Helmet Trends Include Lighter Weight Styles, Room-To-Grow Kids Models & New Graphics
2002/2003 Model Review
As helmet wear among recreational skiers and snowboarders continues to grow, a new standard now exists to ensure the safety of the protective headgear, according to SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the national, not-for-profit trade association that represents ski, snowboard and other winter sports outdoor companies.
After ten years in development, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved a helmet standard for skiing, snowboarding and other "non-motorized recreational snow sports." The new ASTM standard, which was approved in May 2000, is widely held to be even tougher than the established European standard. To become ASTM-certified, a helmet undergoes several tests. In one, the strength of a helmet's retention system is tested under simulated hot, cold and wet conditions. In another, different shaped anvils and velocities are used to test the result of impacts with various sites on the helmet.
As for general trends, ventilated helmets are still the hot buzz, and well on their way to becoming a standard. Parents get a break for winter 2002-03, with many brands offering new room-to-grow children's models. Many manufacturers are making the move toward matte finishing, but metallic finishes are also big and helmets, in general, are getting more colorful with special graphic treatments and custom finishes. Helmet weight continues to be a topic of debate among manufacturers. Some favor the lightweight microshells that clear the ear, popular with snowboarders, for increased comfort and visibility. Others say that hard shells with inner foam, like those worn by downhillers, are the way to go: They may be heavier, say advocates, but they offer more protection from impacts and lacerations.
Helmet Highlights for Winter 2002-03
Acerbis: The Italian-made Acerbis helmet line is re-entering the U.S. market, with four new models with full CE and ASTM certification. Style options run the gamut from solid colors to custom airbrush graphics, which account for extremely wide price ranges. The aerodynamic Razor ($79-$249) features an exclusive goggle retention system and adjustable air ventilation. The Stomper ($99-$219), meant for the freerider, is lightweight and form-fitting. It has a sleek open-air vent system, a Vellutex liner for maximum comfort and Cordura earflaps with double-density padding. The Integral Impact ($425) is designed for the serious skier/boarder cross competitor. It features a composite fiberglass/Kevlar shell with an integral face guard and visor, a removable Coolmax liner, front air vents, adjustable visor and nylon chin strap with metal clip. The Manta ($69-$239), for younger skiers (sizes 52-60), is lightweight, aerodynamic and stylish, and features Acerbis' Air Vent System.
Boeri Sport USA: Boeri was one of the first companies to offer recreational-use skiing and snowboarding helmets for sale in the U.S. Today, Boeri's 2002-03 line features nine models and 37 different styles in a variety of colors, graphics and shapes. All helmets are lightweight and vented, and many incorporate Outlast, a temperature-regulation insulation material. For 2002-03, a new production facility in Italy will be fully on line to provide increased production capacity and all the new technology needed to bring all products into conformity with ASTM and European CE standards.
Brand-new for 2002-03 is the Apollo ($70), a junior helmet with a lightweight shell, comfortable fit, passive venting and a room-to-grow feature - a removable padding band inside the helmet. Boeri also introduces a completely rebranded snowboard-specific program. The four-model, 12-style line, which boasts unique graphics and features, includes the Kameleon ($90), Shorty ($120), Rage ($140) and Moto ($180).
Briko: Briko is best known for its racing helmets and its two unique shapes. The first, called the Wind Shape, is aerodynamically designed for racing. The second, the Forerunner/Crossover mold, has a futuristic look.
For 2002-03, Briko introduces the Forerunner helmet ($119), which is part of the Freeride collection. Its sleek, aerodynamic design was developed for the performance-minded consumer. The Forerunner, which meets CE and ASTM standards, comes with an external polycarbonate shell in chromatic colors.
The helmet features a polystyrene foam internal shell with aeration channels, and its active ventilation system with micro-adjustable upper aerator and lateral vents offer precise temperature control. Additionally, an anallergic Maxi-Dry internal liner wicks moisture away. The Forerunner's chin band is coupled and heat-sealed with anallergic fabric, and its Fiber Block retention system features a bayonet hook-up buckle in thermoplastic material.
Carrera: Carrera offers the same helmets to customers that are used by World Cup skiers and snowboarders. The Typhoon 2.2 and Fireball 2.2 are both world-class-level products that are also lightweight. The Free Ride series includes the Evac, Big Air and Kicker helmets. Models in the Free Ride series include some or all of the following features: ventilation, Outlast temperature-regulating insulation, removable washable linings and multiple impact liners. Prices range from $80 to $130.
New for 2002-03 in the Free Ride series is The Nerve ($130), featuring a new, round shape with venting and a chin guard. The Nerve Light ($90) has a short shell with removable ear covers.
Giro: Giro made its first snow sport helmet, the Ravine, in 1998. Since then, the company has grown into the second largest brand in North America, offering a complete line of models and styles that are ASTM and CE certified. The Nine helmet, introduced in 2000, was the first to incorporate in-mold technology, which reduces weight while reinforcing the helmet liner. The company credits its efficient vents and advanced helmet shapes for its success.
