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Motorcycle helmets for skiing?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Decided recently that it might be a good idea to look into skiing helmets. And was a bit surprised to find that skiing helmets aren't designed/certified for typical skiing speeds. If you fall while going 5 - 10 mph it's probably going to work well. But it's not offering much protection when you're going 40 or 50 mph.

 

Reading through some of the Snell and CE standards, motorcycle helmets appear to be tested to much more stringent standards. I'm not talking about full-face or race helmets, which seem a bit heavy and restrictive for recreational skiing. But the open-face ones that look similar to skiing helmets. It might take some effort to find one that works well for skiing, but if it is offering a lot more protection for higher speed falls..

 

Anyway, is anyone else skiing with open-face "motorcycle" helmets? Any drawbacks other than style & being a bit heavier? Thoughts?

post #2 of 31

If you ever have worn a motorcycle helmet, you would know that they would be extremely uncomfortable when skiing. The weight of the helmet would give you a serious neck cramp and the insulation would make you feel like you were in Thailand in the summer. 

post #3 of 31

I always wear one (top of the line Shoei) when motorcycling, and have noticed none of the problems you mentioned.  I just think the face shield would fog up and it would be cold.

post #4 of 31

CG regarding the weight of the helmet also has to be a consideration.  A Shoei Multitec full face is almost 4 pounds (1796 grams) as opposed to a light weight like a BMW Carbon that weighs 2 pounds, 13 ounces (1303 grams).

 

Bikeworld also started to get into not only the overall weight but ... the CG of the helmet itself when it came to comfort and how it felt on the head.

 

When you think of your head as the end of a "swing arm", even a few pounds will toss your balance off and in something like skiing where balance is an uber critical component .. helmet choice is probably a trade off as are all things in life.

 

The impact numbers for the design of the two are probably different and while snow and trees are hard, the average person on skis will probably never see a speed over 35 versus the bike that will be ridden at 50+ .... toss in asphalt and metal as probable impact surfaces and .... form follows function?

post #5 of 31

Is there something with regard to the flexibility/brittleness of the ABS in motorcycle helmets VS ski helmets that is different due to the much lower temps where ski helmets are expected to perform under?  How a motorcycle helmet reacts to stress at 70 degrees f may be quite a bit different than how it reacts at 10 degrees f.

post #6 of 31

Mr TC skis in his motorcycle helmet.

post #7 of 31

Obvious question- what makes you think skiing helmets are not designed for the speed???

 

Take a look at the footage of recent ski racing crashes, and the effect helmets have had in

preventing serious head injury. I'm talking prevention of serious head injury- sure some of these crashes have caused concussion, however without helmets I hate to think what the results would/could have been?

 

I'm not looking to re-create the Richie Rich helmet debate thread here- I just wanted to question where the notion that the current helmets are not purpose built came from.

 

 

post #8 of 31

Some ski helmets are Snell rated (my Leedom Scream is).  If it's important to you, then narrow your focus down to only the helmets that meet this standard.

post #9 of 31

Just curious which Snell standard your Leedom is certified to?   The S98 & RS98 are good standards for ski helmets, but unfortunately I've yet to see any brands/models available in my area that have been certified by Snell.  None listed on their website either.

post #10 of 31

POC's are worn by many WC SG and downhillers. I'd call that speed certified. 

post #11 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 

POC's are worn by many WC SG and downhillers.

 

And I would never trust that we consumers are ever sold the same equipment that are shown used by sponsored athletes.

post #12 of 31

Will a hockey helmet meet the requirement of ski? Except there is no ear cover to warm up your ear.

post #13 of 31

Not to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but what is the over/under on how long it takes for this thread to devolve into a "you don't ski at X mph/oh yes, I do, my watch told me I did" argument?

post #14 of 31

Ill let this run its course a bit longer before I jump in.

post #15 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post

 

Ill let this run its course a bit longer before I jump in.

 

Funny you should put it /that/ way.

 

http://www.usairnet.com/cgi-bin/skydiving/link.cgi?p=skydiving-helmets&lid=500

 

some of the camera ones are but then we run into:

 

 

 

post #16 of 31

That's almost a snowboard on the helmet.  I'd pay to see it done :D

post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB

 

Obvious question- what makes you think skiing helmets are not designed for the speed???

