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Ski Helmet - MIPS, is it worth it?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Happy weekend people, in the market for a new helmet so i have a decision to make.

MIPS, watching some videos of the technology on their site. Ok so it reduces rotational impact on the head when the helmet stops and your head and body carry on moving. Makes sense, that would reduce the impact....

But snow is slippy. Would your helmet simply stop on the snow? Friction probably wouldnt be as much as on road (totally see the benefit there) will your head simply slide or is something going to make it grip?

What about in powder? is it more useful there?

interested in getting some thoughts..

Matt
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@dulcamara, Like everything else helmet related, it is a question of percentages. How often do you fall? How often do you fall where your head contacts something? How often do you fall where your head contacts something hard enough to cause serious damage? How often do you fall where your head contacts something hard enough to cause serious damage, where the MIPS layer would make a difference? After the last question you might be down to fractions of a percent, but for the sake of £40-£50 more than a standard version, why not.

If you have a big head, you need to take into account that as far as I can tell (until this year), the helmet manufactures did not make new MIPS helmet molds, they just installed the MIPS layer inside their existing helmets. The result of this is that you lose around 1 to 1.5cm of the helmet size, so a 62cm helmet becomes a 60.5cm.

If you want a helmet with true size, look for models without a non-MIPS version. I have had the POC Fornix MIPS, and currently have the new GIRO Range MIPS.
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To me, it seems that MIPS is clearly better than non-MIPS. And then a full-face helmet is likely to be better than a partial.

I mostly ride in powder though, where the significant statistics are not easily available. The sort of head injury I'm at risk of is broadly collision with a tree, which is likely to be at significantly higher speeds than any helmet is rated for. I suspect the effectiveness of helmets there is less than at a resort, or whilst driving to it.

I have noted more people using MIPS helmets this season.
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I'm not usual terribly sceptical but I've always regarded MIPS as a bit of pseudo technology that is more focused on sounding good than actually being a significant step forward in helmet design. Most of the evidence I've seen suggests that (as long as they are certified) one ski helmet is just as good as another. I could be wrong, but I haven't seen anything to suggest otherwise.
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@foxtrotzulu, You could well be right with MIPS, as it could fall into the same category as the vehicle emissions and mpg testing. By that I mean the manufactures know exactly how the test will be run, so they can optimise the product for the test, rather than for reality.

One of the biggest areas where MIPS might not make any sense is the huge variability in the interface with the persons head, with hair, helmet liners or even beanies. All of these must reduce the effectiveness of the MIPS layer. Taking an extreme example. Take a non-MIPS and a MIPS helmet and glue the inner surface to a bald head (stay with me here). With the non-MIPS there is a solid link between the outer and inner surface, so what happens to the outside in terms of rotation, happens to the persons skull. With the MIPS helmet, the solid link is broken by the MIPS links, to the rotation is reduced on impact. As soon as you remove the 'glued' on interface, and add in the mentioned variables, and that most users don't have the straps done up tight enough (it should restrict you opening your jaw fully), MIPS becomes even less effective.

As I mentioned in my first post, the percentage of crashes where MIPS might make a difference is very small, but it is still there.

Regarding all helmets being the same due to certification, all that means is that they meet the minimum standards, some will always be better than others. Think terms of the car Euro NCAP ratings. All cars for sale meet the minimum safety standards for sale, but some are 1 star and some are 5 star.
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PowderAdict wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, You could well be right with MIPS, as it could fall into the same category as the vehicle emissions and mpg testing. By that I mean the manufactures know exactly how the test will be run, so they can optimise the product for the test, rather than for reality.

One of the biggest areas where MIPS might not make any sense is the huge variability in the interface with the persons head, with hair, helmet liners or even beanies. All of these must reduce the effectiveness of the MIPS layer. Taking an extreme example. Take a non-MIPS and a MIPS helmet and glue the inner surface to a bald head (stay with me here). With the non-MIPS there is a solid link between the outer and inner surface, so what happens to the outside in terms of rotation, happens to the persons skull. With the MIPS helmet, the solid link is broken by the MIPS links, to the rotation is reduced on impact. As soon as you remove the 'glued' on interface, and add in the mentioned variables, and that most users don't have the straps done up tight enough (it should restrict you opening your jaw fully), MIPS becomes even less effective.

As I mentioned in my first post, the percentage of crashes where MIPS might make a difference is very small, but it is still there.

Regarding all helmets being the same due to certification, all that means is that they meet the minimum standards, some will always be better than others. Think terms of the car Euro NCAP ratings. All cars for sale meet the minimum safety standards for sale, but some are 1 star and some are 5 star.