For 2002-03, The Fuse ($149.99), in the Freeride/Freestyle category, is Giro's new top-of-the-line model. High-tech and compact, its features include in-mold technology, Thermostat on-the-fly adjustable ventilation, Weatherstrip vent plugs and detachable earflaps. The Camber model ($69.99), in the Race/Freecarve series, is a refined version of an existing model, with new sizing. Designed to cover the fundamentals for riders of all ages and abilities, the Camber offers size-specific padding for a variable fit, a deep Goggle Notch, a full fleece lining and a plush, padded chinstrap.
Jofa: Jofa's 2300 and 2500 models will no longer be available in 2002-03. But the 2400 ($69) model, Jofa's most popular for the past two years, returns unchanged from last year. It is available in sizes xxs to xl, and in five colors: pearl, silver, graphite, black and pearl blue. Accessories include a slalom bumper/visor, slalom teeth guard and aero frame for speed events. Jofa helmets meet the CE standard, but not the ASTM standard.
Leedom: Since its debut in 1997, Leedom has received U.S. patents for two of its innovative design elements, Energy Absorbing Ribs and Active Airflow System, which keep the head cool by allowing the air to flow in and around your head and then exit through exhaust at the goggle teeth. As the only leading helmet brand certified by the stringent Snell RS-98 standard, Leedom says its helmets provide up to 40 percent more impact protection than helmets meeting the other standards, the CE and ASTM.
For 2002-03, Leedom has made several updates to its line. Pillow Foam Comfort Liners and seven new exhaust vents have been added to all High Performance helmets, the latter increasing the Airflow System by 40 percent.
Six new, cutting-edge colors are also available this year. To create the Phoenix and Liberty colors, Leedom is using a new technology called Water Transfer Decal, which gives the helmets a custom-painted look at a fraction of the cost. The Spectrum color, which uses another new technology, actually changes based on the light that it reflects. And Leedom developed the Lady Blue color for women.
Louis Garneau: Louis Garneau is still best-known for the first product he ever designed: a children's helmet called the Edouardo, which sold for many years. The company continues to innovate with two new, ASTM-certified helmets for 2002-03. The Stream Team ($120), a high-end helmet for alpine skiers which features the Ergo-Air ventilation system that allows heat and moisture to escape, is available in six different colors and junior and adult sizes. It also has mechanical ears that can be closed or open to allow for better hearing, and a polycarbonate goggle fastener at the back. The new Rider ($90) model, also for adults and juniors, is a technical ABS snowboard helmet with 14 vents for superior ventilation and high-quality detachable ear shields.
R.E.D. (distributed by Burton): For the 2001-02 season, R.E.D. expanded and refined its protective gear for snowboarding. The trend continues for 2002-03, with R.E.D. introducing the Remix helmet ($130), for very active riders. With a lightweight ABS shell and a new Brock AC foam liner, the model offers superior moisture transport and ventilation. It also has a plush interior with removable full-length ear pads, a user-friendly "Zip Clip" chin strap and a goggle snap strap. And the new Buzzcap's ($60) durable polyethylene shell and lightweight expanded polystyrene foam lining combine to offer warmth and protection for juniors. It comes with customizing comfort pads that can be adjusted as the child grows, as well as full-length ear pads and a sticker pack.
Salomon: Salomon helmets feature high-tech foams, fibers and liners for maximum performance and comfort. They also have adjustable ventilation, removable ear pads and shells designed for maximum impact resistance and cushioning. All Salomon helmets meet the current norms for winter sports activities set by the European and U.S. standards committees: CE, TUV and ASTM.
For 2002-03, Salomon is updating its line by introducing Autofit Coolmax foam in the liner materials of high-end helmets, adding two new junior models and adding new colors and graphics to the existing Crossmax ($329) and Mach 2 Racing ($179) helmets. The new junior models, the Choopa ($69) and Karamba ($59), which offer comfort, fit and a sticker pack, bring lower price points to the Grom line, which will once again include the Airspoon ($89) and Ironball ($79).
Team Wendy: Team Wendy was founded by the family of Wendy Moore, an expert skier who died in 1997 from a head injury sustained while skiing without a helmet. The family's goal was to engineer a helmet offering state-of-the-art protection. Team Wendy introduces W Helmets with Zorbium Foam. The foam uses its thickness to absorb impact energy through dissipation so that the helmet can absorb energy without breaking or cracking. A removable ear-and-neck CozyGard and an optional slider that opens and closes the helmet's ventilation make it versatile for various weather conditions. W Helmets are available in ruby red metallic, gypsy blue metallic and pearlescent white, plus specialty colors. Prices range from $99.99 to $149.99.
Uvex: Uvex began as a protective eyewear company in Germany in 1926. Helmets are now among the company's offerings, and there are four new models for 2002-03. The Airtech is an Alpine helmet, available in black stone and silver stone. Matrix, a freeride helmet with interchangeable earflaps, comes in titanium, black stone, bronze stone and sky blue stone. The Half Helmet, another freeride model, is available in black metal or silver metal. And for juniors, there's the Typhoon Jr., in black and silver.
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