Freeride ski helmets

The most important tips for your safety
© Atomic Austria GmbH

Find the right helmet for backcountry skiing – with INTERSPORT Rent


If you’re looking for optimum safety when freeriding, wear a ski helmet. After all, conditions in the backcountry are particularly rough. Falls are normal in off-piste terrain, just like on groomed slopes. And head injuries are among the most common consequences of skiing accidents. 

Because you are aware of this, you have probably come here – to get a freeride ski helmet. On this page, you will find all the information you need to choose a suitable helmet. We have summarised what you need to consider.

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Do you prefer one-on-one advice?

Then visit your nearest INTERSPORT Rent shop! That’s where you will receive personal support in choosing a helmet. Best of all, you can test your preferred model directly at the freeride ski resort. The helmet doesn’t fit properly? Try another model. Until you have found the perfect headgear ...

The most important facts about freeride ski helmets at a glance

What criteria does a good freeride ski helmet need to fulfil? Which features and technologies are particularly convenient and recommended? To start with, here’s an overview of the relevant facts:

  • Standard: The CE-EN1077 labelling indicates that the helmet complies with this European standard. The American equivalent is called ASTM F-2040.
  • Safety technology: The highest safety standards are met by helmets with MIPS technology, which additionally minimises the risk of serious head injuries, similar to SPIN (POC), EPS4D or Smart Safety 360° (Salomon).
  • Low weight is achieved through certain materials and production methods, e.g. lightweight ABS shell and in-mould process. Particularly lightweight models weigh around 400 g, ski touring helmets are even lighter.
  • An integrated ventilation system with waterproof vents promotes optimum air circulation and regulates the head climate.
  • A full-face helmet for good visibility even in clouds of kicked-up powder. A visor is rather unusual for deep snow skiing.
  • Attachment clip for ski goggles: In contrast to the visor, snow cannot get under the tight-fitting ski goggles.
  • Removable or replaceable ear pads help you hear ambient noise, which is especially important when there is a risk of avalanches.
  • Removable inner lining: Regular washing is recommended for reasons of hygiene.
  • Easy handling: Opening, closing and adjusting should be possible at any time, even with gloves on, e.g. with magnetic buckles or the BOA®-Fit system for pressing and twisting.
  • Headlamp holder: especially recommended for ski tourers

Basic knowledge: How is a freeride ski helmet designed?

First of all, it makes sense to look at the design of a ski helmet. Basically, there are two main components: 

  • Outer shell: mechanical protection; often made of ABS or polycarbonate, because both plastics are light but strong
  • Inner shell: absorbs shocks; usually made of EPS (hard) foam

There is also a big difference in the way they are made. Most freeride helmets are made using the in-mould process. This involves fusing a thin outer shell with the inner shell. In-mould helmets are very light and slightly more expensive than their counterparts, the hardshell helmets. They are also characterised by good ventilation.

By comparison: Hardshell helmets have a thicker outer shell that is glued to the inner shell. They provide better protection but are significantly heavier than in-mould ski helmets. Yet another distinction is important in this context:

  • Class A: full-shell helmets: They cover the entire head, including the ears, and thus offer better protection.
  • Class B: half-shell helmets: They only enclose the upper part of the head – the ears are protected by flexible ear pads.

Even if you are better protected with class A freeride ski helmets – the more popular option among backcountry fans is the half-shell helmet. On the one hand, this may be because these helmets are lighter. On the other hand, earpads allow more ambient noise to penetrate, which can definitely be an advantage in avalanche-prone terrain.

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At the shop: How do I find the perfect freeride helmet?

  1. Measure the circumference of your head first! Simply place the measuring tape tightly around the widest part of your head, above your eyebrows.
  2. Bring your ski goggles with you! This way you can be sure that the goggles and helmet really go well together.
  3. Put on your ski helmet and wear it for two to three minutes! It should fit tightly but not pinch. When you shake your head slightly with the helmet buckle open, your helmet should not slide around.
© Fischer Sports GmbH

When do I need a new freeride ski helmet?

Experts recommend not wearing a ski helmet for more than three to five years. The more you wear it, the more often you should change it. It is also better to replace it after a fall or if there are visible defects such as cracks. 

How much is a good freeride helmet?

Good ski helmets start at around 100 euros. Depending on the materials and technologies used, a freeride helmet can cost several hundred euros. 

You can find help on the subject of children’s ski helmets on this page!

© Atomic Austria GmbH

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