Agreed. My point about certification was that I didn't want to say 'all helmets are the same' and then some smartarse points out that a dodgy Chinese rip-off is not as good as a £400 helmet.
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Please excuse my ignorance, but what is MIPS? Puzzled
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@Bergmeister, Multiple Impact Protection System. Basically a separate plastic layer between your head and the rest of the helmet held with 3-4 plastic tabs. If you receive a strong rotational impact the plastic tabs shear and the helmet can rotate independently of your head. This in theory slows down the impact to your brain, protecting you.
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Bergmeister wrote:
Please excuse my ignorance, but what is MIPS? Puzzled
From the POC website
Quote:
MIPS (MULTI-DIRECTIONAL IMPACT PROTECTION SYSTEM)

MIPS is a system used to reduce the rotational force to the brain in case of oblique impacts. Accident statistics show that the most common accident occurs in an oblique impact to the head, resulting in a rotation of the head and brain. The brain is more sensitive to oblique impacts than radial impacts.

In a helmet equipped with MIPS technology, a low friction layer separates the shell and the inside of the helmet. When subjected to an oblique impact, the low friction layer allows a small controlled rotation of the shell relative to the lining.
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PowderAdict wrote:
.... that most users don't have the straps done up tight enough (it should restrict you opening your jaw fully), MIPS becomes even less effective.

As I mentioned in my first post, the percentage of crashes where MIPS might make a difference is very small, but it is still there....
Which is reminiscent of the argument for using helmets whilst skiing in the first place. The devil's in the detail, which in this case is hidden in the evidence.

The point about straps is interesting - many standard helmet wearers seem to have issues with their straps: some helmet users at least would not receive the protection they're expecting through simply not wearing the things properly. Which reminds me... about 50% of the ABS users I see seem to either chop or not fasten the crotch strap. I guess they haven't read the manual either.
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@philwig, some abs pack dont come with a crotch strap?!! at least ortovox dont anyway
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PowderAdict wrote:
most users don't have the straps done up tight enough (it should restrict you opening your jaw fully)


I try to make sure that I do this, a guy a know was involved in this car crash

http://youtube.com/v/iHfzQ_yJcBU

at about 10 seconds or so you can see the driver's helmet bouncing on the grass in front of the car. Both were thankfully okay (fairly well beaten up, but lived to tell the tale) but it does always play on my mind whenever I'm in a car with a helmet on, and to a lesser extent when I'm skiing. That said I did find on my last trip that there were a couple of times where I forgot to clip the straps and only discovered it after a run or two.
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philwig wrote:
Which reminds me... about 50% of the ABS users I see seem to either chop or not fasten the crotch strap. I guess they haven't read the manual either.
I always wear the nappy strap, but one word of caution if, like me, you neaten up all the buckles and straps over the summer to aid storage: make sure you correctly adjust the nappy strap before you get on the first chairlift ride of the year Embarassed
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Please correct me..... but I was told that if you have a MIPS helmet, if you have a bump and the MIPS comes into play then you need to replace it. But a standard helmet can take a few similar bumps. Also, pure speculation here..... I wonder how they measure the advantage.

If using a dummy where the helmet really grips the plastic, I doubt it will be realistic compare to a human with the helmet either, a) not so tight or b) with hair for the helmet to slide on (a natural MIPS?).

I'm not knocking the technique just a few thoughts.
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@PaulC1984, strange, according to Ortovox website, their ABS packs include a safety leg strap.
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Incidentally, why do some cyclists go to the trouble of wearing a helmet but then tilt it so far back as to be utterly useless.
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GlasgowCyclops wrote:
Please correct me..... but I was told that if you have a MIPS helmet, if you have a bump and the MIPS comes into play then you need to replace it. But a standard helmet can take a few similar bumps.


I was under the impression that any helmet should be replaced if it has a decent bump. I don't know whether a MIPS hat is slightly more delicate in that regard though.
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@GlasgowCyclops, If you have a helmet impact strong enough to effect the MIPS layer, then a regular helmet would probably suffer some damage (whether visible or not), so it would also need replacing. Most manufactures offer a reduced price crash damage replacement policy, Giro's for example is 40% off.

There are now some helmets designed for multiple impacts (think park riders learning new tricks), without replacement. Giro have their Combyn model, for example.
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@foxtrotzulu, Even worse is parents fitting cycle helmets to their children in such a manner Shocked
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But my point is do you experience rotational impacts on snow?

