Helmets

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Gear
Ovo Bomber

The effervescent Italian racehorse Alberto Tomba made it hot. The soft-spoken, hard-charging freeskier Brant Moles made it cool. And Ryan Kirk, the 15-year-old who wrecked big at a recent Whistler camp-and who sent his crumpled helmet back to Leedom with a gushing thank you-note-made it eminently practical.
"It," of course, is wearing a helmet. Now snow-sliders of all persuasions, from snowboarders and rug-rats to big mountain skiers and graying retirees, are protecting their skulls with helmets. For the coming season, helmet makers are keeping in step with the demand, introducing models that are more comfortable, feature better venting, and are lighter in weight while still meeting new safety standards.[250AD LEFT]

ACERBIS
800-274-6815
www.acerbis.it
The Italian-made Acerbis line re-enters the U.S. market with a fresh lineup of helmets. Acerbis has been a leading producer of protective gear for the motorcycle industry for decades and has produced ski helmets since the mid-80's. For 2002-03, Acerbis offers four models, all with full CE and ASTM certification. Most helmets come with Coolmax liners; all are available with airbrushed graphics. The aerodynamic Manta ($69-$229), for younger skiers, features Acerbis' AVS (Air Vent System). For adults, the Razor ($79-$249) features an exclusive goggle retention system and adjustable ventilation. For freeriders, Acerbis offers the Stomper ($99 to $149 depending on graphic options), a lightweight and form-fitting helmet with an open-air vent system. The Integral Impact ($425), complete with integral face guard and visor, is for the serious skier- and border-cross competitor. The Acerbis wintersports collection is distributed by Reliable Racing Supply, Inc. and can be viewed in its own booth next door to RRS at the SIA show.
Standout Model: The Stomper SK (around $129).

Arnette
888-276-3883
www.arnette.com
With the introduction of the Jet Wing freestyle helmet, Arnette becomes a player in the helmet market. Technical features of this lightweight helmet include a passive, adjustable ventilation system to optimize air flow through front and rear openings, removable padded ear pieces, a metal net to protect air vents from penetration, and an external cap with UV protected paint treatment. The Jet Wing is goggle-compatible and meets CE1077 and ASTM standards.
Standout Model: Jet Wing

Bieffe
www.bieffeamerica.com
Bieffe's been making motorcycle helmets since 1972, ski helmets for the last four years. The buckets are made in Italy, and distributed by the Matrix Sports Group in Livermore, California. Aerialist Eric Bergoust uses the company's Cirque ($90), a shorty style helmet with removable earflaps.
Standout Model: The Comp 2 ($200), a kevlar-fiberglass composite shell with a Coolmax interior, is the helmet of choice for Olympic hopeful Erik Schlopy.

Boeri
800-394-6741
www.boeriusa.com
The Boeri line unveiled at the SIA show in Las Vegas will represent the first production from a brand-new, 30,000-foot, state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Pieve Porto Morone, Italy. The Italian company, in the headgear business for more than 37 years, says the new factory will have the capability for increased capacity, making a "remarkable difference" in the company's ability to get pre-season orders filled. All 2002-03 models meet or exceed ASTM or CE standards. Models returning to the line include Myto Air ($105-$140), the best-selling and easiest-fitting bucket; Axis ($140-$170) with Outlast and special chimney venting, and Rage ($140), a short shell with Outlast.
Standout Model: Apollo ($70). It's an injection-molded adjustable kids helmet with an EPS liner, passive venting, and jaw piece compatibility.

Briko
800-GBRIKO
www.briko.com
Briko is a helmet company with a strong racing pedigree. (Throughout the line, helmets are either CE or ASTM approved.) But the company is lightening up and making a move to appeal to the mass market. One new model is the Forerunner Special freeride helmet. Its features include an external polycarbonate shell with UV protective paint, internal shell with channels for optimal airflow, MAXI DRY internal fabric lining with anallergic and antibacterial treatments, a ventilation system with upper aerator, and micrometric adjustments for precise temperature regulation.
Standout Model: Forerunner Special

Bula
800-262-9909
www.bulabula.com
Bula, known for its innovative, trend-setting line of 300 different hats, also offers a superlight helmet, the ASTM-approved, 3/4 Free Ride, which comes in 15 different graphics and colors. New this year: Adjustable venting and removable earflaps.
Standout Model: 3/4 Free Ride ($110)

Carerra
800-526-0327
www.carrerasport.comNo information on the Carerra helmet line was available at press time.

