Protection choices: Marco Odermatt
Choosing the right ski helmet and goggles for how and where you ski, and in which conditions, is vital for getting the most from any day on the piste.
Whether racing competitively or simply skiing for pleasure, there are certain principles that are always good to follow when choosing your protection.
Here, we ask the professionals about what influences their choice, so they always have complete trust in their protection.
|Photo: Samo Vidic / Red Bull Content Pool
|Photo: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool
Photo: Stefan Adelsberger / Red Bull Content Pool
What fit do you look for when choosing your helmet?
When I put on a helmet, it’s important to me that the helmet doesn’t wiggle, yet isn’t too tight. I should be able to move my head in all directions without wiggling around. If, after a few minutes, I don’t feel any pressure points, I’m good to go.
What features can’t you do without in a helmet? What is nice to have (but not necessary)?
Given that we usually train in groups and on closed slopes I don’t necessarily need avalanche-related features. For me, fit customisation, like with the Race Lock feature, and ventilation are very important: it quickly gets too hot without good ventilation. Most important, of course, is the impact absorption capabilities of the helmet: I want my head to be protected as best it can be.
How do you care for your helmet between uses?
I always make sure I dry my helmet properly. From time to time I take out the liners to give them a wash. I also try to avoid storing it too close to heat sources.
What fit do you look for when choosing your goggles?
The shape and fit around the nose are important to me. I want my ski goggles to sit comfortably, and my visibility should be clear. This is where the combination with the helmet is so important. I make sure that the goggles fit properly so that I can barely see the frame. Once I have them on, they need to be tight but the elastic band should make it fairly easy for me to pull them away from my head to put them on my helmet.
Do you prefer a cylindrical or a toric lens shape? Why?
Personally, I prefer the toric lens shape. I’ve always had it since I was a young skier, so I just kept it. It’s more of a habit than anything else.
How often do you swap the lens in your frame? Why?
It really depends on the weather conditions. Based on these I need to choose the right VLT. But if the weather stays the same for days and the lens is intact, there’s no need for me to change. I also don’t have a special race vs. training lens. What I make sure is that I always have a spare one because you just don’t know what can happen.
What factors besides the weather do you think about when choosing your lens for the day?
The conditions outside are really my primary concern. Many World Cup races are on dark slopes, so I often choose a light lens even if there are some sections in the sun.
What is special about Clarity lens technology? How does it help your vision on snow?
The Clarity lens technology sharpens my contrast. It makes it easy to see surface details which is particularly important when the sun isn’t shining. It also improves my eye comfort level, which really helps on long training days.
How do you care for your goggles between uses and between seasons?
Just like my helmet, I make sure I dry them away from any heat sources. As for the lens itself, I only use soft cleaning cloths and I’m careful not to touch it on the inside. I usually clean my lens before every use.
How do you feel the benefit of the Seamless Fit of the helmet and goggles worn together?
This is where the true magic happens. A great-fitting helmet with goggles that are too small or don’t fit comfortably on my nose when I put on the helmet is a “no-go”: the two pieces need to work as one. Aerodynamics plays an important role, but fit factors in the equation. If I have both on but forget that I’m wearing them, that is what I ultimately strive for. And that’s what POC’s Seamless Fit gives me.