Is Your Skimo Helmet Legal for Racing? New ISMF Rule and the EN 12492, EN 1077 and UIAA 106 certifications

skimo-helmets-matchup

Several weeks ago, we hinted that some new ISMF rule changes will affect the gear skimo athletes will need to use at ISMF sanctioned races starting in the 2016/17 season. Since then one of the most debated topics among athletes revolves around helmets.

Here, we are taking a deeper look at:

  • the new ISMF helmet rule and how it will affect the use of your (and our) current helmets,
  • what the certifications/standards mean,
  • what you should pay attention to in a store,
  • which helmets currently on the market have both of these certifications.

* ISMF stands for International Ski Mountaineering Federation and is the world governing body for skimo racing.

The new ISMF rule and required helmet certifications

For years, ISMF required our skimo racing helmets to meet only the UIAA 106 or EN 12492 standards. Both are basically the same and saying a helmet has been certified for mountaineering.

However, with the beginning of the new racing season our helmets will also require the EN 1077 classB standard – effectively meaning, a helmet has been certified for alpine skiing.

This is the helmet rule to the letter as of last update in early October 2016:

A helmet conforming to:
- UIAA 106 (For season 2016-2017 : UIAA 106 and EN 1077 classB standards)
- or EN 12492 (For season 2016-2017 : or EN 12492 and EN 1077 classB standards).
Helmets must be used (chin-strap has to be fastened) during the whole race (from the start to the finish line). CE/UIAA: Yes.

What do these certifications and standards mean?

In a nutshell, this is the difference between the two certifications/standards:

  • UIAA 106 and EN 12492 standards test and approve helmets mainly for impact from above such as rockfall, hence, the standard was designed for climbing and mountaineering helmets.
  • EN 1077 standard tests and approves helmets for alpine skiing where a lot of impact is happening on collision or when a skier falls. Statistically, in such situations the impact is coming from the sides or the back of the head.
    This standard further divides into class A and class B, which essentially only differentiates the amount of head’s side and back areas covered up by the helmet. Class A helmets cover the head more while class B helmets less, however, both meet the same minimal impact force requirement protection from directions defined in the standard.

Do you really need a new helmet?

The answer is not black and white. First check your old helmet for certification tags to see whether or not it is compliant with both standards. Beyond this:

  • You will need a new helmet if you are planning on racing in World Cups, World Championships or any races that fully comply with ISMF rules.
  • You may not need a new helmet right away for racing in smaller events in the US, Canada and other countries depending whether their federations and organizers follow ISMF rules to the letter or are a bit more “accommodating” for the sake of growing the local skimo scene.

As for US and Canadian races, we received confirmation from both federations that they won’t be enforcing this rule in the current season, and will only start to do so from 2017/18. This is because many of the new helmets won’t even make it to North American market this year.

Buying your new certified skimo racing helmet

When buying your new lid you want to make absolutely sure that it has the above specified double-certification. Check for those little “EN” stickers or tags inside the helmet or on manufacturer’s website as not all store employees will know the correct answer.

Ventilation

We are curious to see how the new helmets will ventilate. While safety is a priority, in skimo we spend majority of time climbing, with the surface of our heads being one of the most important areas through which the body cools. On most ski-rated helmets, vents are conspicuously absent – likely because they are primarily designed for descending, and therefore warmth.

Road cycling also went through this “ventilation” debate but the speeds reached on a bicycle while climbing are much higher than while skinning and the helmets don’t need to meet the mountaineering standard; therefore, cooling is much easier. It will probably take a few years before a happy medium is found and a manufacturer can develop a new skim0-specific design.

Currently compliant helmets on the market under 500g

skimo-helmets-comply-ismfAccording to our own research (mainly based on manufacturers’ websites) here is a list of helmets that comply with the new ISMF rule and are currently on the market.

However,many of these won’t be available in North American stores just yet.

Alpina Snow Tour – 330g

Camp Pulse – around 360g (must be used with winter kit for double certification)

Cebe Trilogy – around 360g

Dynafit Daymaker - 320g

Dynafit DNA – 290g

Dynafit ST – 320g

Kong Kosmos – 390g (also certified for cycling)

Mammut Alpine Rider – 430g

Salewa Vert FSM – 400g

Salomon MTN Lab – 300g – Read our review!

