Helmet Rules — Can my child wear a soft eared helmet this weekend?

Okay, so here’s where I start tilting towards information overload. I’m going to share some things about rules that are a bit more esoteric starting with helmets. Some of our younger skiers currently use helmets with soft ear covering. Most people interpret the current USSA rules to say these helmets are allowed in Slalom races (but not Giant Slalom). The race we are doing this weekend is a Dual Slalom, and therefore considered to be a Slalom as far as helmets are concerned. USSA also says helmets must have markings that indicate they are intended for downhill skiing and adhere to international standards. That said, this is rarely verified at this level, but I will tell you what my family is doing on the helmet front. My 7-year-old son has been using a soft-eared helmet (made by Giro, and similar to the one I wear), and will likely continue to use this much of the time. While I believe this helmet would likely be allowed in a slalom, the intent of the rules is to encourage people to select helmets that have smooth shell (that would slide in a fall), and are designed for racing. Hence, we have decided in the interest of safety to get him one that is a more typical race helmet, even though the rules probably don’t require it…. Please feel free to use that advice however you see fit. As far as Ford Sayre goes our only requirement for training is that kids wear a helmet.

Here are the complete USSA rules on Downhill ski racing helmets:

“Helmets designed and manufactured for the particular discipline of ski racing being contested are required for all competitors and forerunners in all USSA events and official training. Helmets must bear a CE mark and conform to recognized and appropriate standards such as CEH.Din 1077, ASTM F2040, SNELL S98 or RS 98. Helmets must cover the head and ears. Helmets with spoilers or edges that stick out are not permitted. Protective features integral to the discipline being contested, such as chin guards on slalom helmets, are permitted. Soft ear protection is only permitted for helmets used in slalom.

USSA does not specify nor recommend nor make any warranties as to the fitness for use of any particular ski helmet design or brand name. USSA undertakes no responsibility, liability or duties to any competitor in connection with the requirement that helmets be utilized. It is the sole responsibility of the competitor to select an appropriate helmet for accident protection in ski racing.”

About Ford Sayre

Ford K. Sayre Memorial Ski Council
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