 

A valid, albeit difficult question to answer. I'm unaware of any well framed, large scale studies that would serve to characterize just how much protection you really need to survive various types of impacts. What I meant to say is that motorcycle helmets offer a lot more protection against severe impacts. It's easy to imagine that skiing helmets would work well for low speed impacts. But a decent skier might also take a spill at 40 - 50 mph. Depending on how you fall or what you hit, you may scrub a lot of the speed off before your helmet hits something. Or not. Does a skiing helmet offer enough protection for higher speed impacts? I don't know. But I would much rather have more protection than less if it is at all practical.

 

So the question is whether motorcycle helmets are practical for recreational (non-race) skiing? Or are they simply unwieldly? The type of helmet that I'm thinking of is pictured below. This is one of the lighter motorcycling helmets that I've been able to find so far at 949 grams. Which is about double the weight of the skiing helmets I have seen. There are also beanie style MC helmets that weigh less than 700g.

 

And before anyone asks what makes you think that motorcycle helmets offer more protection? Here are the energy ratings that helmets must meet in various standards. Keep in mind that this only a very crude comparison of standards. But just to give a rough idea of how motorcycle & skiing helmet "protection" might compare. Oh & someone asked about using MC helmets in low temperature. Snell at least requires testing at -20C, so I don't see that as an issue. Other than style or possibly warmth, I think it all comes down to.. can/would you ski with a helmet that is twice as heavy to gain 50% more protection in a high speed impact?

 

Helmet impact ratings

Ratings are in joules (energy). Higher energy ratings means that the helmet is tested to survive more severe impacts. These are flat anvil, 1st drop ratings.

 

Skiing helmet standards
CE 1077 69J
ASTM F2040 98J
Snell RS-98 100J
Snell S-98 120J

Motorcycle standards
FMVSS 218 (DOT) 90J
EN 22/05 132J
BSI 6658-85A 141J
Snell M2005 150J

 

Momo Komposit (motorcycle) helmet

 

 

post #18 of 31

Remember that higher energy doesn't necessarily mean better.. It means that the helmet is stiffer, and while it will protect you better in a high speed crash you'd be better off with a lower energy rating in a lower speed crash (not as stiff, lower impulse).  There's actually some controversy in the motorcycle realm whether people are better off getting snell or dot certified helmets because of how stiff the helmets have to be to withstand those heavy impacts.

 

It's also worth considering that motorcycle helmets are going to need more abrasion resistance than ski helmets..  All things considered, falling in snow is pretty radically different from cracking your head on the street.  Hitting a tree could be a different matter, but even a tree isn't as hard as pavement.

post #19 of 31

The extra weight of a motorcycle helmet certainly could cause neck injury I would think. More of a whiplash effect.

 

I sure as heck wouldn't want to ski in one all day especially skiing bumps.

post #20 of 31


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

 

The extra weight of a motorcycle helmet certainly could cause neck injury I would think. More of a whiplash effect.

 

I sure as heck wouldn't want to ski in one all day especially skiing bumps.


 

Hmm...

These guys dont seem to have a problem with that:

Cliffhanger by BSCProductions

 

post #21 of 31

This looks like good info to me:

 

http://www.telemarktips.com/Helmets.html

 

It seems that ski helmets are tested with a 14mph anvil drop and motrocycle helmets are tested with a 17mph anvil drop. Both obviously provide protection at well over these speeds, though these are only the test apparatus speed figures.

 

I'm not a helmet expert though I do own several ski helmets, two race car helmets and also a motorcycle helmet. I do know that in the race car the helmets used must be Snell rated and the motorcycle helmet (DOT rated) is not allowed to be used in the race car by race organizations. I was told that the main reason is because the motorcycle helmets are designed with more attention to resisting abrasion from sliding along the pavement, and the race car helmets more for resisting impact with roll bars, cages, etc. Neither of these design criteria appear applicable to skiing. There is also no question that the ski helmets are way lighter and more comfortable.

post #22 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

I always wear one (top of the line Shoei) when motorcycling, and have noticed none of the problems you mentioned.  I just think the face shield would fog up and it would be cold.

 

I always wear a helmet when auto racing and I also don't have a problem with the helmet-while racing.

