Helmet replacement - how often?

Discussion in 'Softgoods: Clothing, Helmets, Goggles, and More' started by skidrew, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. skidrew

    skidrew Booting up Skier

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    How often should one replace a ski helmet?

    Obviously if you whack it good or crash badly you replace. Or if it gets really nasty from use.

    I'm asking about replacement just for aging - does the protection "decay"?

    (Also, not trying to start a debate on helmet worth - for this question assume I want a helmet to do what they are claimed to).
     
  2. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I used to say yes..I did motorcycle track days and they require helmets to be 5 years old or less..but I've read some helmet mfgrs saying that's really not necessary. The EPS doesn't really breakdown that much. I replaced my last bicycle helmet when the cushy pads disintegrated in the rain one day... I'd probably still be using it now if not for that..it had to be 10 years old. So I think some common sense is probably in order..10 years..probably that's too long..but your helmet might tell you that anyway..but the 5 year rule probably is a little strict.
     
    François Pugh likes this.
  3. focker

    focker Getting on the lift Skier

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    I just had one of my sons ski instructors advise me that a ski helmet should be replaced every 5-6 years due to the foams and plastics in it that can age and weaken.

    I had to replace my 6 year old Giro this year due to a nasty crash I had in December.
     
  4. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, Jeep Wrangler driver and winter lover Skier

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    My helmet is about 4 years old so planning on replacing it in the next year or two. I probably will replace it at the same time I replace my ski boots. I have so many stickers on my helmet it'll be a bummer to start over again but gotta protect the noggin. I have certain things I like in a helmet so getting a new one will be easier this time I think because I know what I want. I was taken out badly in December but I didn't hit my head thankfully so I have more time.
     
  5. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Sooner than the 12 years my aunt and and 13 years my uncle waited. I was at their condo in Eagle-Vail over the holidays and saw my aunt's helmet that she bought when I was visiting Colorado on a job hunting trip before I moved here. I about flipped out. Text went out that moment saying she needed to replace. As it turned out she replaced it last year but my uncle just replaced his this weekend. Actually, that was kind of funny. They were in looking at glove liners in Vail and talking to a salesperson. My aunt brought up the helmet and the salesperson said "If you hadn't said anything I was going to!"
     


  6. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    A 10 year old helmet is definitely better than no helmet. A brand new helmet is better than a 2 year old helmet, same brand same mode., but only slightly. It's a trade off between your acceptable level of risk and your acceptable level of investment/cost. Some folks get a new helmet every season. Some folks get one and don't replace it until it is obviously wrecked. Most do something in between based on their budget balanced against their fear of head injury risk or comfort, aesthetics, etc..
     
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  7. PTskier

    PTskier Been goin' downhill for years.... Pass Pulled

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    This is the only study I can find that assesses the age and impact resistance of the expanded polystyrene liner in helmets, in this case in bike helmets. I think this also accurately relates to the EPS liner in snow sports helmets: http://biomechanical.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/article.aspx?articleid=2497744

    It says that the EPS liner does not deteriorate with age. As long as all the parts are in good condition, the helmet should remain good.

    There are three critical parts to a helmet. The shell protects against punctures. The EPS liner absorbs impact to reduce the g-forces...how hard the skull slams into the shell and how hard the brain slams into the inside of the skull. The strap is essential to hold the helmet in place. Inspect all three parts. If they look as good as new, they probably are.

    The active, high performance skier may find that the helmet is getting loose on the head due to the helmet wobbling around from wind and other inputs. If the interior of the helmet is loosening this way, replace the helmet. Very high mileage motorcycle riders may need to replace their helmet every year or two due to the interior getting packed out enough to render the helmet less protective. Ski helmets don't have the high quality durable interiors of motorcycle helmets, and bike helmets even less so.
     
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  8. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Here's the Snell Foundations recommendation.

    "The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy."
     
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  9. Spring1898

    Spring1898 Booting up Skier

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    As often as you feel comfortable, or want a fresh look, or wear out the padding, chin strap, or interior.

    Most ski helmets use a plastic shell covering over an EPS (styrofoam) core, with additional padding underneath for comfort.

    Sure automotive grade helmets "may" need replaced at certain intervals, due to different construction and materials, hence the SNELL recommendation provided by Ms. COskigirl . But aside from the wearables, like the padding or chinstrap, there isn't anything to break down in a ski helmet.
    (Well maybe after years and years of exposure to UV rays you could weaken the plastic shell, but that is being excessive).
     
  10. skidrew

    skidrew Booting up Skier

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    I'm a bit skeptical of a recommendation by helmet manufacturers that one should buy helmets more frequently.

    I do appreciate actual testing of helmets to determine longevity.
     
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  11. focker

    focker Getting on the lift Skier

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    The snell foundation has nothing is common but a name with the Snell helmet company

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snell_Memorial_Foundation
     
  12. T-Square

    T-Square Terry Moderator Instructor

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    Giro recommends every three years for their bike helmets.

    Here is the Snell Memorial Foundation’s recommendation: (5 years)

    Why should you replace your helmet every five years?
    The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy.

    I highly recommend you get a new helmet that is also MIPS. (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System).
     
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  13. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    I don't know, I have a 15 yr old Ovo (long defunct) helmet that's built better than most helmets today under $250. Still, it sits on a shelf.
     
  14. skidrew

    skidrew Booting up Skier

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    Right, but the recommendation is based at least in part on helmet manufacturers - who knows how much sway they held in reaching "consensus".
     
  15. Guy in Shorts

    Guy in Shorts Tree Psycho Skier

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    In my wife's case 10 months as her Smith helmet looked like it had been threw several battles. Getting great mileage over her helmet condition as she gives me a hard time when I wear out gear in less than a season. To her credit she hit 100 days so far this season so I didn't mind buying her a new Smith helmet. Seriously the paint appears to have problem staying attached to that lid.

    Smith Helmets.jpg Smith Paint.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  16. pete

    pete not peace but 2 Beers! Skier

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    I'd replaced ours over last 2 seasons but they were likely 10 yrs old or more. Still in good shape but found the MIPS a nice improvement, found some with better fits and had wheel adjusts for fit.

    But I didn't feel rushed. nice thing is daughter had a mishap on a green catwalk ... icy rainy day below mid mountain. She took a pretty good fall in ski snowboard school and ended up cracking the shell. While I haven't any hard evidence, suspect given the type of fall it was more glancing when hitting for which the MIPS in theory helps.

    Helmet shop guys were surprised and expressed similar belief .. when helping find a new helmet.
     
  17. laine

    laine I ski like a girl. Fast. Skier

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    My question is what do I do with my old helmet? I replaced it due to a couple hard hits and age (about 4 yrs), so I wouldn't sell it and it feels weird to offer it to someone. But it also feels weird to throw it in the trash.

    Thoughts?
     
  18. pete

    pete not peace but 2 Beers! Skier

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    Know the exact feeling ...
     
  19. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Don't be a hoarder!! Trash that thing..
     
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  20. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    When Vail mandated helmets for all on-snow employees, and therefore needed to supply them, they started out replacing full-timer lids every two seasons, but recently changed that to every three. Full-timers spend close to 100 days in the sun.
     

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