Whatever your performance, there’s no point in choosing a helmet for skiing or snowboarding. If you’ve postponed replacing an old or new helmet in the sport, recent developments have made it easier and safer, so it’s time to take a bath. The high quality models on the list offer a better fit and ventilation, but for those who only climb mountains a few times a year, a cheaper version would be more suitable. Below you will find the best ski helmets for the 2020 season, from the most equipped and technically advanced to the simplest but most effective. More information can be found in our comparison table and in the purchase tips under selections. And to make your ski equipment complete, we have also written about the best ski goggles, ski gloves and mittens.
Best ski helmet
1. MIPS Smith Vantage ($260)
Construction: Moulded hybrid
Weight: 18 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (21 fans)
What we like: Vantage brings it all together: Comfort, performance, safety and appearance.
What we don’t do: Very expensive.
We have tested many ski helmets, and none is more impressive than the Smith Vantage. The quality and attention to detail are clear, with a soft but supportive lining, excellent coverage around the head and a dial that is easily adjustable and compatible with the Boa. Just put your helmet on and forget it’s there – Vantage is so comfortable and easy. You also benefit from excellent ventilation with a total of 21 vents (13 more than second place on the Oakley MOD 5 below) controlled by two separate sliders for easy installation. In general, you won’t find a helmet as comfortable and versatile for front and country use.
Vantage is also equipped with all the safety features of Smith’s arsenal. Their distinctive Aerocore honeycomb design is visible through the air vents and is designed to improve energy absorption in the event of a collision. And the popular MIPS coating, which is designed to protect the brain in the event of oblique shocks, is available as an option. These security features are difficult to quantify, but it should be noted that the complementary technologies are very well integrated in a low-profile design. The value of the whole package is up to you. Editor’s note : If you choose MIPS, we have noticed that it works a little less well than a normal helmet, so those at the top of the fitness scale may need to increase the size. Read the detailed overview
Note the following table. MIPS Smith Vantage See MIPS for women in Smith Vantage
A narrow second (for $60 less)
2. Oak MOD 5 ($200)
Construction: Hybrid in the form
Weight: 20 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (8 ventilation holes)
What we want: Creative design of the detachable visor for a good fit of the glasses.
What we don’t do: It’s not our favorite headphone design.
Oakley makes some of our favourite ski goggles, but the company has only recently entered the MOD helmet business. In the current collection we prefer their Top 5, which are equipped with rigid ABS plastic plates for extra protection and adjustable ventilation. In addition, the unique Modular Insert System (MBS) perfectly fills the terrible gap left by toothpicks by integrating two insert sizes (small and large). It’s not an ideal answer, he prefers Oakley over other eyewear, but the ability to change the edge makes it the most versatile solution on the market in 2020.
The rest of the MOD 5 is of typical Oakley quality. The helmet is lightweight on the head and is equipped with first class features such as a magnetic chin strap, a boa dial on the back and a removable lining. The ventilation design is based on the effect of a chimney that draws air in and out through the tip, preventing it from dissipating heat as quickly as a helmet, as was the case with Smith Vantage above. We also noticed that the lining is slightly less padded and that the cut-out ear shells make it more difficult to wear the earphones. But these claims are not for most people who are real estate agents, and the design as a whole is very solid. The MOD 5 is available with or without MIPS, and additional security technology brings the price to $240. Read detailed display
View Oakley MOD 5 Headset
Most economical ski helmet
3. Smith Holt ($70)
Weight: 20 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (10 ventilation holes)
What we like: Our favorite helmet is under $100.
What we don’t do: The lining and foam are cheaper than the most expensive helmets on this list.
Up and down in his snow helmet, Smith just made it. For $70 Holt is their real budget offer and our favorite helmet in its price range. It’s an exercise in clever design, and one of Holt’s greatest achievements is avoiding the bulky, unattractive fungus associated with cheap helmets. Although it is not as discreet or technical as the top or bottom of the cuvée in the range, it represents a remarkable improvement over the rest of the budget.
Very nice touch – Holt adjustment system. You don’t have a dial, but the elastic band on the back of the helmet stretches surprisingly well to fit your head. Heat and comfort are also competitive, although the thick, warm foam is cheaper to touch and the couplings sound louder than we would like. In general, we have noticed that it is often useful to change to a ski helmet of medium or higher quality, especially for those who come to the mountain after a few days. But as long as you are willing to compromise on comfort and are not prone to overheating (stationary ventilation only soft), Holt is a real winner.
