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Helmet advice - how to stop facial trauma - I had a crash

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Helmet advice - how to stop facial trauma in a crash - I've had a bad dry slope crash and looking for advice... how to upgrade my helmet to protect my face.

How can I protect my face from impacts of the ground ? Anyone else had facial trauma from ski accidents ?

Chin guards seem designed for gates, not for face planting and sliding against the ground. Anyone tried ice hockey face guards?










The helmet did me proud, this could clearly have been far worse. However, it didn't protect my face well, and the impact meant I suffered a lot of skin damage under the helmet on the forehead. The nature of accidents : they are uncontrolled : I had a ski melt (it was a hot sunny day, no sprinklers a the slope) at full chat mid turn, a ski turned to treacle under me (something I'm used to, so this isn't a novel experience....) I popped out of the binding and wham, face planted and rolled. (not sure which order). My leg would clearly have been a mess had it not been for the body armour.

I impacted the slope, mid slope, no other objects or skiers involved. (I rarely ski gates : no gates involved).


I'm a reasonably competent intermediate skier from the UK, and go to a weekly coaching session at Aldershot dry slope. I've been skiing for over 20 years, albeit only taking coaching seriously for the last 5 or so. (i.e. I am significantly better than most instructors at the slope, but aware what a rubbish skier I am compared to good skiers...)

I have had 1 bad accident about annually, for the last 2 or 4 years, and having a science background, continually reconsider my safety equipment, to see if I can engineer "mitigation" against the next accident. This is important as now I'm now a 50 year old 15 stone porker, and ski at much higher speeds than years ago, impacts tend to involve far greater energies.

For dry slope skiing I use body armour. The only person I know who does. I use shell trousers over Forecfield EN1621-1 Level 2 "grid"knee pads, forecfield (impact absorbing) "action"shorts, Forecefiled upper body protection : level 2 shoulder, elbow front and back protector : (EX-K harness "adventure" model). and a shell jacket over all that against dendex rash. (Id taken that off when the picture above was taken, so only the upper torso body armour can be seen).

The body armour is remarkable. Not so much as a bruise on the rest of my body. But my face. Yeagh : that's a mess.

At hospital they CT scanned me, as i was concussed and couldn't remember things, but luckily concluded my brain was ok. Well done helmet-I just wish I'd had more of it.

For my hands I use ice hockey gloves, (Graf supra G15) as I broke a thumb badly 20 years ago, and 2 years ago I broke a meta carpal, and most conventional ski gloves are rubbish on a (dendix) dry slope, which has stress raisers of metal bars which hold the nylon bristles, so the pressure involved in any impact is way higher than you'd get even onto concrete.


For my head I was wearing a Marker Cheetah helmet, c. 2009 design, which passes : CE EN 1077, ASTM F 2040, and covers the ears. It is made from ABS, polystyrene, so not a bad piece of kit, but no protection for the face, and no protection for oblique impacts like a modern MIPS or SPIN lid could do.

I've read extensively online looking for evidence for face protectors, and can find little, some feel they could result in neck injuries. I did find a paper showing they are really good for ice hockey : The impact of face shield use on concussions in ice hockey: a multivariate analysis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11867489

obviously in ice hockey they have a different form of accident : being hit by the puck.

So I'm wondering about getting something like a POC COMP SPIN helmet (for all the goodies to do with oblique impact, penetration protection etc), and then adding something like : https://gb.hockeyoffice.com/helmet-cages-visor-and-shield/bauer-concept-3-face-shield-senior-N1033720-i.html

Despite reading the blurb gushing about how amazing even a helmet made for world cup racing is, such as a POC or Sweetwater, I barely believe it. Clearly they are pretty agricultural in structure, and thin, there is very little energy dispersing material to deform inside current helmets. There should be. (just compare them to motorcycle ones...), thickness is key, it's the deceleration zone.

I don't have accidents often, but they have the potential to be major, and I would prefer to engineer solutions to mitigate against them in anticipation, and in particular whenever I have a damaging accident that is novel, like now, that seems a good time to start thinking again...
chin guards seem to be face protectors designed for people who don't like wearing things -why on earth isn't ski equipment built like ice hockey kit? I remember seeing bizarre hat like things with chin guards years ago "for people that didn't like helmets but wanted to race gates". Mad...



