A year at the plate

07 Dec, 2010

I was hesitant to start wearing a helmet last season but as I ventured into the park and listened to my readers, I realized it was time to stop messing around and put a lid on it.  Since then I’ve been rocking Sandbox and Bern helmets for the majority of last season, last summer and now this season.  The reason I got a helmet was for my park progression as I started hitting bigger boxes and rails, eventually learning to ollie onto features this summer.  Quite honestly I never hit my head as often until I started wearing a helmet last year.  I guess it only goes to show when you start trying new stuff, you’ll fall a lot more often.  Now after rocking helmets for the past year, I now wear them entirely on the mountain and can only think of a handful of days where I left the helmet at home.

When I got my helmet last year, I was afraid of getting that “I’m invincible” feeling on the mountain but now I’m used to the hard hat that covers up my head and I know that I’ll just keep doing my thing on the mountain whether or not I’m stepping up my progression enough.  My Sandbox helmet has scratches and a lot of wear from the slam but its done its job so far.

I look at what riders are doing now and I’m amazed by the risks they are taking without offering more protection to the most important part of their body.  After the year we just had in snowboarding with watching Kevin Pearce’s recovery, it’s amazing that it hasn’t hit home to more riders. It takes me a second longer to put on a helmet for the day and hope that I get to keep riding because of it.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. GC
    December 07, 2010

    You’re doing a good job influencing your peers and your readers by wearing a helmet. Some pros simply will refuse to wear a helmet. I’m on my third helmet. I wear one so I can live another day and don’t become a vegetable.

  2. December 07, 2010
  3. JPT
    December 07, 2010

    I also first started wearing a helmet just for park but once you get used to it I cannot see a reason to go without it.

    I think I have warn my helmet every time out since about 2003-4

  4. Michael
    December 07, 2010

    They are called brain buckets for a reason. Thanks for being a great role model!

  5. Ali
    December 07, 2010

    I have noticed more and more parks are making helmets mandatory. Also my snow school is about to make it mandatory for instructors. These are obviously for liability and insurance reasons. I don’t mind as long as it gets people to wear one, a bad accident only has to happen once, even to the most experience riders. Good for you for getting the awareness out there Shay.


  6. December 07, 2010

    I still don’t have a helmet – no big deal.

  7. a
    December 07, 2010


  8. Francis
    December 07, 2010

    Hi Shay
    I am totally agree, I been riding for 9 years now and right on my second season I was riding with Helmet.
    In the East Coast where it is icy most of the time and cold day, it is nice to have on.
    Plus for me it is like a Seat belt Car… (Can you drive your car with no belt anymore?)
    I am now at my second Helmet … good company Helmet like Giro or others are now so light when it fits right on your skull (need to be adjusted) is a really good wise investment for future life quality!

  9. Yessi
    December 07, 2010

    I’m still not totally comfortable riding with my helmet on. I really don’t like it, but if I hit the park, I have to wear it.
    I feel like a bobblehead or something. :/ Just a weird feeling. Hopefully, I’ll get used to it.

  10. Gil
    December 07, 2010

    I own 2 berns and 2 pro tecs. The 2 pro tecs are from the late 90’s.
    I’ve been wearing helmets for the better part of 12 years now, and I’ve had my spills.
    Like one poster above said, the east coast does get icy and this is what prompted me to wear them. As I progressed, having them on already was a “no brainer” (pun intented).
    A lot of people only use them for park sessions, but I can honestly say that even cruising around, it has saved my noggin from smackin when an edge catches, especially when trying to avoid other riders (skiiers and boarders alike).
    Preach on girl, this is one topic that everyone should be talkin about.

  11. December 07, 2010

    Been riding for around 12 years too and have only had a helmet for about half of that time. 2 concussions convinced me to try a helmet. I was reluctant to try it but wouldn’t ride without one now. Super warm too. Get one!

  12. Kimi
    December 08, 2010

    i decided to get a helmet after a very bad concusion. i wasnt even in the park, it was just one of those typical New England end-of-the-day freezes. i hit the ice and just couldnt catch it. i did one more season with out it and grabbed one at the mt snow season end sale. it was $75 originally and i got it for about 60% off.

    i am very small so i was lucky to find the Smith Holt Jr. it has so many adjustments, i was very suprized that it is so comfortable. it has screened air vents in top and over my ears so i can hear just as well as without it but it. i feel much more relaxed with my helmet. i think everyone should consider wearing one, especially now that theres more styles and they dont have to make you feel trapped or claustrophobic like the old ones.
    Thanx Shay!
    Ps. its also headphone compatable (but i dont wear them so im not sure what that means)

  13. Colonel
    December 09, 2010

    A helmet is like a seat belt is a perfect analogy. Those that don’t wear them are just immature idiots. I hate to be harsh but really there is no reason not to wear one. I accidentally hit my hip on a rock that was under a thin layer of powder one year and if it had been my head I might not be here rigth now. Helmets are good no matter how funny it looks or feels.

  14. Pierce
    December 13, 2010

    i dont really understand wearing these kind of helmets, they really dont look good and theyre not certified, if youre going to where a helmet why not wear a bern hardhat or somthing it looks way better and actually serves a purpose

  15. ben
    December 14, 2010

    bought a K2 helmet 3 years ago and hated it… felt like a bobble head it was so heavy and always felt my balance was off so I quit wearing it with the notion that I was more likely to crash and get hurt with poor balance.
    After a lot of research I just bought a Smith Maze… lightest certified. I forget I am wearing it and I do feel alot safer. No more bobble head and it has a built in Skull Candy system that sounds great.
    Thanks Shay, this planted the seed that got me searching for a helmet I could use.

    @ Yessi: just get a lighter helmet… you will be stoked.

    @ Pierce: Sandbox offers both certified and un-certified helmets.

    @ Colonel: calling people out as idiots is a great way to keep them from wearing safety gear… if your gear looks funny you are not likely to use it, if it feels funny you should replace it as it is most likely not doing its job. There are great reasons to use safety gear… if we are advocating that people use it and it sounds like you are, we should probably stick with highlighting proper usage and the positive benefits. Note the article has no negativity and a whole bunch of info… that is more likely to get converts.

  16. Alysun
    December 17, 2010

    Honestly, there are incredible pros and cons to helmets. The added wieght and bulk of that thing on your head can cause unnecessary harm to you neck–depending on how you fall. But on a hardpack day, or when your steppin up your game for certain tricks, it could be a lifesaver. As far as my experience goes, I ditch the helmet completely when all I am doing is jibbing, but mostly with spinning or going all out with anything inverted I grab it back–I would be dead right now without it. The sport in general is a risk–take it or leave it. Nice site you got here I was lookin for some binding advice and totally got it. Keep it up!