Look at Smith Holt’s helmet.
Best Ski Touring Helmet
4. Solomon Islands Laboratory MTN (USD 200)
Construction: Hybrid form
Weight: 13,3 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (12 ventilation holes)
What we liked: Super light; suitable for both skiing and climbing.
What we don’t do: Fixed ventilation openings can allow moisture to pass through.
The Salomon MTN Lab, designed for both alpine skiing and climbing, distinguishes itself from the rest. The 13.3 oz. The spring helmet (our medium sized helmet with heavier winter lining) is the lightest on our list and allows you to wear it all day or attach it to a tutu. Ventilation is also a strong point with 12 large notches at the top and sides of the lid. And Solomon didn’t get through the MTN Lab: The helmet fits well with our Smith I/O Mag glasses, the setting wheel on the back is easy to use and the two merino wool linings (one light and one winter) are soft and cuddly.
Where there’s no MTN lab, it’s like an everyday helmet. Unlike the above mentioned ready-made teddy bear options, Salomon’s minimalist filling is less comfortable and doesn’t protect against the cold. Also the ventilation holes are not regulated and we have found that in case of heavy snowfall moisture can penetrate through the holes (by wearing the hood of our shell on the helmet we have softened the problem). These compromises make it less than the best choice for days with hitchhiking, but it’s as good as going to the mountains.
Take a look at the Solomon MTN helmet laboratory.
The best of the other
5. MIPS ($200) Forging grade
Construction: Hybrid in the form
Weight: 19 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (20 ventilation holes)
What we like: High quality and very comfortable design.
What we don’t do: Not as versatile as Vantage above.
Smith has replaced the popular Variance, one of our station’s most popular covers, with Level MIPS 2020. We can immediately say that the latest model is a very modern helmet: The elegant appearance, generous ventilation and hybrid hull design are very similar to the more expensive Vantage above. It also follows the Aerocore helmet design and includes a MIPS lining (another level of MIPS is also available for $170) for reliable crash protection. Add a soft and warm interior, and Level (and Women’s Freedom) has all the ingredients to start where the option remains.
When you save $60 compared to a premium Vantage, you make a few considerations. First of all, the level is slightly heavier (about 1 ounce) and has only one control for the upper air outlets (the Vantage has two). They also turned the world-class Vantage Boa Fit system into their own VaporFit design. However, the level of adjustment is very similar and we have had no complaints about other helmets equipped with VaporFit. All in all, the Vantage Igniter and Illuminator is the best all-rounder, but we see no reason to complain about the level to be used with the lift.
Look, look, look, look, look, look. MIPS at the forge See. MIPS at the level of the independent women’s forge
6. POC Obex SPIN ($200)
Construction: Inner scale w/ABS
Weight: 16,5 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (11 ventilation holes)
What we want: Robust construction and well-integrated safety devices.
What we don’t do: Not as practical as the Smith options mentioned above.
The Swedish POC has proven to be the best in terms of durability and safety, and the Obex is their coolest helmet yet. An important novelty is the integration of their SPIN technology – the POC version of the MIPS coating, which aims to reduce angular forces in a lightweight and affordable package. The beauty of SPIN lies in its simplicity: The design uses shock-absorbent seals that perfectly match the liner. To complete the features, Obex has an adjustable adjustment system that ensures a constant grip on the head, a solid ABS housing and the sleek style that characterizes the brand.
What’s wrong with the Obelix? Despite all their efforts, the helmet is still bigger and less rational than Smith Vantage and Level above. As a result, we found that he feels slightly heavier than his weight of 16.5 ounces (ours is the M/L measure) would suggest. Also, the inner lining is not as fluffy as that of the Smith-designers, and we prefer more padding, especially along the chin. Finally, only the first three ventilation holes are adjustable, allowing the helmet to be operated in very cold weather on very cold days. It’s fair to say that these differences are still quite small, and by combining Aubex with a premium and a reasonable price of $200, we will put it on our list for 2020.
Look, look, look, look, look, look. POC Obex SPIN
7. MIPS Giro-Ledge ($90)
Weight: 18 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (8 ventilation holes)
What we like: A helmet equipped with MIPS for less than $100.
What we don’t do: Not as comfortable as Smith Holt.
Giro was one of the first users of MIPS technology, and his 2020 series of snow helmets is full of MIPS models. Ledge stands out from the crowd, which for $90 is the most affordable helmet on the list, equipped with a corner protector. Plus, you don’t have a lot of frills, but there’s enough to make most riders happy: a goggle-like lock on the back, removable ear pads and a fine but very comfortable adjustment system. Everyone, from casual drivers to seasonal budget rippers, should think seriously about Ledge’s MIPS.
Different models of Giro and Smith face each other, while Ledge is a direct competitor of Holt above. Both lids have a streamlined skate-style design, rigid and durable basins that can withstand many impacts and are available in a wide range of colours. The advantage of this registry is that the use of MIPS is only possible for $20 (Smith does not offer MIPS-liners on Holt). But we prefer Holt’s overall fit and comfort, and it fits a little better with a wide range of eyewear. But if MIPS is on your list of mandatory headsets and the transfer helmets are good for you (as you know, they work best with oval heads), then Ledge MIPS is a proven budget option.
Look at Giro Ledger’s helmet.
8. Bern Watt EPS thin shell ($100)
Weight: 20 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (11 air vents)
What we like: Very comfortable, it looks good.
What we don’t do: The ventilation openings are irregular, the corner support obstructs large windows.
Ski helmets are a category in which we often want to spend a little more money. A good lid just works and you don’t think about it, while a bad lid can ruin your skiing day. But $100 Bern Watt is on our list because it’s convenient. Slide it over your head and turn the boa control, and you’ll have fun all day long. The second important advantage is the 2-in-1 compatibility: In low season you can take a Sommerliner for bike rides and use it for this activity (it is certified for both activities). We often see this helmet in the Seattle area, and the dual-use aspect is certainly the reason.
At this price there will be compromises, big compromises for Watts EPS – ventilation and bleaching. Firstly, the design of ABS means that it does not have as many vents as most other options, and that the available vents are not regulated. It is also quite difficult to find glasses that fit under the visor and do not expose the skin. Medium sized spectacles, such as Smith’s I/O, can work, but using glasses that are too small or too large can cause discomfort or freeze the brain on cold days. But if you can find the right glasses, Bern Watts is a solid figure.
Look, look, look, look, look, look. Bern Watt EPS See below. Bern Lenox EPS.
9. Smith Quantum MIPS ($300)
Construction: Hybrid form
Weight: 23 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (22 ventilation holes)
What we like: A first-class level of protection and comfort.
What we don’t do: Very expensive and quite difficult to use in the garden.
Smith makes helmets for almost every type and style of skier and snowboarder, and his Quantum range is specially designed for the ambitious. This helmet contains the full arsenal of safety features of the brand: The Aerocore energy-absorbing design used in the Vantage and Level overlays has been extended to a full shell, you get extra protection along the back of the head with an ABS plastic strip, and the MIPS coating is included in all versions. And as you would expect from Smith, the Quantum is extremely comfortable with just the right amount of padding and the highly adjustable Boa-Fit system, as well as an adjustable ventilation system that makes you feel comfortable in almost any temperature.
What pushes Quantum towards the finish in the middle is that the helmet is very expensive – $300, and the improvement over other designs is progressive at best. The vanity about the package is almost the same as the security features, weighs 5 ounces less and is $40 cheaper. It also ventilates in a similar way and its light weight makes it slightly more suitable for use in the garden. However, if you want maximum protection and almost all features available on the market, you can get a Quantum Premium MIPS.
See Smith’s quantum MIPS
10. X cynical ($150)
Weight: 15,5 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (12 ventilation holes)
What we liked: Comfortable lining and cheerful style.
What we don’t do: Unregulated vents.
Choosing the right helmet for $150 is a priority. If you need comfort on the liner, adjustable boarding aids and a Smith, Oakley and Giro cover that sticks out of the sea, Pret Cynic X is the perfect choice. The wool lining makes it one of the most comfortable interiors for less than $200, and the easy-to-use fixing system is similar to the Boa model. We would like to see adjustable ventilation for this price, but Cynic’s fixed system, with its 12 vents and some open/closed valves on the inside, provides quite good temperature control.
As with the Smith mission below, the Cynic’s cast design keeps the weight below one pound for the average height. But unlike the mission, you get a little more power from strategically placed polycarbonate panels that thicken the part of the hull. Finally, the look is always subjective, but in general we like the styling of the Cynical and Fun line (although some might find the great Fun on the sides a bit extreme). For a similar design made around a one-ounce lighter for use on alpine circuits, look at the Cynic AT.
Look, look, look, look, look, look. Pretty Cynic X See Pretty Cynic X See Fun Lyric X
11. Giro Region MIPS ($250)
Construction: Hybrid in the form
Weight: 19 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (13 ventilation holes)
What we want: Fantastic landing system, excellent performance.
What we don’t do: Thin earphones do not work well with the audio system.
Giro is one of the few brands that is truly innovative in its mounting systems, and with its two-piece adjustable housing, the MIPS range offers a low profile of superior quality. By twisting the glove’s dial with your thumb, the semi-flexible shell expands or closes around the head. For most head shapes this gives an absolutely fantastic fit (the only exception is the round head, which fits better in Vantage). And we have discovered that the minimalist edge corresponds to most points, even with large images like Dragon X2, which are difficult to repair.
For the price, we prefer more substantial and stronger ear padding (although, until you want to use audio receivers, they give us pretty good warmth and comfort throughout the day). The rest of the design is excellent: The strap under the chin is magnetic and can easily be opened and closed with gloves – a pleasant improvement over the standard Smith fastener. The Range buckle has first class features such as a soft to the touch interior and a MIPS lining. The ventilation does not really meet Vantage standards, but the 13 large ventilation grilles are easy to adjust and work well in our sidewall studies.
See the Giro MIPS Range See the Giro Stellar MIPS Range Woman
12. Soft protection rising MIPS ($200)
Construction: Hybrid form
Weight: 13,4 oz.
What we want: Skitouring design with MIPS.
What we don’t do: The lining’s not running.
Salomon’s MTN lab upstairs was the best choice of mountaineers for several seasons, but it finally has a formidable competitor in the new Sweet Protection Ascender. Like Salomon, this cover is certified for climbing and skiing, very light on much less than a pound and equipped with all the necessary accessories for headlights and goggles. But Sweet Protection includes MIPS for extra protection against tipping shocks not found in the MTN lab and has smaller holes on the top of the housing to limit the penetration of moisture. It’s also fairly aggressively priced at $200, which equals Solomon’s money despite the additional security technology (the non-MIPS Ascender is available for $170).
The surprising omission of the new Sweet Protection helmet is that it has no inner lining. We realize the benefits of saving light and packaging, and it is true that some people hold on to Solomon on spring days, but we still want to be able to put it in the bowl for convenience. However, in both sketches you are probably wearing a hat or beanstalk on the cold rounds, so this is not a breach of contract. And for the more traditional soft protection for station use, take a look at their MIPS switches.
See MIPS Sweet Protection Ascendant.
13. PMO Smith ($130)
Weight: 16 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (14 ventilation holes)
What we want: Lightweight, comfortable and competitively priced.
What we don’t do: Less sustainable than the options above.
Taking the place of the popular look in Smith’s range is a mission. This headset has everything you would expect from a mid-range cover: adjustable inner lining for mounting, integrated clip for the glasses and detachable headphones for audio systems. The foam interior is not as luxurious as in the Vantage or higher, but it remains soft and warm enough for cold days. What makes the Mission stand out is its weight: with a weight of 16 oz. it is one of the lightest and most functional spa helmets for the MIPS model.
Remember, the light building of the Smith mission is really losing power. The helmet’s fully molded design means that it does not contain any of the tough ABS materials obtained by using premium hybrid molded parts such as Level. This causes our signs of wear and tear to appear more quickly than with more expensive alternatives (it is even advisable to be careful when disposing of the car or trunk). This limits the appeal of use for serious runners, but we still like the combination of weight, price and comfort.
Look, look, look, look, look, look. Mission Smith MIPS See MIPS Cheating Smith’s Wives
14. K2 Direction ($160)
Construction: Hybrid form
What we like:Low seat and comfortable padding.
What we don’t have:Audio system on.