Any suggestions would be gratefully received. I'm looking for outside the box constructive suggestions rather than "you can't do anything about freak accidents", as almost by definition every accident is a freak one!

jonathan


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 21-05-18 15:32; edited 1 time in total
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You can wear a full face helmet like a Downhill MTB one if you want - but like you said you are trading one risk for another - the jaw guard "could" cause greater rotation to the neck potentially. Were you wearing goggles? Flush fitting withe helmet brim? They might have protected your face more.

But in reality for dry slope if you are just leisure skiing/drilling what's wrong with being a bit more circumspect and less of the "full chat"? Would seem to be the easiest risk mitigation available.
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Motorbike helmet if you really want protection. Some of the older ones are pretty lightweight and more than up to the impacts of skiing, full face gives you half a chance on this kind of impact.
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Another possibility is American Football Helmet as they do a variety of faceguards - different guards for different positions & would have hard impact in mind.
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Hi there thanks for the replies : I was wearing prescription glasses (Happened to be Oakleys, seem to be a plastic ABS or polycarbonate frame), with polycarbonate lenses : they ended up mangled to hell, but of themselves didn't' cause me any injury.

I didn't realise I was doing anything dangerous, I was in fact working on leg rotation, under coaches orders (who has a very goo safety record with pupils)... so my speed was typical, but fast for most people on the slope (so parallel skiing has a necessary inertial dynamic characteristic to it), I was perhaps being flippant when saying "full chat".

An interesting thought old style motorcycle helmets... I was hoping I could put something together so it was a more known quantity however out of modern gear (so energy absorbing materials for instance will be good etc), but definitely worth thinking about.
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jonnyhifi wrote:
dendex

It is Dendix.

I don't think a properly fitting helmet should cause the damage to your forehead that is in the pictures, how much can your one move about when you are wearing it ?

The new FIS RH 2013 spec helmets are more solidly constructed than earlier ones, but are only designed to have wire chin guards to protect against gates, I don't know of any that would take any other type of chin protection.

You could always try a Ruroc.
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I just found the following comparing the standards for energy absorption for various american standards of helmets :
https://www.helmets.org/testlinecomparison.pdf

The hemispheric anvil is grapefruit-size, with a 48mm/1.9" radius. The curbstone anvil
is a slightly rounded 90 degree bend, with the helmet dropped vertically onto the bend.
Standard Flat Anvil Hemi Curbstone Notes
CPSC Bicycle 6.2 4.8 4.8
F429 Football 5.4 N/A N/A NOCSAE headform
Multiple hits on MEP pad
F 1045 Ice Hockey 4.5 N/A N/A Multiple hits on MEP pad
F 1163 Equestrian 6.0 Hazzard: 5.0
F 1447 Bicycle 6.2 4.8 4.8
F 1492 Skate 4.6 4.6 4.6 2 hits on flat.
Cylindrical and
triangular anvils.
F 1849 Short Track 6.2 Blade anvil Blade anvil: 3.8
F 1898 Infant-Toddler 6.2 4.8 4.8
F 1952 Downhill MBR 6.2 5.6 5.6
F 2032 BMX Bike 6.2 4.8 4.8
F 2040 Snow 6.2 4.8 Edge: 4.5
F 2530 Bull Riding 6.0 Hazzard: 5.0
F 3103 O.R. Motorcycle 6.2 5.4 (DOT-dwell time)
Snell B-90A Bicycle 6.6/6.2 5.0 4.8
Snell B-95 Bicycle 6.6 5.4/5.0 5.4/5.0
EN 1078 Bicycle/Skate 5.4 4.6 Euro rig, 250g
SO a normal snow helmet is more like a BMX bike rather than an ice hockey helmet...
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Reading on line about the Ruroc, the fact that the chin piece is not designed to be anything other than cosmetic, is pretty off putting. It's a real shame, as I think they've missed an opportunity there, albeit it would obviously give some abrasion resistance.

the helmet I believe fits ok , (though could be better I or it have changed over the years), and remained on throughout. The picture of me with it on, was post accident, before I took it off.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Mon 21-05-18 15:34; edited 1 time in total
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I've corrected the dendix typo, ty !
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Thinking about it - don't see how you would get that forehead injury from a face plant with a properly fitted helment unless its the glasses being forced up under the helmet wot did it. Eyewear would be my prime suspect here - there is a reason sunglasses aren't advised for skiing for this very reason.
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@jonnyhifi, ouch...really, ouch.

