K2 Black Hawk One ski helmet

Author:
Publish date:
blackhawkone_red.jpg

From a virtual non-category a decade ago, ski helmets have emerged as a standard accessory for many resort skiers and snowboarders. Although the protection may not be as great as most believe (see the 2005 GearTrends® Winter Outdoor magazine -- free download at www.geartrends.com -- for a report on current helmet testing standards), there is no doubt that helmets are now comfortable, stylish and here to stay.

Many skiers discovered to their dismay that the ski goggles they used for years don't work with their new ski helmet. Yet even goggles made for helmets dangle annoyingly by their strap when carrying the helmet. The K2 Black Hawk One ($300 MSRP) is the first integrated helmet and goggle system.

The Black Hawk is possibly the most protective ski helmet on the market due to an ABS outershell and a foam inner shell that is co-molded with thermoplastic around the edges and ears. The sleek helmet, designed with the help of BMW, has a venting system that is surprisingly effective given the small openings. The front vents can be closed for cold days, but we found don't always stay open when it's warm. Removable earflaps snap into place and work well but could use some design tweaks. Flaps with speakers are promised for next season.

The K2 "The One" goggles are in the same league as top-of-the-line models from Smith and Oakley that retail over $100. These use spherical lenses that offer better optical clarity, a good venting system that all but eliminates fogging, and a face seal that works for many facial types. Included are a set of normal straps and the rubber straps for use on the Black Hawk.

No doubt about it, the helmet/goggle combo does work exceedingly well. The Black Hawk One is comfortable in a wide range of conditions and was particularly nice on very cold windy days. On days when goggles aren't always needed, they can be flipped to the back of the helmet; a trick you can't do with normal goggles.

Where the Black Hawk disappoints is the rather hefty weight (21 ounces) -- a 40 percent increase over the K2 Fuse. Someone who hasn't tried a lighter, albeit less protective, helmet won't notice it. But if you've worn a light helmet, it's hard to go heavy again. Our other gripe was with the color of the goggle lens provided -- a rather useless mirrored blue -- but other lenses are available.

The Black Hawk One is in the same price range of other high-end helmets and goggles, plus you get a nice helmet bag. It may not be for everyone, but it is a sweet system that will hopefully go on a diet.

SNEWS® Applause Meter: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $300

For more information:www.k2skis.com

Related

giro_fuseaudio2.jpg

Giro Fuse Ski Helmet

From a virtual non-category a decade ago, ski helmets have emerged as a standard accessory for many resort skiers and snowboarders. Although the protection may not be as great as most believe (see the 2005 GearTrends® Winter Outdoor magazine -- free download at ...read more

SIA Trends Report: Helmets

Lighter and more streamlined than their predecessors, "in-mold" helmets are quickly taking over the alpine, tele and snowboard markets. Constructed with lightweight foam such as polystyrene, in-mold designs still offer the requisite protection without making you look like Dark ...read more

Did you hear?... Ski helmet discussion on RSN

A rather entertaining and enlightening discussion revolving around ski helmet use is kicking up on the RSN (Resort Sports Network) website. One particularly enlightened fellow had this to say most recently: "Everyone is talking about personal rights, that's bullsh#@t. We are ...read more

Omen.jpg

Giro Omen Helmet with TuneUps Wireless

While the primary function of a helmet is to protect your skull, the benefits of wearing one go beyond its primary use. Nowadays, it also needs to be stylish, keep you warm (but not too warm) and interface with your electronics. The Giro Omen with TuneUps Wireless scored big in ...read more

Uvex_funride_thumb_072111.jpg

CPSC announces Uvex Funride ski helmet recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of Uvex Funride helmets on July 21, 2011. The CSPC reports that, “The helmet provides insufficient shock absorption and resistance to penetration, posing a head injury hazard.”On its website, Uvex states ...read more

CAMP_Helmet.jpg

How to Sell: Climbing Helmets

A SNEWS® Training Center article written by the editors of SNEWS®and brought to you by CAMP USAThe Basics Know your customers' needs and niche•Style matters•Fit sells•It's more than a fashion statementCustomers' Top Concerns:StyleFit/comfortPriceFunctionClose the deal with… a ...read more