Why wear helmets at the snow? Steve Leeder has the lowdown.

snow action team 11.09.2019

Steve ‘Crazy’ Leeder is one of our best gear testers. Nobody gives stuff a more serious workout than Steve. So when the chance to demo the Giro Trig helmet came up he was the obvious candidate. And he sure gave it a hell of a test, breaking a bone along the way but not his skull fortunately. And despite his well earned nickname, he has some wise words on why you should ALWAYS carry and wear helmets skiing or boarding.

Steve is not one to pass a get sendy opportunity by © Steve Leeder (yep, another @Hitcase selfie!)

Why wear helmets at the snow?

We have laws for just about everything in the world these days including wearing a helmet on the road on a bike, but I guess cause its snow it doesn’t count.

Well I’m going to change your thoughts about this one. I don’t want another law to come into place telling us what to do, there’s already way to many of those, but I’m going to tell you a story and give you a few facts and then leave it to you to make up your own mind.

Helmets in general make sense. They are warmer in the cold, wet and blowy conditions but can be totally cooled down by opening the vents and removing the earflaps. They fit with your goggles and won’t leave you with the dreaded looking gorby gap. (Ok some people will never get rid of it but someone has to give us a chuckle while standing in the lift line). And they will totally stop you from getting bashed by the safety bar on the chairlift. So with all these positive reasons why doesn’t everyone on the hill wear one? Yep I can’t figure it out either.

Never forget your helmet out in the back country either: wouldn’t want to stack at Blue Lake chutes for example © Steve Leeder / @hitcase selfi

Lucky I was wearing my new Giro Trig helmet

The other day I was skiing at a resort I had never been to before. Rad right? Yep totally and it snowed 30+ cms of fresh overnight to make things even better. I was frothing to get out and lap up the pow but second run into the morning everything stopped real quick. 

The snow pack was very different to everywhere else I have skied this year. It turns out the fresh snow was covering up a whole bunch of dangers from tree branches to rocks and probably a few other things.  A few turns down the slope and my ski tip tried to dig its self into a decent sized rock. This sent me flying into a good ragdoll and my head found another one of those big rocks that for some reason don’t like to move out of the way. The rest of my body parts seem to act like magnets to these rocks as well. 

Fortunately I was able to pick my self back up and keep sliding. My arm was feeling real sore so I decided to go and get it checked out, after a lot of persuading from the rest of the crew I was with. Thanks for being persistent guys. Turns out I broke my radius. No surgery needed, but a big annoying cast that doesn’t seem to fit into any gloves.

Steve’s broken wrist from his resort stack

Ok,  what does this have to do with helmets?

Later that night when I was drying out my gear and packing things away I had a chance to look at my helmet a little closer to find a bunch of big gouges and a nasty crack. If the helmet looks this bad imagine if I didn’t have it on and these gouges and crack were on my skull!

If I wasn’t wearing my helmet there is no way I would have been able to ski away from that one. There is a pretty good chance I wouldn’t be writing this story right now. 

This was on a mellow run in the resort. Sure, I was going pretty quick, but what if this all happened in the back country onto steeper terrain with no patrollers or anything else to get me back to safety?

Giro Trig helmet damage
My Giro Trig helmet looked like this after .. but my head inside was fine © Steve Leeder

No excuses!

I hear the excuse of “too hard to carry” or “need to save weight” or “helmets cost so much money.”

Well guess what, wrong answer.

Packs have awesome helmet stash straps and covers these days and the weight of a helmet is totally an easy thing to balance out. And guess what an MRI costs, way more than the helmet.

I hope this all makes you think again about wearing a helmet on the hill.

Giro Trig MIPS helmet

As for what helmet to wear, I have always loved Giro helmets on snow and on my bike.

This winter I am wearing the TRIG helmet.

It’s a pretty simple looking helmet. Its got a brim on the front that for ages I thought just made it look rad, but it really helps when the rain or sluggy snow is coming down, it keeps it out of the goggle vents.

There is a switch to open and close the vents like a thermostat for your head. And the fit dial in the back really helps to fine tune the fit with up to 6cm of movement in it.

The earflaps can come out for late spring riding as well. 

Features MIPS – multi directional impact system – which effectively separates inner and outer shell of the helmet to allow movement and reduce rotational forces in angled impacts.

$AUD 219, at lots of snow stores. More at giro.com

The Giro Trig brim looks cool and keeps snow out of your goggle vents © Owain Price

For more of Steve’s unique gear test reviews check: