, it was past time for me to invest in a new helmet. When considering all major purchases, I begin by doing research. The first thing I needed to establish was whether to buy a helmet with a visor attached or stay with a traditional helmet and goggles combo.

I was leaning towards a helmet with an attached visor. My skiing friend, Wayne Wong, (yes, the freestyle champion) has one of the coolest I have ever seen. It’s made by OSBE. It’s a reflective silver and makes Wayne look like he’s from another planet and you have to agree, his skiing is out of this world. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

My research began with an online search of women’s visor helmets. There were half a dozen to choose from ranging in price from around $150 to $850. CP Camurai even features a model complete with bling of Swarovski crystals for about $550. Then for comparison sake, I looked for independent, not advertiser, reviews of the various models. It really helps me to get feedback from people who have used, rented or purchased the item I’m considering. I just love the internet for sharing.

One of the concerns I had was being able to wear my glasses while skiing and I discovered that although certain visor helmets performed better than others, for the most part, fogging was an issue. My focus shifted from looking cool to seeing clearly.

More research led me to my ultimate purchase. While heading to Bretton Woods for a meeting, we stopped in Lincoln, NH and went shopping at Rodger’s Ski & Sport. Rodger’s is a large store (two floors) with a huge selection of products and a very knowledgeable staff. I learned quite a lesson regarding one of the most important pieces of ski gear you really need.

The number one deciding factor in purchasing a new helmet is fit. An improperly fitted helmet can do more harm than good. So do yourself a favor and try on as many as possible before you buy. Another major factor to consider, is the helmet MIPS compliant? MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) is a technology that uses a low friction moveable layer between the liner and the outer shell. It is designed to limit the force to the brain in the event of an oblique impact. The MIPS system reduces the rotational impact on brain tissue by as much as 50 percent over helmets without the technology.

CP CamuraiAs an incentive to get “old” helmets off the slopes, Rodger’s offered a 30 percent discount off my new helmet for turning in my old one. I took full advantage of this generous offer. I also learned that although other factors apply, like number of skier days etc., for the most part, a helmet is functionally obsolete in about 5 years. However, if you do experience any impact, take a fall, or are hit, the helmet has done its job and will need to be replaced immediately.

After careful consideration, independent research, and personal preferences, I ended up with a Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet paired with Smith I/O X Interchangeable goggles and I couldn’t be happier with my choices. See you on the slopes. Clearly, comfortably and safely.

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