POC, a long time brand known for ski racing has been slowly inching into the recreational market to expand its reach to skiers and snowboarders of all types. One of the things that you will notice when take a look at the ski race scene from little tykes to the pro racers is that POC is a dominant player in the ski race helmet market. When a skier is flying down the mountain at speeds of 50MPH+ and making hairpin turns, the smallest of mistakes can lead to devastating results. In this sport, a helmet is a must and you’re not going to get just any helmet. You’re going to find the best damn helmet on the market and pay whatever you need to pay to protect your most important asset, your head.
I’ve had the chance to test out the POC Auria Cut helmet accompanied by the POC Fovea Goggles over the past couple months. This combo is intended more for Freeride users, but given that I spend the majority of my time in the trees when I’m at the resort, you may have to take a little bit of my review with a grain of salt. From my testing of freeride gear, regular alpine ski gear, and backcountry focused gear, I find that freeride gear usually has a little boxier and baggier fit than traditional alpine and backcountry ski gear. My preference leans towards the alpine and backcountry fit, so as you read along, please keep this in mind.
POC Auric Helmet
The POC Auric helmet uses an multi impact EPP foam versus a single impact EPS foam. This means that you can have more than one smaller impact with the helmet and you will still be able to use it. For those that ski in the park or practice every day for racing, falls are inevitable. If you had to buy a new helmet every time you fell, it would start to get pretty expensive. If you take a big fall in the POC Auric Cut helmet, I would still recommend replacing the helmet.
I’ve taken a few smaller hits to the helmet and one medium sized hit through my testing. This is where the challenge comes in because I took one hard hit where I double ejected out of my skis and supermanned into a hardened snowbank. Through this crash, I ended up getting a minor concussion. I saw stars for a second and the hit went down through my neck and back. I’ve inspected the helmet a number of times and from what I can see, there was no compression of the foam and no visible scratches on the shell. The recommendation from POC is that if you experience a concussion, you should get a new helmet because after getting one concussion, you are usually more susceptible to getting another concussion during a crash involving your head.
I am honestly split 50/50 on this because the helmet looks good and why would you want to spend another $150-$200 when the helmet is most likely safe. On the flip side, if $150-$200 can save you from a lifelong injury and hundreds or millions of dollars in medical bills, it’s worth it. In my opinion, it would be nice to have some sort of indicator in ski and bike helmets that says it is safe or unsafe to continue using the helmet.
ABS High Impact Plastic Shell
The shell of the helmet is made with a ABS high impact plastic which allows the helmet to withstand some of those small to medium sized hits without having a big effect on the foam liner. This shell material also absorbs and spreads the impact throughout the shell, lessening the effect of a direct impact to one area of the head. To date, this helmet has rolled around on my garage floor, in the back of my car, and has gone through hundreds of small tree branches without any visible scratches. And yes, it went through a medium sized hit and there is no visible damage.
To keep your head from overheating, there is an adjustable ventilation system. The adjustment feature could be loosened up a bit as it is hard to move, especially when the helmet is on your head. There are two goggle vents at the front of the helmet that can be opened separately. I would personally like to see these two vents open at the same time compared to have to open each one separately. I’ve personally never thought to myself, I want to give more ventilation on the left side compared to the right side. When I am hot, I just want to open up the vents, plain and simple. When it’s cold, I want them both closed.
The fit of the POC Auric Cut helmet is semi-snug. Compared to other popular helmet brands such as Smith, I find there is less padding on the inside in the Auric Cut when comparing the brands. If you’re ever worn a Bern helmet, I find the fit to be a little more similar as they both have a little less padding. To keep the helmet from rattling on your head, POC uses a BOA-like closure system that is adjusted at the back of the helmet. This system does a good job of getting a tight fit around the head.
The liner of the Auric Cut has cut outs that allow for more breathability, but by not having a full liner, you don’t get as snug of a fit. To get a From a fit standpoint with regards to the internal padding, I would give the helmet a 8 out of 10.
I’ve tested almost all major goggle brands the with the POC Auric Cut Helmet and I’ve found the helmet to work well with all goggles. Most newer goggles are somewhat flat on the top of the goggle and as long as the helmet doesn’t have a huge curve over the forehead, you won’t have much of a gaper gap.
The POC Auric Cut Helmet is a great option for freeride and park skiers and snowboarders. With an EPP foam liner, the helmet can withstand a number of smaller hits while still providing satisfactory protection. As with any ski and snowboard helmet, remember that you’re not invisible and just because you’re wearing a helmet, you can still get seriously injured. With that said, a good ski and snowboard helmet can save you from serious injuries in certain crashes (NOT ALL). Visit POCSports.com for more information on the Auric Cut Helmet