Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bern Watts helmet update

So I've skated five busy public sessions while wearing my green beanie and can comment on its suitability for figure skating.  It does stay in place while skating if the chin strap is properly adjusted.  This includes during single foot spins.  I have not tested jumping while wearing the helmet but my expectation is that the helmet will be fine when I do start jumping again.

One thing that surprised me is that I don't get sweaty while wearing the helmet.  The sessions I've skated are two hours long so that's another check on the plus column.  Lightness is another positive feature of the Bern Watts.  Weight-wise I'm barely aware that I'm wearing it. 

The short visor which my helmet came with is perhaps the only point that I don't like.  The little brim does have the tendency to direct one's eyes down rather than ahead.  Where the eyes go, the head follows, so this is not a good thing while skating.  If I could hit the rewind button I'd order a Bern helmet, without the visor.  They offer them.

Last Sunday while skating I bumped into a father-daughter combo whom I know and the daughter was wearing the standard version of the Ice Halo.  This was the first time I got to see and touch one up close.  Basically, it's high density foam covered with a synthetic cloth and it comes as a flat strip with a velcro closure which one can adjust for head size when placing the halo around one's noggin. 

The daughter didn't like it at first (she's about ten years old) but now no longer notices it when skating.  I must admit, the Ice Halo looks a lot less geeky than my helmet.  I may order one although I'm a little reluctant to wear safety equipment solely based on appearances.  I'd really like to see some test data or learn if the Ice Halo actually complies with a pertinent safety standard--I can't afford another TBI at this point in my skating career.  


  1. The only helmet I have a fairly old bicycle helmet. You are way more stylish than I am (and probably much safer on those crowded public sessions!) You should put something attractive on the underside of the visor so you have something to look up at!

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Jo! Maybe something inspirational by Michelangelo.

    As for cycling helmets, there seem to be pros and cons. On the plus side, of all the helmets for sporting activities, only the ones marketed in this country as "bicycle" helmets must to built to specific Federal Government standards. All other sport activity helmets seem to be built to whatever standard the manufacturer thinks is adequate. Adoption of any sort of standard for non-bike helmets is voluntary.

    The minus side of the equation involves those bike helmets which terminate in a streamlined point. If you wear one of those pointed helmets and fall backwards and land on the pointed part of the helmet, the result could twist your neck and cause enough damage to the cervical region of the spine to introduce you as a new member of the quadriplegic club. Those pointy style bike helmets appear to be a good example of head protective gear, even though built to a high standard, that could be more dangerous than nothing at all. I'll keep researching...

  3. I can vouch for the Ice Halo. I had a headbanger of a fall a couple of weeks ago and the thing works! I've had it for a number of years and this is the first time it got put to the test. The website ice used to have some stats on how much it reduced the impact forces to the head during a fall, so it may be worth checking out. At any rate, I always wear mine when I'm on the ice and don't even notice it.

  4. JGC: Thanks for the input. I've read anecdotal reports on Ice Halo's web site but yours is the first I've read from an actual customer. If I may ask--how did you hit your head; i.e. was the fall backwards, forwards, to the side of your head? I assume your model of Ice Halo is the standard one rather than the "HD" version, if you've had it for a number of years, correct?

    1. Yes, I have the original one. I hit the back of my head, and the Halo is specifically designed with the thickest, most protective part at the back of the head. I'm skating on a damaged left knee and in a hinged knee brace so my alignment on that side is very off and I don't have the same stability, so I fell on a LFO Double Three. I was the only one on the ice so you can imagine how grateful I am for having the Ice Halo on. What I would like to know is how many impacts the material can take before it loses its effectiveness. If you do end up ordering one, make sure you specify "logo inside" unless you want a giant logo on the outside. At any rate, any protection is better than none at all. Hope this helps you, and thanks for an interesting blog.

  5. JGC: Skating with a hinged knee brace sounds very courageous. Thanks for the "logo inside" tip.