CSA Group Announces New Edition of Standard for Alpine Ski and Snowboard Helmets

Standard requires most stringent testing in North America for alpine helmet safety

CSA Group, a leading standards development, testing and certification organization, released a new version of the standard Z263.1- Recreational Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding Helmets. The new standard provides rigorous testing requirements to help protect from head injuries, even after multiple impacts.

The Canadian Ski Council reports that an estimated 4.4 million Canadians hit the slopes every winter and Canadian ski slopes see 19 million visits per season. Participation in winter sports is important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, but people should be aware of the potential for injuries and learn the safest way to have fun on the slopes this winter. Using a helmet while skiing, snowboarding and taking part in other non-motorized activities can help protect against head injuries.

“CSA Group is dedicated to a better, safer world and working to help prevent sport injuries is just one area where standards make a difference.  The standard was developed by a Technical Committee that is comprised of leading medical and safety experts, industry and sport experts to help improve head protection for winter sports ,” said Gianluca Arcari, Executive Director, Standards and Vice President, CSA Group. “Canadians love winter activities. It’s important to get out and be active in the winter, and we want people to be safer while enjoying winter sports.”

In Canada, winter sports injuries account for $400 million in direct and indirect health care costs every year and for ski-related injuries, helmets can provide significant protection against injury 1.  Head protection is important for both recreational skiers and snowboarders and for workers in the ski industry. Presently in Canada skiers and snowboarders do not have to wear a helmet to participate in alpine sports, although some provinces and individual operators may require helmets. Many alpine ski and snowboard helmets currently on the Canadian market are “self-declared” by manufacturers to be compliant with U.S. and European standards but, in some cases, have not been verified by an independent, third party certification lab.

The CSA Group Recreational Alpine Ski and Snowboard Helmet standard requires third party testing and certification and includes temperature testing to help ensure the lining functions properly during extreme temperature variations, performance testing for shock absorption, and multiple-impact testing in random locations. It defines the areas of the head that are to be protected from impact injuries and covers basic performance requirements such as helmet stability and retention system strength, as well as marking and labelling requirements. The standard also applies to helmets worn for other non-motorized recreational winter sports.

“The technical committee developed the first edition of the standard six years ago because we felt there was a gap in the existing guidelines. The new edition of the standard is updated based on new technologies and new data to help prevent injuries, and we still believe that our standard leads in this area,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chair of CSA Group Technical Committee on Recreational Sport. “A helmet that meets CSA Group requirements must be third party tested and is designed to help ensure the longevity of the product. It offers protection from the possibility of multiple head impacts during a fall and will help provide a safer product for skiers and snowboarders.”

CSA Group is a not-for-profit, non-government organization and compliance with all CSA standards is voluntary unless legislated by government or mandated by industry or trade associations.

Helmets alone cannot prevent all injuries. Skiers, boarders and sledders should always be aware of their surroundings and practice sports in a manner compliant with their level of experience. For more information on CSA Z263.1 or CSA Group’s health and safety standards please click here.

[1]Fenerty, Lynne et al.”Helmets for skiing and snowboarding:Who is using them and why.” Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, March 2013 ; 74(3); 895-900.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


Pino Chen
Manager, Media Relations, Asia
[email protected]


November 20, 2014