Ski Trab Casco Gara/Race – 280g

Ski Trab Casco Maximo - 280g

Uvex P.8000 Tour – 310g

Non-compliant but popular “ski mountaineering” helmets

Note that some of these helmets might meet the EN 1077 standard for skiing in the future but they first need to be tested for it, thus, as of now they don’t comply:

Black Diamond Vapor

Black Diamond Vector

Camp Speed 2.0

Dynafit Radical

Edelrid Shield Lite

Kong Leef

La Sportiva Mulaz (same as Crazy Idea Crazy NRG)

La Sportiva RSR (same as Crazy Idea Crazy Carbon)

Petzl Scirocco

Petzl Meteor

Ski Trab Attivo (same helmet as Kong Leef)

12-Week Training Plan for Skimo Racing

Skimo Racing Manual

Comments

  1. Hi Michael,
    Yes, the ISMF rules are often confusing due to lack of (native) English speakers on their committees. Some times I send them my suggestions on how to word things differently to avoid confusion. There really is no money for that so it’s based on volunteers. Regardless, rules should be written with clarity, especially in English.

  2. Michael Kuonen says:

    Hi Stano. I am sorry, we did not understand each other correctly. I was not talking about your article. What you wrote is very clear.
    I was talking about the sporting rules of the ISMF. In my eyes those rules of the ISMF are not that clear.
    Sorry for the confusion.

  3. Hi Michael, I see. We wrote the article last season so it was discussing changes at the time. But yes, that helmet rule is now in full effect. However, there still are not many good fitting skimo helmets out in stores that comply. Obviously depends on personal fit.

  4. Michael Kuonen says:

    Hi Stano
    I was unsure beacaus the rule states “for season 2016-2017″ the additional certification EN 1077 is needed.
    Now I know that the certification is needed as well for the following seasons (2017-2018 etc.).

  5. Hi Michael,
    Which part of the article creates this concern for you?
    We tried to make it very clear that while some races in various countries might not follow this rule yet all ISMF sanctioned races will follow that rule.
    Thank you,
    Stano

  6. Michael Kuonen says:

    The sportin rules of ISMF 2017 – 2018 still state the same rule as cited in this article (i.e. double certification needed for season 2016-2017.

    One could think, that the double certification rule does not apply for season 2017-2018.

    Am I missing something?

  7. Eric,

    I got mine back in November through Snowinn. Shipping was easy and I got the helmet about 10 days after I ordered it. I thought all the World Qualifiers and big US races that are ISMF rule based would be requiring the dual cert helmets this year, which seem to not be the case. Overall, still really happy with the helmet.

  8. Eric,
    I also have the ST helmet. I got mine through SnowInn which looks like they are mostly sold out. Barrabes has it (www.barrabes.world) as does Telemark Pyrenees, but the shipping may not be as economical as from SnowInn.

    Jonathan,
    That makes sense given Sportiva’s ski hardgoods partnership with Trab. I should have thought of that.

  9. Eric Carter says:

    Tom – right on. Only question is where did you get it?!

  10. I have the new Dynafit ST helmet and only have positive comments. Trying to compare to climbing helmets isn’t a fair comparison and I think with the new dual certification rules, you have to accept a bit more weight and less ventilation. The Dynafit helmet has been very comfortable and with the removable ear flaps, provides some additional breathability. A bit less ventilation than my old race helmet, but with how cold the winter has been in the West, I haven’t minded the extra warmth.

  11. I think that La Sportiva model is identical to this Trab helmet? –
    http://skimo.co/ski-trab-gara-helmet

  12. Looks like the La Sportiva Combo helmet is also a contender at 290g, though looks like not available in North America and may even be hard to get shipped here as some sites won’t ship it to N.A per agreement with Sportiva.
    http://www.lasportiva.com/en/combo-helmet

    It seems to me this first generation of dual helmets misses the mark on ventilation and hopefully we’ll see successive generations be better ventilated? Hard to know what the limit between ventilation and being able to attain dual certification is, but it would be interesting to learn more about that.