With its light and plush lining, the K2 Diversion is our favorite helmet of the venerable ski brand. In addition to the comfortable full body, the hybrid design offers a pleasant balance of functionality with a shape at the sides and a rigid shell at the top. We also like all the ventilation holes on the front and top of the helmet, and adjusting the system with gloves is child’s play. Signing up for less than 16 ounces is also one of the easiest ways to make our list.
The most important point is the point where the K2 deviation suffers as the peloton sinks to the ground. Part of the extra cost is due to the installation of a dubious audio system that does not offer the best sound quality and to which a cable that is difficult to control is connected. You can delete the system, but for $160 the price is a bit high if you don’t intend to use it. If K2 would reset the sound and price, we would want the distraction to be even greater.
Look at the K2 diversion helmet.
15. Memorandum of Understanding 1 Oakley ($120)
Construction: Mold ventilation
: Fixed (6 vents)
What we like: Good value and functionality.
What we don’t do: General view and minimum ventilation.
In MOD 5 and MOD 3, Oakley’s latest construction: MOD 1. As you can see from the name, this is their entry-level model with a simplified appearance, reduced functionality and a $120 budget price. But Oakley managed to include some interesting details, including a magnetic loop (rarely found on a $200 lid) and a 360-degree tested boa. Comfort is also good for the middle class, thanks to the cap-shaped lining that feels soft and adheres well to the head.
We’re glad Oakley is expanding their helmet line, but we think they missed the boat a little with MOD 1. In the first place, its shape reduces weight, but also durability compared to ABS competitors such as the aforementioned Giro Ledge. Anyone staying in the park or exploring the station’s outdoor attractions will probably want a more sober design. In addition, the MOD 3 and MOD 5 distinguish themselves on the market by their unique and futuristic look, but the MOD 1 is combined with a generic, skateboard inspired style. Despite our common thread, we cannot break through the value of MOD-1, which gives it a place on our list for 2020.
Discover the Oakley MOD 1 helmet.
16. Grimnir II TE Soft Protection ($350)
Hybrid carbon fibre fuselage weight: 21,2 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (26 air vents)
What we like: Carbon fiber helmet!
What we don’t do: Super expensive and impractical.
You immediately see that the Sweet Protection Grimnir II TE is no ordinary ski helmet. The hull is made of shiny carbon fibre – it is particularly impressive in the Natural Carbon colour, and the price is enormous: $350. It’s $50 more than the second most expensive helmet on the list, and in thin air for a complete mountain/freezer design. But carbon fibre offers incredible power and performance at a professional level. For those confronted with large mountain ranges with lots of exposure, the Grimnir TE might be worth a look.
It is probably not surprising that the appeal of the Grimnir TE is very limited. On the one hand, people interested in this helmet can often find themselves in awkward situations and may need to replace it after an accident, long before the EPS liner is worn out (that’s an extra $350). Moreover, there is no standardised test to show that this carbon structure is actually safer, although the material is known to be very strong. After all, the Grimnir TE is still a niche product, but Sweet Protection really earns $200 for the MIPS II insurance, which is similar in shape and fit, but replaces the carbon fibre with a more practical ABS plastic.
See the Sweet Protection Grimnir II TE helmet
17. Giro MIPS Association ($150)
Construction: Mold ventilation
: Adjustable (11 openings) What we want: Rather comfortable and light.
What we don’t do: No functions, small openings.
The USD 150 Union MIPS and the USD 200 Area MIPS cover the bids of the Californian middle class. In many ways they are an extension of the above range of rotation, but without the peeling adjustment system. None of the models both bothered us, but the Zone and Union models are both very suitable for stationary and rural use, with individually adjustable ventilation, a well-designed interior and a discreet landing system that can be adjusted both vertically and around the head.
The main difference is that Zone MIPS has a hybrid construction that gives wear resistance to the upper surface, while Union is a pure form construction. Zone also uses a handy magnetic clamp, which we like to keep handy compared to the standard Union closure. Both helmets are a good addition to the Giraud fleet, but we give the Union an advantage as the best option (and value) for the skier in the skiing area. With $200, we prefer the Smith-level to the zone, but the Union is a good option with $150. Please note that these helmets, like the Smith Vantage MIPS mentioned above, were slightly smaller than the helmet shown.
Visit the Union Giraud website and the MIPS of the Giraud women.
18. POC registration error ($100)
Construction: Double Hybrid
Weight: 19.4 oz.
Ventilation: Adjustable (8 ventilation holes)
What we want: Robust and shockproof construction.
