At present, there are no government-mandated legal standards for snow sport helmets in Canada. Consequently, CSA Z263.1 is a voluntary ski and snowboard helmet standard created by the CSA Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to “safety, social good and sustainability.” CSA first issued the standard in 2008 and updated it in 2014.
Similar to the European standard.
If you were to rank ski and snowboard helmet standards from most rigorous to least, you’d find the Snell RS-98 standard on one end of the spectrum and CSA Z263.1 on the other end—that is, the less demanding end. That is, at least, if you are simply looking at the power with which helmets are slammed onto test anvils.
Both Snell RS-98 and ASTM F2040 require that helmets be struck with greater impact energy on a wider range of test anvils; that makes those two standards more challenging to pass.
When it comes to impact testing, CSA Z263.1 is identical to Europe’s EN-1077 standard. They also share the same 250-G threshold.
This Canadian standard differs from its European counterpart, however, in that it allows for a less punishing shell penetration test. Instead of dropping a weighted striker onto the helmet shell, CSA Z263.1 requires that a dowel measuring 150mmx15mm not be able to touch the head form when inserted into any of the helmet’s vent.
One last thing that also sets this standard apart from many helmet standards is that it mandates third party testing and verification by approved laboratories. Helmet manufacturers and distributors are not allowed to self-certify that they have met CSA Z263.1’s testing standards.
*This chart compares impact energies across standards, per each standard’s required drop heights. For illustration purposes, it assumes a headform weight of 5 kilograms, though some standards actually test a variety of different headform sizes/weights).