Giro G10 MX

Giro G10 MX Ski Helmet

There are many good reasons to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding. A preponderance of compelling statistical data, however, is not currently one of them.

Is it safer to ski with a helmet? Unfortunately we don't have a good answer to that question. I will admit I am one of those crusty old-schoolers who view helmet skiing as something akin to a direct assault on my personal liberty. At the same time, I'm interested in protecting my brain. As much as I love skiing with the wind in my hair, show me solid evidence that a helmet saves lives, and I'm on board.

Andy wearing the Giro G10 Helmet

Giro's G10 is a high-end snow helmet for skiers and snowboarders. The technology and design innovations in the G10 series are considerable. Weighing 16.3 ounces (men's small, measured, sans visor) this is a relatively light helmet offering comprehensive protection and a comfortable, unobtrusive fit.

The G10 and visored G10MX are billed as freestyle helmets, though both are versatile enough for All-Mountain skiing. Fit is adjustable via a standard headband dial. A 3-position switch atop the helmet opens and closes the upper vents, bringing in or shutting down the breeze as temperature dictates. I found the adjustable vents did a good job maintaining comfort as the day shifted from morning chilly to afternoon sun.

Note that the G10's rear vents remain open regardless of the switch's position. In cold or very windy weather, some riders choose to tape over these vents for extra warmth. An alternate choice is to wear a slim balaclava underneath the helmet.

The G10's ear flaps are easily removed in warm weather. For cold-weather skiing, the helmet makes a good (but not perfect) seal with most standard goggles, preventing wind chill issues. A rear buckle holds goggle straps securely in place. Skiing in the Giro, you get a pleasant sort of cocoon sensation. The helmet considerably cuts down wind noise, and keeps your head nice and warm. Like a high-end race car, the G10 provides the illusion you're going slower than you actually are.

This of course is a potential trap when skiing in a helmet, and it is why I believe the decision to use or not use a helmet remains a personal one. If wearing a helmet gives you a false sense of security, causes you to ski faster than you normally would, or otherwise encourages you to take risks, whatever gains you get from added armor are likely offset by behavioral shifts.

Know why you're wearing a helmet and what you expect it to protect against. If you decide that a helmet fits your needs, I like Giro's G10 as a smart and stylish choice that has been designed for skiers and snowboarders. The G10 is comfortable and usable in a wide range of temperatures—and beefy enough, in the right circumstances, to make a difference.

About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.