 

There is no way that it would be comfortable while skiing. Even when racing, my neck is sore afterwards from the weight and g-forces. Skiing bumps would be painful.

post #23 of 31

Hey everyone!

 

I've been lurking around this forum for a while and finally feel I could add something useful. 

 

www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html 

 

This is a controversial article about motorcycle helmets that came out a few years ago. It found that higher energy ratings (such as Snell) don't always equate to safer helmets. 

 

My girlfriend and  I bought ski helmets this month  after she slid into a tree and received a minor concussion and whiplash.  The Giro G9 is so much lighter and has much better ventilation than any motorcycle helmet I've owned.  You've got to remember the vents on motorcycle helmets are designed for higher speeds than skiing ones. 

 

I thought I'd hate wearing a helmet skiing, but I honestly forget I'm wearing it most of the time.  I'd say choose a helmet for the activity it was designed.  I guess you have to decide if those extra joules of energy consumption offsets the drawbacks.

post #24 of 31

Do you really think there would be any difference between helmet, no helmet or motorcycle helmet if your head hits a tree dead on at 50 mph?

 

Would you be anymore confident in a motorcycle helmet if a car was coming at your head at 50 mph?

post #25 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post

Do you really think there would be any difference between helmet, no helmet or motorcycle helmet if your head hits a tree dead on at 50 mph?

 

Would you be anymore confident in a motorcycle helmet if a car was coming at your head at 50 mph?

No, but if my head should happen to bounce off the ice as I'm careening down a steep chute and get tripped up somehow, I'll be in a much better position to get my skis back under me if I"m conscious.  That helmet might make all the difference.  The helmet isn't for the direct impact with an immovable object, it's to protect against the glancing blow.

 

post #26 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

Mr TC skis in his motorcycle helmet.


True Dat.

He's a motorcycle racer and is accustomed to wearing a motorcycle helmet.

I'll be the first to say that he looks a bit goofy skiing in a full face motorcycle helmet, but I keep my mouth shut because he is skiing with me, and he's wearing a helmet, which has saved his life on at least one occasion.

post #27 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

No, but if my head should happen to bounce off the ice as I'm careening down a steep chute and get tripped up somehow, I'll be in a much better position to get my skis back under me if I"m conscious.  That helmet might make all the difference.  The helmet isn't for the direct impact with an immovable object, it's to protect against the glancing blow.

 

Yes, but the higher energy absorption of the motorcycle helmet could mean it has a higher stiffness.  Lighter impacts could actually feel worse in that helmet compared to one designed for skiing.   A motorcycle helmet's main purpose is to keep the accelerations felt by your head below a fatal level, not to necessarily keep you conscious.  About all you can do after you're ejected from your bike is to go limp.

post #28 of 31

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redcash View Post

 

Yes, but the higher energy absorption of the motorcycle helmet could mean it has a higher stiffness.  Lighter impacts could actually feel worse in that helmet compared to one designed for skiing. 

 That is a very good point.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redcash View Post

 

About all you can do after you're ejected from your bike is to go limp.

 

That is not true.  There is always something you can do to lessen your injuries, influence your path, choose what part of your body will take the impacts and at what angles, pull your leg out from under the bike (before the bike hits the road), etcetera; there is lots of stuff to do while sliding through the potholes at 110 mph, and just as many things to do while performing unintended acrobatics in a skiing mishap.

 

The main function of a MC Helmet may be to save your life, but I have benefited from having one keep me conscious a couple of times.

 

post #29 of 31

There was a point in time that I was extremely informed about the impact ratings of MC helmets, DOT, Snell, approval ratings and features that improve these ratings, but I have not stayed in the loop.

When I was keen on this information, I was impressed at how light weight some of the highest impact rated helmets were. 

 

What I do know is that MrTC races in the woods and has had several impacts.

Those impacts haven't knocked any sense into him,  yet  

post #30 of 31
I think it is the question of full-skull open face helmets, either the heavier motorcycle Snell-approved which are heavier but often available, or the FIS approved race helmets that are light and tested for the specific conditions of speed and ice: vs. the truly light wieght light use recreational skid-lid helmets that don't cover the skull and have straps front and back of the ear converging above the chin line to one strap, (and are illegal for racing).
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