    The DNA helmet looks to be the best in terms of ventilation due to the Koroyd tech used on the sides, but it seems to not available yet, even at European online sources.

  13. Hey Luke, Thanks for stopping by.
    I came across that helmet when researching and does meet both standards. However, its weight is listed over 500g so I did not include it here. Also its ventilation doesn’t appear enough for skimo but I could be wrong on this.

  14. Luke Nelson says:

    Stano- It also looks like the Sweet Protection Ignitor Alpiniste would meet the required standards. Worth checking out.

  15. David Dornian says:

    Salomon MTN Lab in stock at MEC Calgary, I noticed today. Looks like they’re coming to Canada.

  16. Dave, Peter, Jonathan here’s my take on things you are discussing:

    1) ISMF rules don’t say to wear a hat, cap, bandana, etc… they are just asking racers to carry it (like a windproof jacket). However, there could be the odd situation where an organizer or check-point personal will instruct you to put a hat or a bandana on (again, just like with a jacket, or crampons) because they decide conditions are calling for such measures.

    2) Removing liners, ear flaps versus certification:
    I think ear flaps, in most cases, have little to do with making a helmet withstand impact for from the side, thus, certification does not depend on them. But it would be different with padding or ear flaps as part of the inner liner. However, there might be helmet models that might meet the climbing cert with this liner and alpine cert with another liner (which perhaps is the case with Camp helmet cause it might not have enough plastic on the sides so they are “making up for it” with ear flaps).

  17. Rock rider and Alpine rider look like 2 different molds. Rock rider has bigger vents.

    I found this line in the EN 1077 Standard for class B
    “Parts below the AA’ plane (shaded part in Figure 1) are optional and may be detachable and/or removable.” Which would explain why many class B helmets are sold with detachable earflaps.
    Still un-conclusive as it is contrary to CAMP’s explicit statement, and the that the detachable pieces in many cases extend above the AA’ plane (many of these helmets have removable liners that might aid in fitting to the test headform not just earflaps.)

  18. “And of course you SHOULD have a hat/head covering, but – interestingly – this is not required by the rules.”
    Isn’t that for just being carried during the race?
    I mean, there’s never any requirement to actually wear a hat underneath your helmet?
    (I’d drop from heat stroke in many races if I had to wear a beanie under my helmet!)

  19. David Dornian says:

    “I’ve been wondering whether such liners will need to stay attached for high-level races so as to maintain ISMF compliance”…..

    Mammut Rock Rider (essentially an Alpine Rider w/o insulated liner) has only EN 12492 certification. Mammut Alpine Rider has EN 1077 also. As an ISMF referee I’m going to instruct race personnel to look in the helmet for both certification stickers and to look for signs of modification. As a Canadian referee, I’m going to keep it to ‘…must be wearing a climbing, ski, or cycling helmet, unmodified from original manufacturing standards’.

    And of course you SHOULD have a hat/head covering, but – interestingly – this is not required by the rules. ‘Ski cap or head band’ is currently under ‘Supplementary Equipment’ in the ISMF Sporting Rules & Regulations, meaning that it CAN be required for the given race at the discretion of the Jury President .

  20. “The liner is removable, which is fine for touring but not so convenient for racing.”
    I’ve been wondering whether such liners will need to stay attached for high-level races so as to maintain ISMF compliance, since I think the ski helmet cert might depend on an ear covering?
    When I compiled the above list (and yes, many of them are absurdly obscure for a North American purchaser!), some of the liners / ear pads are sold separately, while many (most?) are included yet removable, although removing them might revert the cert to a de facto climbing-only.

  21. David Dornian says:

    Nice piece, Stano. I’ve been using a Mammut Alpine Rider for the past two years and find it very good as a light ski helmet. However, as you point out, it isn’t necessarily skimo light, nor that cool when ascending. The liner is removable, which is fine for touring but not so convenient for racing. Of all the models mentioned, it is the one perhaps most easily available via the internet.

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