I recently purchased a new helmet from a friend (meaning it was a gently used helmet, but new for me). A new ski helmet needed to happen. I have a mantra that goes something like, “If I am moving faster than I can run, I wear a helmet.” For one I have a lot invested in the gray matter held inside my cranium and I prefer to have access to as much of it as I can for the remainder of my life. Thus I have a brain bucket on when long boarding, cycling, mountain biking, climbing (which during a fall you can be moving pretty fast, right?), whitewater paddling, and any other number of gravity sports. I don’t wear a helmet when I drive a car, since I figure the entire car qualifies. However, I have been known to wear a helmet during certain high-stakes college Physics tests…
All that to say I haven’t been living up to that slogan recently. While backcountry skiing I got into the habit of leaving my ski helmet at home since it is heavy and cumbersome. My excuse was that I didn’t need the extra weight slowing me down and I didn’t charge as hard out-of-bounds as I do as the resort, lessening the likelihood of an accident in the first place. The problem: the chance is always there for something to go wrong and I‘m starting to ski bigger and steeper in the backcountry. A huge portion of avalanche victims die from trauma, and while I’m not saying that a helmet would decrease those statistics, it can’t make them worse.
My solution? Get a helmet that it lightweight and ventilated, able to be used while mountaineering and skiing. Enter the Camp Pulse. It lives among an elite group of helmets that meet the safety standards for climbing as well as skiing, making it the perfect backcountry ski helmet. So far, it is light and I feel like the ventilation is adequate. I have the winter kit (vent hole plugs and ear flaps) that you can purchase separately and skied with it at the resort several times. I keeps you warm, but I found that it funnels wind into your ears adding noise and discomfort. Recently I’ve removed them and have been using some ear warmers instead. To save time while transitioning from skinning to skiing, I even wear the helmet on the climb up with my goggles resting on the helmet.
I am really excited to get out and use it in a rock climbing environment. The standards for rock climbing and mountaineering alone are solely for impacts from directly above you, ie. rock fall. I have always kind of been unnerved by the possibility of a leader fall where you hit the side or back of you head where there is no protection. My hope is that this new brain bucket will add a significant amount of protection. My only concern is the breath-ability: will my head sweat too much with summer temperatures? It’s not like my head doesn’t sweat too much with my old Petzl Ecrin Roc helmet (or without any helmet at all for that matter). So it might just be that I will have to bust out the sweat band underneath it.