Though there are no laws in the United States requiring skiers or snowboarders to wear helmets, helmet use has nevertheless become increasingly popular. Many of the helmets that you do see on North American slopes have an ASTM F2040 certification label pasted inside them.
The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a not-for-profit organization that helps develop standards. When the organization created this standard in May of 2000, they sought to strike a balance between Snell RS-98’s very rigorous impact requirements and EN-1077’s less demanding impact-testing protocols.
All 3 impact anvils. No penetration or chin bar tests.
ASTM’s snow sport standard subjects test helmets to impact testing on three anvils—flat, hemi and edge. Hemi and edge anvils impart a more concentrated shock on the helmet shell and are, therefore, more challenging to pass. Impact energy on the flat anvil is just shy of what’s required by Snell’s RS-98 (98.1 joules versus 100), but given F2040 mandated drop height, significantly higher (by about 25 joules) than what would be required by both EN-1077 and CSA Z263.1 using 5-kilogram headforms.
When it comes to impact testing on the hemi and edge anvils, ASTM’s impact energy requirements are lower than Snell’s RS-98’s (by 30 and 20 joules, respectively). Neither EN-1077 or CSA Z263.1, however, require hemi or edge anvil impact tests.
ASTM does not require a chin bar test. The only standard that does is Snell RS-98. Another requirement not found in ASTM F2040? A shell penetration test—something that is provided, at one level or another, by all the other standards. The ASTM committee on this snowsports standard specifically considered including a penetration test, but could not find a single incident of brain injury caused by penetration.
ASTM F2040 is a voluntary, self-certifying standard; manufacturers and/or distributors are responsible for guaranteeing that they meet its requirements.