On road it makes sense the helmet grips the road and takes your head with it. On snow? usually I would have thought it would slide or impact directly.

this kind of shows what I'm talking about on the MIPs site

http://www.mipshelmet.com/#what-is-mips
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This is a terrible and crazy accident! Shocked But I think that they really did have helmets saved. It seems to me senseless that you compare cars to a train in a car and skiing. Yes, helmets of course, and there and there are good but all the same the skier will never gain such speed as a motorist. The plush parts that broke during a car crash can add damage to the car, and in the case of a skier, 80% of the cases are a collision with the ground and snow. So the situation is completely different. My friend had Giro's read more helmet and he saved his life. Once we descended from a hill of red level and the friend apparently caught on a branch or the root of a tree that was not visible under the ground. His body abruptly turned that he hit his head, but thanks to the fact that the helmet remained in slipping and did not "catch" the snow its neck did not reach the critical angle and remained whole. rolling eyes
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I say no.
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I think my heads worth an extra £80-100 so I say yes. Took a big fall on Easter Sunday, smacked down on my forehead, goggles cracked, cut my cheek and bridge of my nose, smacked my head on the ice. Helmet took full impact. Will never know if it would have been as good without MIPS but I'm happy I took the plunge. I'd call it insurance.....its what you think your brains worth I guess. Still got a stiff neck and bruised shoulder but my head feels good.
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If you have a ten dollar head get a ten dollar hat . I'd never scrimp on good quality safety equipment.
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Not trying to get into a helmet debate, but am I reading it right that helmet manufacturers have developed this MIPS technology to mitigate against the rotational forces that may happen when you crash wearing one of their helmets?

So, as an (perhaps illogical) extension - are they selling you technology you only need because you are wearing their product in the first place?

And if thats the case, should they even be selling you the non-MIPS stuff?
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My mountainbike helmet is well over due for replacement so have been recently looking at MTB helmets. Was surprised to see that the MIPS helmets didn't have the best proctection results or even significantly better than the test averages - although it could be down to their test procedures.

15 Helmets, 3 with MIPS.
MIPS came in 3rd, 6th and 12th.

Test in German by the Austrian AA equivalent.
https://www.oeamtc.at/thema/tests/oeamtc-fahrradhelmtest-2017-ein-guter-radhelm-muss-nicht-teuer-sein-18397215

MIPS article
https://helmets.org/mips.htm

Another article supporting MIPS
https://www.folksam.se/media/Folksam_Bra_Val_2017_Cykelhjalmar_Forord_Rapport_A4_ENG_VUXNA_NY_tcm5-34299.pdf
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
PowderAdict wrote:
most users don't have the straps done up tight enough (it should restrict you opening your jaw fully)


I try to make sure that I do this, a guy a know was involved in this car crash

http://youtube.com/v/iHfzQ_yJcBU

at about 10 seconds or so you can see the driver's helmet bouncing on the grass in front of the car. Both were thankfully okay (fairly well beaten up, but lived to tell the tale) but it does always play on my mind whenever I'm in a car with a helmet on, and to a lesser extent when I'm skiing. That said I did find on my last trip that there were a couple of times where I forgot to clip the straps and only discovered it after a run or two.


Ahh the mighty Epynt accident following Dears. Well same muppets who don’t secure the helmet strap drive rally cars with the windows down🙄🙄. Some Mothers do have them😝.
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nelly0168 wrote:
Not trying to get into a helmet debate, but am I reading it right that helmet manufacturers have developed this MIPS technology to mitigate against the rotational forces that may happen when you crash wearing one of their helmets?

So, as an (perhaps illogical) extension - are they selling you technology you only need because you are wearing their product in the first place?

And if thats the case, should they even be selling you the non-MIPS stuff?


MIPS was actually developed by research scientists/engineers, NOT the helmet manufacturers themselves. The result of this research project was the formation of an independent company (MIPS AB) who sell the MIPS technology to many different helmet manufacturers. That's why you often see MIPS and non-MIPS versions of the same helmet. So you can consider MIPS to be a safety "add-on" to the stock manufacturers helmets.
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PaulC1984 wrote:
@philwig, some abs pack dont come with a crotch strap?!! at least ortovox dont anyway


The Ascent 22 does.
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PaulC1984 wrote:
@philwig, some abs pack dont come with a crotch strap?!! at least ortovox dont anyway

A quick check shows all current airbags Ortovox sell are provided with them. If you have one which doesn't have a strap, you'd be safer to throw it away.

