Helmets and Armor

USSA Alpine Competition Guide


Helmets designed and manufactured for the particular discipline of ski racing being contested are required for all competitors and forerunners in all USSA events and official training. Helmets must bear a CE mark and conform to recognized and appropriate standards such as CEH.Din 1077, ASTM F2040, SNELL S98 or RS 98.

Helmets must cover the head and ears. Helmets with spoilers or edges that stick out are not permitted. Protective features integral to the discipline being contested, such as chin guards on slalom helmets are permitted.

USSA (and WTSEF) does not specify nor recommend nor make any warranties as to the fitness for use of any particular ski helmet design or brand name. USSA (and WTSEF ) undertakes no responsibility, liability or duties to any competitor in connection with the requirement that helmets be utilized.

It is the sole responsibility of the competitor to select an appropriate helmet for accident protection in ski racing.

Caution: Age and use affect the protective qualities of all  helmets. Some older helmets and any helmets that have been damaged either in a racing fall or from other impact may no longer provide sufficient protection – even if there are no visible indications of damage.

So what does that mean for WTSEF athletes?

Required: A helmet with full ear coverage is required for all on snow sessions with WTSEF, whether training or racing for all athletes.

Jaw guards: WTSEF requires that a jaw guard be attached to the front of the helmet for all Slalom racing and training for all Sr Team athletes and recommends them for junior team athletes.

If you have a junior team athlete that's not coming close to the gates it's not absolutely necessary.

Not having a $20 guard on can result in thousands of dollars in dental work. Would you let someone swing a thick piece of plastic at your kid's face? Get one and wear it when and where appropriate.

Giant slalom & free skiing: the slalom jaw guard/deflection bar may not be attached when free skiing or skiing giant slalom courses, racing or training as it may increase the chance of injury in a crash.


Armor isn't required gear by USSA or WTSEF. Plastic armor protects hands and shins from painful bruises and injury during slalom training and racing. Wearing protective armor allows the athlete to focus on the slalom course without being afraid of hitting the gates. WTSEF recommends using armor for slalom training.

Hand/Pole guards for clearing slalom gates: The best designs wrap around the pole protecting the full hand. Half guards only protect part of the hand and can catch in the snow, pulling the skier off balance. WTSEF therefore recommends full guards to avoid this problem. In slalom the skier very often uses his ski pole to deflect the gate out of his path.

Shin guards for clearing slalom gates. As the skier descends the race line his knees & shins often cross the path of the slalom gate. Shin guards worn outside of warmup pants for training or on top of a speed suit not only remove much of the pain of banging into the gates, they help protect the clothing from friction burns and allow the gate to move out of the way more easily.

Hand protectors must be removed when we are training Giant Slalom

Where to find this stuff

The above items can be found at Reliable Racing and The RacePlace. Jawguards are nearly always proprietary to the manufacturer, so check to make sure it will work with your son or daughter's helmet.