Best GoPro mount position for skiing
May 25, 2022
After a long journey figuring how to prevent my GoPro HERO5 from dying in cold weather (so basically, during all of the ski season 🙄), it was time for me to find the best mount point for recording POV skiing videos!
This is what seems to be the most common place to mount a GoPro for winter sports. Still, there’s many ways to mount a GoPro on top of a helmet, and it will vary on the kind of helmet you have, and how much you’re willing to trade convenience for better video quality.
The shape of your helmet might not allow you to stick a GoPro mount anywhere, because of vents (and the switch to open or close them), and shape variations like insets and other non-smooth cuts. So you might not have that much choice for a solid mount.
If you do though, here’s the tradeoffs:
If you mount it at the frontmost part, you’re going to get a more immersive point of view, but the GoPro will be in the way of your goggles, so you can’t put them up on your helmet while the GoPro is mounted there. Not super convenient.
Also I found that this was putting quite a bunch of weight towards the front of my helmet and it was constantly pushing it down. The pressure around my nose was a bit uncomfortable and most importantly, it kept slipping down as I was skiing, especially during big shocks. You might get better results depending on your helmet/goggles combination, but it wasn’t very successful for me.
If you put it fully on top, it will be more balanced while skiing (although I still have the same slipping issue as before, to a lesser extent), but the point of view will be a bit high. You don’t see the skis as much, and if you point it down too much, you will start seeing a bit of the helmet at the bottom of the frame.
Somewhere in between, you should still have the option to put your goggles up on your helmet without bothering the GoPro. The point of view is not bad, although you might risk seeing a bit of the helmet at the bottom of the frame. It will still put most of the weight on the front of the helmet so that might be an issue for comfort depending on your gear.
With the GoPro on top of the helmet, it’s also more prone to taking the wind, which can get tiring for your neck after a while.
One of the best advantages of a helmet-mounted GoPro is that it moves with your face! Meaning that when you look one way or another, the camera will follow you, making it easy to show action happening left and right.
The problem is that it will always move with your head, including when you check your surroundings and behind you before changing directions. For me, this happens much more often than when I want to show on camera something that’s not in front of me. And those quick pans are not usually desirable.
I loved that point of view on my motorcycle helmet. You can get the GoPro exactly at your eye level which gives one of the best POV styles in my opinion, although the side of the helmet might be in the frame, and you’ll see the “clear” side wider than the helmet side.
From my motorcycle experience with a side mount, it was definitely not as tiring for the neck than a top mount is. Seems that my neck is stronger for compensating horizontal rotation than vertical inclination. 😆
But the biggest problem in the case of a ski helmet is that a side mount will be in the way of the strap of your goggles!
Depending on the shape of your helmet you might find a way to make this work, but I couldn’t manage it on my own helmet. Too bad.
It’s something that was quite new to me, I’ve seen very little chest mount ski videos online in the past, and I really liked the look. So I got one for myself.
It’s a bit lower so you can see the skis really well, while still having the whole landscape in the frame. You also see a bit the hands with the poles on the sides and that’s quite a cool view. You can even see the knees at rare occasions e.g. on really bumpy parts.
Overall, I find it even more immersive than a helmet mount!
But because it’s chest mounted, you can’t as easily turn to the sides to show some action happening around, you’ll always see pretty much just what’s in front where your body is facing. You can try turning your chest a bit to the sides but the effect is very limited compared to turning your head.
It’s not something that I need a lot, so no big deal for me. Actually it can even be seen as a feature: you can freely look around while skiing without worrying about the camera moving in all directions and making you nauseous when you watch it!
The chest mount gives more stable results than a helmet mount especially on really shaky and bumpy slopes, and in the end I find the chest mount footage smoother and more enjoyable to watch.
But the biggest thing for me was that the chest mount is really comfortable. Having the extra weight of the GoPro on my chest makes little to no difference. I can ski with a chest mount GoPro all day without even noticing it’s there!
It’s also easier to take off and on from its mount because it’s right in front of you and you can see it. When it’s on your head, finding the hole for the screw can be quite tricky, although after a few runs you kinda get a sense for it. 😏
To summarize, I’ll compare those 3 options with a number of criteria:
|Helmet top||Helmet side||Chest|
The helmet top POV is the most conventional, but only when the mount it put at the frontmost part of the helmet. If it’s put higher, it quickly feels too high and loses some of its immersiveness, and you risk seeing a bit of the helmet at the bottom of the frame.
The side mount is a more typical kind of POV that might not be to the taste of everyone, but I personally really like it. Same goes for the chest mount.
The comfort of a top mount might be better with your particular helmet/goggles combination but for me it was a no-no. Also if you want to put the mount at the frontmost part, which is where it looks the best, you lose the ability to put your goggles up on your helmet, and I find that quite annoying.
Still better than the side mount where it’s basically incompatible with having a goggles strap, but might work for you if your helmet has a built-in visor.
The chest mount won’t follow your face when you look around, so you might not be able to capture a sudden event around you where you’re not directly facing. But we’ve seen this also gives a much more stable image and lets you freely move your head around (e.g. for safety) without making your viewer nauseous.
When I’m not recording, I was wondering how annoying it would be to wear the chest strap, and if I needed to take it off and on all the time. It turns out the chest strap is really not a big deal, I can wear it all day long without even noticing it’s there.
In all cases, SuperView. While in my my GoPro settings post I said I prefer wide to SuperView, skiing is the exception.
When shooting POV skiing in anything else than SuperView, you’re mostly just gonna see the snow and little to nothing of the landscape in front of and around you.
SuperView all the way, trust me.
At the end of the day, the chest mount won for me: it’s by far the most comfortable and practical solution, so that the fact I’m recording a video doesn’t impact my skiing experience whatsoever.
This is a huge deal for me. If recording a video takes effort and negatively affects my skiing, I’m less likely to do it, and at the end of the day that might make me miss some runs that would have been really cool to have on video. With a chest mount, especially now my GoPro can handle the cold, I can record liberally while still having a great time. After all, I’m here mostly to ski, not just to record a video.
On top of that, I like the chest mount POV quite a lot, despite being a bit unconventional. I find it very immersive, and we get a great view of the skis, the slope and the landscape around, all at the same time.
As a bonus, it seems my chest is better at absorbing shocks and stabilizing footage than my head is. And the footage is smoother overall because my chest is not moving as much as my head while skiing.