What we don’t do: Fine padding and no adjustment system.
Shockproof – that’s the name of the game with the POC Receptor Bug, which has exceptional durability thanks to its double-scale system. It is a proven solution for those who go over the edge – the outer layer of ABS covers the entire helmet, unlike models such as Smith Vantage and Level, which are only partially covered – and comes with a light weight addition. The filling does not really match Smith’s best options, but it is a compromise in terms of weight preservation.
Unfortunately, the standard receiver error does not come with a suitable controller, so it can be a bit difficult to find the perfect size (however, there are 5 sizes to choose from). POC makes the version of Receptor Bug Adjustable, but it will cost you an extra $55. And the helmet really pays off in terms of ventilation, with 8 large holes at the top of the head that can be opened or closed depending on conditions. For those looking for an exciting experience, both Receptor Bug models are available in a wide range of colours, from conservative blue or white to sparkling yellow or red.
Look at the helmet on the POC receiver.
19. Anonymous abuser 3 ($80)
Weight: 21 oz.
Ventilation: Fixed (6 vents)
What we like: Good price, solid construction.
What we don’t do: The device appears to be bulky and heavy to touch; there is no corresponding device.
Anon Raider is an old budget-favorite thanks to its sturdy construction and skatepark-ready appearance. In terms of functions, it’s as easy as access. There is no adjustable control system, the ventilation system cannot handle temperature control or fog and it is one of the toughest models on our 21-ounce list. On the other hand, the inner lining is lined with fleece, which is much softer than we expected for the price, and the helmet is pleasantly sturdy.
With its $80 price tag, it competes directly with Smith Holt, and between them we give Holt a clear advantage. Smith made the helmet more livable for the same price: A simple landing system works well, and although the weight is about the same, it feels much lighter on the head and much less voluminous. However, Anon is certified for several seasons, making it a good value for snow and skating helmets.
Look, Anon Greta 3. Look, Anon Greta 3.
Comparison of ski helmets Table
Tips for buying ski helmets
- Headphone type
- Ventilation: Adjustable or fixed
- Coatings: Comfort and warmth
- Safety helmet: MIPS and above
- Weight and volume
- Ski helmet characteristics
- Dimensions and size
- Compatible with eyeglass electrodes
- Women’s helmets
Ski helmets can be divided into three general categories: ABS for better resistance, in a mould for the lightest, and hybrid in a mould for greater compromise between them.
The helmet market includes a mix of ABS, moulded and hybrid models.
ABS helmets like Smith Holt’s are made in the traditional style with a hard plastic shell and foam padding glued on the inside. The combination means that it is strong, but at the expense of weight and mass. Wear an ABS back to back helmet with a molded or hybrid design, and the ABS model looks bigger. The exchangeable quality is the price, which can lead to considerable savings compared to other models. For skiers or snowboarders looking for their first helmet, wanting to save a few bucks or looking for the hardest option for heavy kicks, an ABS-style helmet should do the trick.
TheIn-Mold and Hybrid
In-Mold and Hybrid In-Mold technology can be found on many middle and upper class helmets. From the start, the internal structure of the mould combines a thin shell (often polycarbonate) with an EPS foam backing and they are poured together. What you get is an integrated part that saves weight and absorbs the shocks of the helmet. Also with these models, the breakdown is better; the degree of improvement depends on the model and the price.
Durability is a major drawback of a helmet with a shape, especially protection against aesthetic damage such as bumps and dents, making hybrid helmets more popular. Hybrid shaped structures add layers to facilitate work (often along the top) and increase aesthetic resistance. We think hybrid constructions are the best of both worlds, but their price, often 175 dollars or more, makes them inaccessible to many casual skiers. Some of our best models use this type of design, including Smith Vantage, Giro Range and Oakley MOD 5.
The hybrid design is perfectly suited for use in the station.
Ventilation: Adjustable or fixed
We attach great importance to ventilation. On a normal ski day we constantly open and close the vents when descending a slope with a wind lift or when warming up during an off-road hike. The technology to maintain a comfortable temperature is not as simple as drilling holes in your helmet – the winter air is quite cold and can cause a terrible cerebral haemorrhage if you try to blow off steam.
Smith’s Vantage (left) is much better ventilated than a budget option like Anon Raider (right).