I suspect your helmet is NOT optimum - either in fit or design. Full face POC Cortex is what we wear fro DH, not MIPS, since the helmets are so asymetric I can't see what MIPS offers. And I wouldn't even contemplate one of these for Dendix, since the potential for grabbing and rotational brain injury is so high. I would go big and round and smooth and thick - bone dome with MIPS and thick protection - POC Receptor for example, of ProTEc US stuff; and have it well over the brow - so lots of fiddling with straps to get it low at the front when you first get it. And clear, big goggles - eg Oakley Canopy with clear lens, or POC DH googles, both of which will take prescription glasses underneath.

And slow down?

Hope things heal soon. And stop smarting...
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@jonnyhifi, ouch! I suspect @Dave of the Marmottes, has a point.

Also, just how full is full chat at Aldershot, I mean, a. it's Dendix - so by nature slow and requires greater stopping distances and b. it doesn't look that long?
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Ty for your thoughts : I shall google the helmets in question. I see the logic of big round smooth : a guiding principle for any helmet in any activity so as to reduce torque when it contacts something in an accident, which is surprisingly overlooked in so many designs.
Slow down ? Wink Never ! Wink

ty for your kind thoughts.

And full chat at Aldershot, yeagh it is like sliding down dry sandpaper... about 10 meters long. lol it's probably all of 5 mph, given 99% of recreational skiers never get over 15mph on snow... I can't give you a measured speed I'm afraid. I guess I could work it out from a video knowing the frame rate/ length of ski... one for a bored 10 minutes... Smile but certainly it involves some serious poleing to start with at the top of the ramp to get up to speed for things to work.
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I would strongly recommend either a downhill mountainbike or trails bike helmet. They are designed to protect in instances of impact with rough ground at high speed. Most downhill skiing helmets, as has already been said here, are designed for impact with gates rather than the ground.

https://dirtmountainbike.com/how-to-tips/best-full-face-downhill-helmets-2017/

Funnily enough, I learned to ski at Aldershot too before I ever skied on snow. Broke both my thumbs catching them in the hexagonal pattern matting they had then !
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@Blackblade, it wasn’t dendix?

I think most mats were hexagon shaped. Bearsden used to have some very horrible stuff. Had buckets full of hand wash (or something) at the top to smear on the skis on Friday race nights (1980s).

I have a circa 2001 Uvex ski helmet that is somewhat heavy and not so much fun but it does have a chin guard.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@jonnyhifi,
Quote:

"you can't do anything about freak accidents", as almost by definition every accident is a freak one!


Well no, I don't think so. Skiing full pelt on a hot sunny unwatered dry slope must increase chance of accident dramatically. The nature of the surface then increases the chance of abrasion injuries, compared with most types of snow. With you having a science background, the outcomes must be entirely predictable. My mitigation would be to go to an indoor snow shed occasionally.

Do your 'major' accidents ever happen on snow? snowHead
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Hi Peaky : I take with some blushing a lot of what you say as being sensible. They still have the slimey stuff at the top of the slope- a commercial product sold to dry slopes, which clearly has been formulated by someone who has no idea about what it needs to do. It's brilliant for about four feet. then it's all gone. Essentially useless.
We wax our skis with CH4 so a hard "cold" wax so it has the most chance of lasting some on the slope.

We usually use a wax I've formulated which melts a a smidge above air temperature so it has maximum ability to absorb energy from the phase change, and also lubricates well, works way way better than the commercial stuff. It works pretty well and gets you most of the way down the slope, and the slope rapidly becomes better when we as a group have spread some of it around by skiing on it.
This particular day we didn't have "our" stuff around. We'd done most of our work in slow snow ploughs towards the bottom, and I'd had a few parallel runs to see how it was coming together.
The risk of heat build up and skis melting was obv. high, but as I say something I'm used to given the shocking nature of the Aldershot slope, and of itself not a reason to be expecting a high accident rate: but obv on this occasion the stars aligned in a bad way.