Gabel
888-GO-GABEL
www.gabel.net
All Gabel's helmets for 2002-03 will meet the standards for ASTM, FISI, and CE. At the top of the line is the National Team Carbon ($160), which will feature a new graphic: A see-through coating over a sold painted bottom. New to the line is the Carbon Jr. ($130), with an optional face bar for racing. Rival ($100), a high-end helmet with a snowboard look, has active ventilation through top chimney rotating discs that allow the rider to open and close air flow. Playing on the military theme, the Tanker's ($100) graphics include military green and UN blue.
Standout Model: The Freeride ($129) has removable ear flaps and Gabel's active venting called A.C.S. (air cool system).

Gath
800-786-7245
www.murrays.com
Australia-based Gath first made waves on the surfing scene with its lightweight close-fitting headgear. More than a hat but less than a helmet, the Gath Hat is "ideal cross-sport headgear, providing comfortable protection from cold, sun, wind, abrasion and minor impact," says Steve Murray of Murray's, the company's U.S. distributor. It's marketed to skiers, snowboarders, surfers, and wakeboarders. Admittedly it's not designed to protect from a head-on crash with a solid object. The Gath with Fixed, Partial Visor ($129) provides extra protection from sun and from frontal abrasion.
Standout Model: The Gath Pro Hat ($99) is the basis of the line.

Giro
800-294-6098
www.giro.com/snow
Originally a bike helmet company, Giro got into the wintersports biz in 1998, and has since become the number-two helmet maker. Giro's success can be attributed to innovative technologies. In 2000-01, the company introduced its best-selling Giro 9, the first snowsports helmet to use weight-reducing in-molding technology. "In-molding enabled us to create a lightweight helmet with giant vents," says Giro marketing manager Daryl Price. Giro will introduce a new model called the Fuse at SIA. Strong sellers like The Ravine, Pitch, S4, and Sonic will return to the line.
Standout Model: Giro 9 is back with new colors.

Jofa
800-274-6815
www.reliableracing.com
The popular Jofa 2400 ($69) is still available from Reliable Racing Supply (on view in the RRS booth). It's a traditional ball-shaped helmet at an attractive price-point. Available in four pearlescent colors, one price fits every head.
Standout Model: Jofa 2400.

Leedom
800-536-6695
www.leedomhelmets.com
Introduced in 1997, Leedom helmets feature two key technologies: Energy Absorbing Ribs, with crush zones between the ribs to manage impacts, and Airflow Control, with channels between the ribs integrated with vents, which slide open and closed for temperature regulation. Leedom helmets boast Snell RS-98 certification, which requires 40 percent more impact protection than the ASTM and CE standards. All Leedom's high-end models come with CoolMax liners and are made with Memory Foam, which conforms to the shape of a rider's head. For 2002-03, the Scream has a full shell and is available in different performance levels. The Limit is a half shell with soft ears. Watch for Leedom at the Olympics on the head of Jonny Moseley.
Standout Model: The skate-inspired Cut ($120-$160).

Louis Garneau
800-448-1984
Canadian champion cyclist Louis Garneau started his eponymous company in his father's garage in 1983. The company expanded beyond cycling shorts, making bike helmets in 1988 and ski helmets in 1995. The company has a plant outside Quebec City and a manufacturing facility in Vermont. For 2002-03, all the winter helmets are ASTM certified, including two new models. The Eclypse ($70-$80), intended for snowboarders, has 14 vents and detachable ear shields.
Standout Model: The Stream Team ($120) is a lightweight, high-end model.

Ovo
877-OVO-USA5
www.ovousa.com
"Ovo" means "rejoice" in Latin, which is what you do when a helmet saves your melon. Especially when it's a stylie helmet, a point Ovo prides itself on. This nascent company first introduced helmets in 2000-01, on a limited basis. Returning to the Ovo lineup is the Alpha series ($70 to $120), with both full-coverage models and three-quarter-cut models. Two of the adult models are equipped with a removable Coolmax liner. All three-quarter-cut helmets have removable ear pieces for warm days. New for 2002-03 is the Bomber ($120-$130), a helmet with leather construction and an aluminum cap. All Ovo helmets meet or exceed ASTM and CE standards.
Standout Model: The Titan ($170) is built with a two-ply carbon-fiber cap and a three-point goggle retention system.

