How To Look Like A Skiing Top Gun

Like many seniors dependent on glasses and contact lens-phobic, I’ve always searched for a way to keep my specs from fogging up while skiing.  I overheat easily and goggles steam up so none of the usual tricks (rubbing dry soap on the lenses, etc.) help for long. I tried different goggles with a tiny built-in fan, but those have other drawbacks. A very good solution is

The Osbe's visor allows a flow of air to evaporate fog. Credit:  Michael Conley
The Osbe’s visor allows a flow of air to evaporate fog.
Credit: Michael Conley

the Osbe Proton Senior, a helmet featuring an integral pivoting visor that covers your face— but not your nose—from the cheeks up. I’ve used mine for a few years now in a variety of conditions, and I’m quite happy with it. There are several advantages to this visored helmet over the traditional helmet/goggle combo.

Most important for me, no fogging of my glasses at all!  The visor doesn’t actually contact your face to form a seal like a typical goggle. There is an “air dam” of foam rubber on the inside lower edge to minimize the gap, but a small amount of air can circulate through the inside of the visor. This is necessary to continually clear away any buildup of humidity, and it works very well. Occasionally on the lift a bit of fogging can occur depending on the wind but never while skiing.  Another important benefit is a greatly increased field of vision. The Osbe visor, unlike goggles, does not make a frame around your face with thick foam that restricts peripheral vision; this helps avoid what I consider the biggest danger on the slopes:  other skiers.

Since the visor does not touch your face there is no pressure to restrict breathing through the nose. Goggles tended to press my glasses into my face, and occasionally I almost pulled my glasses off when removing them. It’s a simple

Admit it.  Navy pilot helmets are cool.  Check that visor. Credit: Andrea Salimbeti
Admit it. Navy pilot helmets are cool. Check that visor.
Credit: Andrea Salimbeti

matter to pivot the well-made, distortion-free visor up or down as needed.  Since the visor is very light, it doesn’t affect the balance of the helmet.

Visors are available in clear, mirrored, smoke and orange and can be easily changed in a few minutes. One minor problem is a small loose part that can fall off in the visor-changing process, so be careful. I just leave the orange visor on at all times and use clip-on shades when needed.

Osbe is an Italian maker of motorcycle helmets with years of experience in helmet design. Maybe being European-designed the sizing seems to run small. I’ve always worn a large in helmets, but the sizing chart on the Osbe website indicated I should wear a medium (my head is about 23-1/2″ around). I ordered a large anyway, and it was definitely too tight, so I ended up with an XL which fits fine.

The Osbe tends to start conversations on the chair—some say it looks odd. I’m 58, and I couldn’t care less at this point in my life if it does. Seeing clearly at all times is key. If I make someone smile, hey, what’s bad about that?

For more information: check Osbe Ski Helmets

What’s your experience been with Osbe?

SeniorsSkiing Contributor Michael Conley re-discovered skiing in his late 40’s when his daughter took up snowboarding. A Brooklyn, NY-based artist and furniture maker, he skis as often as possible (not nearly enough…) in upstate New York and New England, with excursions to Montana where that now grown-up daughter is in college. In warmer weather he kayaks and hikes and bikes with his cold-phobic wife.

Editor’s Curiosity Corner:  According to the NSAA, 77% of skiers 55-64 and 81% of skiers 65 and over wear helmets.  If you do, what’s your rationale?  If you don’t, what’s up?  Let us know.

 

4 Comments

  1. I am a 70 year old aggressive skier looking for similar folks in Vail, colorado.

    Never worn a helmet although my grandkids are bugging me since they love tree sking in the back bowls

  2. I’m a little confused on the sizing, you stated:

    “Maybe being European-designed the sizing seems to run small. I’ve always worn a large in helmets, but the sizing chart on the Osbe website indicated I should wear a medium (my head is about 23-1/2″ around). I ordered a large anyway, and it was definitely too tight, so I ended up with an XL which fits fine.”

    So you usually wear a large but they said to wear a medium but you really needed an XL?

    • Michael Conley says:

      Hi Ed – you’ve got it! The main point is their nominal sizes are misleading. It’s best if you can try the helmet on to see what fits you best – mail order may not be a good idea.

  3. Rocco Ciancio says:

    I am thinking about getting this helmet. I wear prescription goggles and at the stage where I need a new pair. Did you buy the helmet online from OSBE or with a bricks and mortar ski store?
    Cheers,

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