I do ski on snow as well of course : and am well versed of its strengths and weaknesses for training (as Dendix has strengths and weaknesses). but in the SE of the UK real snow is mostly in limited supply. Skiing on snow is a relatively small amount of my overall skiing time over a year, but yeagh I've had one biggish one on snow that comes to mind a couple of years back which was during a speed tolerance verticale run on a blue/red in italy : though none needing a hospital luckily. Despite what it may sound like, big accidents are a rare occurrence for me : but I'm keen to ensure the ramifications from the occasional big one is mitigated. I also don't consider myself attracted to high risk activities (I've never gone for jumping stuff : going for forays off piste without a local knowledgeable guide, i won't ski through trees etc esp as the statistics show deaths occur often by people hitting solid immovable things : like trees...) so I am naturally quite risk averse.
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I avoid dry slopes for the very reason you have experienced; they hurt when you fall over. Sad There is a fairly long dry slope in my home town of Llandudno (only a 10 minute drive from my home). I've never been on it. I prefer to drive an hour and a half to the Chillfactore in Manchester and ski on snow (albeit man made). snowHead
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@Awdbugga, Llandudno uses a different type of matting, it used to be Dendix but switched to PermaSnow when John Nike Leisure bought the slope.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Were you wearing goggles? Flush fitting withe helmet brim? They might have protected your face more.


This is definitely good advice. When I snapped my ski in VT I went straight down onto my nose. My nose compressed a bit until it met the goggle line, at which point the force was spread over my whole upper face by the goggle frame.

I think honestly if I had not worn the goggles then I would have broken my nose. I landed on it very hard and set it off bleeding pretty good as it was, but the goggles prevented my nose from pressing in very far.
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jonnyhifi wrote:
... a wax I've formulated which melts a a smidge above air temperature so it has maximum ability to absorb energy from the phase change...

How does that work?

--
Drunk celebrities have been known to head-butt trees, but rather like celebrity death from falling on a beginner slope, the actual risk of that is relatively low.
Tree well risk (for example) is likely to be much more significant.
Take a look at how trees are designed: you have to work your way through the branches to bang your head on them, it's not that easy to do.

I'm sure that if you're determined to face-slap anything, a full-face helmet would be better than a fashionable one.

On the plus side, once you get your front teeth replaced with implants, they are designed to break above the abutments, so further damage is relatively easy to fix.
---

Llandudno? How long is that and is it any good? I was thinking of staying there to check out the surf place, and maybe could combine a couple of sports...
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philwig wrote:

Llandudno? How long is that and is it any good? I was thinking of staying there to check out the surf place, and maybe could combine a couple of sports...


It's pretty long. I'm not sure exactly how long and I can't find any info on their web site.

The surf centre in Dolgarrog is supposed to be excellent. A friend of mine has been there and enjoyed it.

There's also the Zip World Forest run - https://www.zipworld.co.uk/adventure/fforest-coaster. I've not tried that yet.

Then there's Zip World Zip wire in Bethesda, where they have the longest zip wire in Europe and the fastest in the world. You reach speeds of 95mph lying on your belly going over a lake. https://www.zipworld.co.uk/adventure/velocity?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8KyW---Z2wIV4b_tCh0UIw58EAAYASAAEgKJiPD_BwE. I've done that. It's not cheap, but good fun.

Then there's the underground extreme adventure nearly Blaenau Ffestiniog - http://www.go-below.co.uk/Ultimate-Xtreme.asp I've done that also. It's a full day , 9.00 until 4.00. It's good fun. I wouldn't class it as extreme though.

Of course there is also great mountain biking in the area.

North Wales is now the place to go in the UK if you want fun outdoors.

Sales pitch over. wink
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@Awdbugga, +1 for your N. Wales outdoor fun sales pitch, and I'm not even Welsh.

+1 also for your views on dry slopes.
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How about this one....seems to tick the full face protection box ? wink

Seriously though, I can see from your last posting that you're more measured than I inferred from your OP and well informed.

Motorbike helmet with built in visor maybe?
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