Pro-tec
800-338-6068
pro-tec@mosa.com
Pro-tec's 2002-03 line will feature the Ace FreeCarve ($75), which has massive front vent holes coupled with generous ventilation channels. Full-face helmets aren't just for boardercross anymore, says Pro-tec, which offers three such models. The Ace Fullface has a low profile chin bar and MX Visor for true motocross styling ($65). The lightweight, low-profile, super-breathable Ace HalfPipe ($50; $60 with pro graphics) can be winterized with snap-on ear pieces.
Standout Model: The CE-certified Ace FreeRide ($60).

Red
800-881-3138
www.burton.com
Red, which stands for Rider Enhancing Devices (or Rider Engineered Design) includes a line of snowboard specific helmets designed with pro rider input from the likes of Victoria Jealouse, Shannon Dunn, and Ross Powers. All the helmets are designed to ASTM specifications and vary for specific riding needs, like boardercross, spring conditions, and kids snowboarding. For the coming season, Red will introduce Remix ($130), with men's and women's versions, featuring a new Brock AC foam liner that the company says will mean "unprecedented moisture transport and ventilation." Working with a small group of team riders, Red developed its new Hi-Fi ($100), a super lightweight helmet for park and pipe.
Standout Model: Helmet X ($130) features a Passive Venting System for climate control and a Cranium Crank for custom-fitting.

Salomon
800-654-2668
www.salomon-sports.com
This season Salomon introduces Autofit Coolmax foam in the liners of its high-end helmets, two new junior models, and new colors and graphics in selected models. The helmets continue to maintain adjustable ventilation on top, alongnage impacts, and Airflow Control, with channels between the ribs integrated with vents, which slide open and closed for temperature regulation. Leedom helmets boast Snell RS-98 certification, which requires 40 percent more impact protection than the ASTM and CE standards. All Leedom's high-end models come with CoolMax liners and are made with Memory Foam, which conforms to the shape of a rider's head. For 2002-03, the Scream has a full shell and is available in different performance levels. The Limit is a half shell with soft ears. Watch for Leedom at the Olympics on the head of Jonny Moseley.
Standout Model: The skate-inspired Cut ($120-$160).

Louis Garneau
800-448-1984
Canadian champion cyclist Louis Garneau started his eponymous company in his father's garage in 1983. The company expanded beyond cycling shorts, making bike helmets in 1988 and ski helmets in 1995. The company has a plant outside Quebec City and a manufacturing facility in Vermont. For 2002-03, all the winter helmets are ASTM certified, including two new models. The Eclypse ($70-$80), intended for snowboarders, has 14 vents and detachable ear shields.
Standout Model: The Stream Team ($120) is a lightweight, high-end model.

Ovo
877-OVO-USA5
www.ovousa.com
"Ovo" means "rejoice" in Latin, which is what you do when a helmet saves your melon. Especially when it's a stylie helmet, a point Ovo prides itself on. This nascent company first introduced helmets in 2000-01, on a limited basis. Returning to the Ovo lineup is the Alpha series ($70 to $120), with both full-coverage models and three-quarter-cut models. Two of the adult models are equipped with a removable Coolmax liner. All three-quarter-cut helmets have removable ear pieces for warm days. New for 2002-03 is the Bomber ($120-$130), a helmet with leather construction and an aluminum cap. All Ovo helmets meet or exceed ASTM and CE standards.
Standout Model: The Titan ($170) is built with a two-ply carbon-fiber cap and a three-point goggle retention system.

Pro-tec
800-338-6068
pro-tec@mosa.com
Pro-tec's 2002-03 line will feature the Ace FreeCarve ($75), which has massive front vent holes coupled with generous ventilation channels. Full-face helmets aren't just for boardercross anymore, says Pro-tec, which offers three such models. The Ace Fullface has a low profile chin bar and MX Visor for true motocross styling ($65). The lightweight, low-profile, super-breathable Ace HalfPipe ($50; $60 with pro graphics) can be winterized with snap-on ear pieces.
Standout Model: The CE-certified Ace FreeRide ($60).

