If you are a skateboarder looking to get into snowboarding, you may be wondering whether you can use your skate helmet on the mountain for snowboarding.
While skateboard and snowboard helmets might look similar, they actually are designed to do quite different jobs.
Falling on a snowboard is not the same as falling on a skateboard!
The main difference between snowboard falls, and skateboard falls is the speed that you are traveling at. On a snowboard, you can easily reach speeds in excess of 50mph, while on a skateboard, you probably never get above 20mph. Even beginner snowboarders will soon be reaching higher speeds than
This means the potential for serious impact injury is much higher on a snowboard. At these speeds, the risk of crashing into another skier/snowboarder, a tree, or a rock becomes much more serious.
The higher speeds you can reach on a snowboard also open the door to much bigger jumps! Your average recreational skateboarder will rarely get more than a couple of feet off the ground, whereas on a snowboard, jumps in the snowpark will start at around 5 feet and move up to 80+ feet on the pro-line.
Differences in helmet design
Snowboard helmets are designed to look a lot like skate helmets, but this is more of a fashion thing rather than for function. Back in the day, snowboarders didn’t want to look like skiers with big, bulky helmets and instead wanted to reflect their skateboarding roots.
But beyond the overall look, what are the differences in design?
All ski/snowboard helmets come with earpads. Obviously, it can get much colder in the mountains than in the skate park! So you need something to keep your ears warm.
Many riders remove the earpads and wear a beanie and their goggles under the helmet. You could wear a skate helmet in the same way, but there are other reasons why you should opt for a snowboard helmet instead…
Snowboard helmets come with much more insulation than skate helmets. As well as protecting your head, they also need to keep your head warm! They do this using an insulated liner, adding warmth and comfort.
When looking for a helmet, I would also look for one with lots of vents that can be opened to let some air in and stop your head from overheating. Skate helmets have many ventilation holes, but they can’t be closed up if it gets chilly!
Another thing a skate helmet is missing is a goggle clip. This is a clip on the back of the helmet and prevents the goggles from sliding around. Again, you can overcome this problem by wearing the goggles on top of a beanie and under your helmet.
Most snowboard helmets come with some way of dialing in the fit so that the helmet is comfortable and securely held onto your head. This is important because in the event of a fall, you may tumble for some distance, and you don’t want your helmet sliding off.
Skate helmets tend to be just a basic shell held loosely in place by the chin strap. This is fine for the occasional fall on a skateboard but not much use for snowboarding.
The most crucial difference between skateboard and snowboard helmets is in the standards to which the helmets are tested. Skateboard and snowboard helmets are not tested in the same way or to the same standards as snowboard helmets.
The main difference in the testing is that snow helmets are:
- Tested for impact at higher speeds
- Tested under different climatic conditions – cold/warm/wet
This is the only area where the skateboard helmet comes out on top. As you would expect, with the big difference in the number of features, there is also a big difference in price. A typical skateboard helmet will set you back around $50. In comparison, snowboard helmets start at about $80 and can go up to above $300.
As we have learned, there are many important differences between snowboard and skate helmets.
For me, the most important difference is the more secure fit you will get with a snowboard helmet. This will keep the helmet securely in place so that is able to do it’s job as you ragdoll down the mountain!
It may be tempting to save some money and just use your skate helmet. But if you really want to save money, renting a helmet is a much cheaper option than buying.