It's a bit like if someone chopped the strap on their helmet.
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dargen wrote:
This is a terrible and crazy accident! Shocked But I think that they really did have helmets saved. It seems to me senseless that you compare cars to a train in a car and skiing. Yes, helmets of course, and there and there are good but all the same the skier will never gain such speed as a motorist. The plush parts that broke during a car crash can add damage to the car, and in the case of a skier, 80% of the cases are a collision with the ground and snow. So the situation is completely different. My friend had Giro's read more helmet and he saved his life. Once we descended from a hill of red level and the friend apparently caught on a branch or the root of a tree that was not visible under the ground. His body abruptly turned that he hit his head, but thanks to the fact that the helmet remained in slipping and did not "catch" the snow its neck did not reach the critical angle and remained whole. rolling eyes


There is a thread here that disagrees with you Laughing Laughing Laughing

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=75819&highlight=
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@dulcamara, to answer your original question - ie ‘is MIPS worth it?’ Here is some summary evidence - for each of these points I could supply multiple contemporary research papers if anyone wants them - it’s a field which I have done some considerable research on:

1 concussion is now recognised to be a more serious injury than previously was thought
2 rotational brain injury (where the brain rotates in the skull) can cause more damage than direct impact due to the nature of brain tissue (good in compression, bad in shear)
3 helmets were originally designed for ‘anvil’ impact - MIPS was designed in the face of recognition of the serious nature of rotational brain injury
4 helmets can ‘grab’ and cause rotational brain injury - hence the thin shell on cycle helmets - the first were just ‘grabby’ polystyrene - the thin shell is to reduce grabbing
5 snow can be grabby

I personally have experience, along with my son, of hitting with my head: rocks, trees, all sorts of ice and snow, and park features.

That’s because we ski a lot. We are extremely careful, but skiing is a hazardous sport.

We have top of the range POC helmets with MIPS.
They are able to take multiple hits.
The MIPS can be reset in the POC Receptor Backcountry since the rotation is controlled by a replaceable single weak link. Replacement links are supplied with the helmet.

My son’s POC Fornix MIPS has two areas of damage - the dents in the helmet would be dents in his head if he had not been wearing a high-spec helmet - both areas of damage were incurred in falls, one onto rocks, the other onto lumpy ice. In neither case did he have any symptoms of concussion. The helmet did an excellent job.

In 1999 - pre-MIPS - I had significant rotational brain injury from a mountain bike accident (down onto rocks at speed) - the helmet saved my life - the statement by the consultant observing me as I came round from 8 hours of amnesia. The accident was caused by a moments’ inattention in a 40 year period of off-road riding - sh+t happens, so wear protection.

So....in answer to your question...is MIPS worth it? Yes. Why? Because that’s what the evidence suggests.
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If you regularly hit your head on rocks, trees or ice a) I think you need to be more careful and b) you need to wear body armour.
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@valais2, It seems like MIPS might help, it’s very unlikely to do any harm, but nothing you say above comes close to providing any supporting evidence.
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uktrailmonster wrote:
nelly0168 wrote:
Not trying to get into a helmet debate, but am I reading it right that helmet manufacturers have developed this MIPS technology to mitigate against the rotational forces that may happen when you crash wearing one of their helmets?

So, as an (perhaps illogical) extension - are they selling you technology you only need because you are wearing their product in the first place?

And if thats the case, should they even be selling you the non-MIPS stuff?


MIPS was actually developed by research scientists/engineers, NOT the helmet manufacturers themselves. The result of this research project was the formation of an independent company (MIPS AB) who sell the MIPS technology to many different helmet manufacturers. That's why you often see MIPS and non-MIPS versions of the same helmet. So you can consider MIPS to be a safety "add-on" to the stock manufacturers helmets.


That's fine, and it seems eminently sensible technology when you watch all the blurb.

But am I right that the MIPS technology is only required because the helmets themselves cause this issue??
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@valais2, good advice, I agree. MIPS has helped me this season I’m sure.
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@nelly0168, It probably depends whether your head/hair is ‘grippier’ than snow.
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Markymark29 wrote:
@valais2, good advice, I agree. MIPS has helped me this season I’m sure.
You’ve needed to have yours reset, have you?
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
@nelly0168, It probably depends whether your head/hair is ‘grippier’ than snow.


Grippier than the helmet, surely?
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@nelly0168, I would guess that your head is going to have more grip on snow than a smooth helmet (without GoPro of course). So if that is true then no, the helmet is not going to cause the problem which MIPS alleviates

Not sure what the frictional coefficients of bald heads vs hairy heads on snow are going to be so there may be room for argument here...
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