Red
800-881-3138
www.burton.com
Red, which stands for Rider Enhancing Devices (or Rider Engineered Design) includes a line of snowboard specific helmets designed with pro rider input from the likes of Victoria Jealouse, Shannon Dunn, and Ross Powers. All the helmets are designed to ASTM specifications and vary for specific riding needs, like boardercross, spring conditions, and kids snowboarding. For the coming season, Red will introduce Remix ($130), with men's and women's versions, featuring a new Brock AC foam liner that the company says will mean "unprecedented moisture transport and ventilation." Working with a small group of team riders, Red developed its new Hi-Fi ($100), a super lightweight helmet for park and pipe.
Standout Model: Helmet X ($130) features a Passive Venting System for climate control and a Cranium Crank for custom-fitting.

Salomon
800-654-2668
www.salomon-sports.com
This season Salomon introduces Autofit Coolmax foam in the liners of its high-end helmets, two new junior models, and new colors and graphics in selected models. The helmets continue to maintain adjustable ventilation on top, along with removable ear pads. All Salomon helmets meet current CE, TUV, and ASTM safety standards. With a speed-oriented design and classic lines, the Speed line offers different foam configurations reflecting different levels of value. Models include Mach 2 Racing ($179), Mach 2 ($149), and Screamer ($109). With design traits inspired by the surfing world, the Freestyle line returns with new foams in the liners. New this season are the Choopa ($69) and Karamba ($59) for juniors.
Standout Model: The full-faced Crossmax ($329).

Uvex
888-616-8839
www.uvexsports.com
Uvex has a long history in protective equipment as a safety and motorcycle products company. Uvex's new line will feature improved venting systems as well as a number of new finishes, including stone. For 2002-03, Uvex is expanding its helmet offering in both the Free Ride and Alpine series. The Alpine series includes: Wing Chrome ($200); F1 Carbon ($100), with a new shape; F1 Clear ($80), with a new shape; Wing Basic ($70); and Hurricane Jr. ($60). The Free Ride Series will include Regulator ($110); Half helmet ($70), with a new shape; and Hurricane Freeride Jr. ($60), with a new shape.
Standout Model: The new ASTM-certified Apache ($120).

W Helmets
800-816-2505
www.whelmets.com
Making its official debut this year at SIA, W Helmets ($100-$150) by Team Wendy promises to introduce "the most significant technological advancement in helmet safety in more than 30 years." W Helmets contain Zorbium Foam, which, according to the company, absorbs more impact energy than the EPP and EPS foams typically used in helmets. In traditional construction, the foams crack on impct in order to protect the wearer's head, thus limiting their effectiveness to one crash. W Helmets are engineered to "absorb impact energy through dissipation," enabling them to be effective for multiple impacts.
Standout Feature: Dialit is W Helmets' universal fit system.long with removable ear pads. All Salomon helmets meet current CE, TUV, and ASTM safety standards. With a speed-oriented design and classic lines, the Speed line offers different foam configurations reflecting different levels of value. Models include Mach 2 Racing ($179), Mach 2 ($149), and Screamer ($109). With design traits inspired by the surfing world, the Freestyle line returns with new foams in the liners. New this season are the Choopa ($69) and Karamba ($59) for juniors.
Standout Model: The full-faced Crossmax ($329).

Uvex
888-616-8839
www.uvexsports.com
Uvex has a long history in protective equipment as a safety and motorcycle products company. Uvex's new line will feature improved venting systems as well as a number of new finishes, including stone. For 2002-03, Uvex is expanding its helmet offering in both the Free Ride and Alpine series. The Alpine series includes: Wing Chrome ($200); F1 Carbon ($100), with a new shape; F1 Clear ($80), with a new shape; Wing Basic ($70); and Hurricane Jr. ($60). The Free Ride Series will include Regulator ($110); Half helmet ($70), with a new shape; and Hurricane Freeride Jr. ($60), with a new shape.
Standout Model: The new ASTM-certified Apache ($120).

W Helmets
800-816-2505
www.whelmets.com
Making its official debut this year at SIA, W Helmets ($100-$150) by Team Wendy promises to introduce "the most significant technological advancement in helmet safety in more than 30 years." W Helmets contain Zorbium Foam, which, according to the company, absorbs more impact energy than the EPP and EPS foams typically used in helmets. In traditional construction, the foams crack on impct in order to protect the wearer's head, thus limiting their effectiveness to one crash. W Helmets are engineered to "absorb impact energy through dissipation," enabling them tto be effective for multiple impacts.
Standout Feature: Dialit is W Helmets' universal fit system.