2016 Helmet Trends
By Asa Redfield, Seattle, WA: It seems as though the bobblehead era might finally be behind us; the snow sport industry’s helmet designers have been making huge strides and modern helmets are looking so good there’s really no excuse not to wear one. With an increasing number of multi-season offerings, innovative new materials, improved protection offerings like MIPS, and even lower-profile fits, there is a lot of brain-saving goodness to look forward to.
The Biomechanics of Helmet Ingenuity
Rising popularity of MIPS integration may be the most groundbreaking news in head protection. So, what is this technology exactly? MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, and functions as a low-friction layer between your head and the helmet’s shell. This allows the helmet to slide relative to the head when subjected to angled impacts, significantly reducing the rotational forces on the brain. Considering oblique/angled impacts are common in action sports, MIPS has proven to effectively decrease brain trauma endured in many ski and snowboard crashes. Although this technology has been around for some years now (first introduced in 2001), MIPS is finally being implemented on a wider scale and can be found in a variety of models from a number of manufacturers like Giro, POC, Salomon, Sweet Protection and Smith.
Learn more, here.
Many manufactures cater to the desire for a multi-sport, one-helmet-do-all product. Bern clearly accomplished just that, and has been ahead of the game when it comes to multi-sport and multi-seasonal helmet design. Consider their Go All Season® interchangeable liners which inspired Bern’s business model back in 2004. From removable padding to open up vents to full snap-in liner interchangeability, Bern has prioritized multi-sport helmets from the beginning.
Here are some of our favorite winter helmets that work great in the summer, too:
Materials of Helmet Construction
Crashes are inevitable, and while the majority of helmets are still constructed with Styrofoam or some comparable foam rendition as the primary impact-absorbing material, technological advancements have introduced a number of new materials that are gradually being adopted.
Smith is celebrating their 50th anniversary and in addition to unveiling their new Pivot, Pointe and Pivot Jr. Helmets, they’re also widening their use of their proprietary AEROCORE™ construction that features Koroyd® – a patented honeycomb-like structure that substantially reduces a helmet’s weight while simultaneously yielding a 30% reduction in energy transmission from impacts.
G-Form Reactive Protection Technology™ (RPT) by Anon is another compound that has made its way to revolutionizing the helmet-industry. RPT is a rate-dependent technology comprised of molecular, responsive foam. Upon impact, the molecules instantly bind together to absorb and redistribute the force. In addition, G-Form RPT™ comfortably conforms to the unique contours of the head without jeopardizing the helmet’s impact performance.
More Noteworthy Helmets
Weighing in at a mere 300 grams, Salomon’s MTN Lab Helmet and 15/16 ISPO award winner is one for the Backcountry enthusiasts. The helmet features a head lamp holder and an EPS 4D l construction – exceeding both Alpine and Mountaineering safety certification standards. The MTN Lab is completed with a soft, removable, merino wool liner that wicks away moisture and eliminates odor.
For the youth riders, this year’s K2 Entity Helmet comes with an LED DomeLight secured to the top. The light makes tracking down your little one through alpine fog, or dumping snow a whole lot easier due to its highly visible and bright flashing light. Safety first!
Here at evo we’re getting excited about Sweet Protection – snow, whitewater, and bike gurus with technology packed models like the Trooper and the Igniter, Sweet Protection has proven that they’re no strangers to making life-saving lids. From MIPS integration, to their carbon fiber reinforced polymer shells and customizable Occigrip fit systems, expect to see a growing number of sweetly protected noggins at your local hill in the coming season!
Another exciting new offering from POC is the Auric Helmet. A 2015/16 ISPO award winner, the Auric is poised to finally bring full-shell style and protection to more daring freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Increased protection for the ears and temples is further complimented by a multi-impact EPP liner.
Smith’s new his and hers multi-impact, bombshell construction helmets for the freestyle and freeride riders are sleek and have fantastic ventilation!
Finally, the Giro Range rounds out the list with its innovative new fit system called Conform Fit. A 2-piece shell + dial forms to the user’s head by expanding and contracting, for the lowest profile, most customizable helmet we’ve ever seen.