In the sport of downhill racing, whether it’s giant slalom or super giant slalom, crashes are a necessary evil – some would say a right of passage. It’s a dangerous sport where split seconds count and if you’re not skiing on the edge; i.e., pushing the limits – you have no shot at keeping pace with elite downhill skiers.
Since these racers are vying for a World Championship or an Olympic medal, the stakes are extremely high and because of it, these elite athletes need equipment that protects them from horrific crashes. Introducing Giro’s Avance Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). Considered to be the world’s most advanced ski helmet on the market today, Giro engineers incorporated four impact protection technologies to safeguard alpine skiers.
Developed by Giro’s Advanced Concepts Group with a combined 85 years of experience creating head protection, Giro’s Avance MIPS protects skiers from high-energy impacts, rotational energy, multi-impact crashes, and gate impacts. In other words, they’ve built a helmet that can withstand all impact angles and considered all types of crashes while testing their prototype.
According to Giro Executive V.P. Greg Shapleigh: “Our Advanced Concepts Group leveraged all the tools at their disposal to create the most advanced alpine skiing racing helmet ever created.” With the goal of reducing as much energy as possible during a crash, these are the four key technologies engineered to protect racers from a wide variety of impacts:
Hammerhead Design – Highly Evolved Shape
Recent research shows that gate impacts can transfer up to 70 G’s to an athlete’s brain. This fact led to the creation of the Avance’s unique ‘Hammerhead’ exterior shape. The Hammerhead Design strategically adds material to the areas where gate impacts commonly occur. Additionally, Giro has used an unconventional combination of materials to address these impacts.
TeXtreme—A lighter, stiffer & stronger shell
The Avance MIPS’s outer shell is constructed from TeXtreme® carbon. TeXtreme’s wide and flat fibers fit closer together than conventional round carbon fibers and require less of the resin used to bind fibers together. In the case of the Avance MIPS, TeXtreme enabled Giro engineers to create an ultralight shell that’s tougher, stiffer and stronger. Most importantly, TeXtreme offers impressive high-energy impact management.
EP-Premium – A leading-edge liner
In alpine racing, a single crash is rarely a single crash. Your head may actually hit the slope several times before it’s all said and done. Giro’s Advanced Concept Group recognized this and responded by finding the highest-quality, low-density crushable resilient helmet liner available. Working with experts in expanded polypropylene (EPP), Giro formulated a foam liner made from a material that we call EP-Premium. This liner is specifically designed to reduce energy transferred during successive high-energy impacts as well as everyday lower-energy gate impacts.
MIPS Spherical – MIPS Slip Plane technology advanced
With MIPS Spherical, the two layers of EP-Premium foam become the essential components of the MIPS low-friction layer. The result is a reduction in rotational forces and the elimination of the plastic slip plane of the current MIPS design. Much like a ball and socket, MIPS Spherical redirects rotational energy from impacts at any angle. The system allows the exterior liner and helmet shell to rotate independently around your head during an angled impact. The simple and sophisticated design also allows the opportunity for a custom fit. Using 3D scans of athletes’ heads, Giro can customize and sculpt the interior of the Avance MIPS to fit the racer’s head precisely without pressure points.
Armed with 55 granted patents and four energy reducing helmet technologies, Giro’s Advanced Concepts Group developed a groundbreaking ski-racing helmet. It’s safe to say that their R & D efforts will be instrumental in safeguarding alpine skiers across the world for decades to come. There’s a pretty good chance that we’ll be seeing Giro’s innovation incorporated into the helmets of recreational skiers in the not so distant future.