First take the number of standard vents in the helmet (we have provided this information in the specifications for each helmet and in the comparison table above). Not all ventilation openings are the same, but this number gives you a good indication of the ventilation your helmet provides. Of course, there is a correlation between the number of vents and the cost of the helmet. One of the best fans, the top-of-the-line Smith Vantage, has an impressive 21 fans, while a budget model like the Anon Raider 3 has only six small fixed holes.
You then have both adjustment options and design considerations. Many high-end and mid-range helmets are equipped with adjustable vents that can be opened and closed depending on the amount of air needed. Adjustability is preferable to static ventilation openings. And efficient designs channel air through air inlets at the front and dissipate heat from the top and back. Economy helmets often have fixed holes that cannot be closed, although a well thought-out passive system such as Bern Watts’ EPS can still work well to regulate body heat. On long-distance boats it may be necessary to remove the helmet completely, although we always recommend to face the heat if there is a risk of falling rocks.
Front ventilation of Smith’s Quantum reduces fog.
Coatings: Comfort and warmth
All these bizarre safety and ventilation practices take precedence over the helmet itself when it is uncomfortable, hence the importance of quality lining. The difference in skin comfort between an elite helmet and an economy helmet is immediately obvious, but becomes even more obvious on a long day in the mountains.
Upholstery fabrics from high-end designers such as Smith Vantage and Level are not only comfortable but also supportive. The soft, fluffy padding of almost all the helmets we tested for less than $100 may look good at first glance, but it’s not as comfortable as wearing a watch (however, Smith Holt and Giro Ledge are doing a good job). Moreover, many cheap helmets do not cover the plastic seating system wrapped around the head. You have two options: an uncomfortable landing, giving you a lump on your forehead, or wearing it too loosely, partially jeopardizing your goal of having a helmet. For these (and other) reasons, we recommend spending money on those who ski many days every winter. As an uncomfortable pair of ski boots you will notice if you do not.
Comfortable interior with station-oriented design.
Cruise ships offer more than just comfort. They are also an excellent source of thermal insulation because they provide about the same amount of heat as a medium-heavy winter hat. If you need even more heat, you can put the cap underneath, but choose a helmet size that fits around the circumference of your head an extra inch or so, depending on the thickness of the helmet. Some helmets have removable earpieces for extra refinement in the desired warmth.
Safety helmet: MIPS and above
All helmets on our list have a safety certificate for non-motorized snow sports from the American company ASTM International, which is designed to protect you from serious shocks in the mountains. Despite the design differences mentioned above, they all follow a basic design with a tough look and a foam interior that absorbs part of the impact. There are helmets with additional certificates, such as the Salomon MTN Lab (mountaineering) and Bern Watts EPS (cycling), but they are all considered safe choices for skiing and snowboarding, although a careful reading of the certificate only confirms that they intend to protect you at low speeds. The user’s obligation to ski or snowboard remains, as it should be, within the limits of his possibilities.
Fortunately, the safety of helmets is a hot topic at the moment.
In an effort to improve security, additional technologies have been introduced, including POC SPIN, but none is as widespread as the MIPS liner. In short, the technology is designed to reduce potential brain damage due to angular blows (Giro describes them as specific blows) by using a coating that moves independently of the outer shell. We’ve taken the time to remove our MIPS inserts and it’s impressively simple: There is a thin layer of plastic that is connected to the helmet by means of a few small cushions.
In addition to the extensive research into MIPS and related technologies, the beauty of the design is that it has little or no influence on the comfort and profile of the helmet. So you see MIPS is accepted for anything from $260 for the Smith Vantage to $90 for the Giro Ledge. Some of the helmets we tested were slightly smaller, but otherwise the effect was insignificant. It’s hard to calculate how often MIPS technology is a security benefit and we haven’t found any reliable, evidence-based research, but everything suggests it’s a good extra security measure to protect your head (how much it will cost – it’s up to you). For more information about MIPS, we have found a useful resource on the technology page of the MIPS website.
MIPS technology is enriched with new models every year.
Weight and volume
In their specific ABS design, shaped or hybrid ski helmets weigh about the same. For our mid-size helmets we tested, 14-16 us for the shape, 17-19 us for the hybrid and 20+ for the ABS. And there are noticeable differences between the categories in the way they feel, and hybrid helmets are lighter for a long day in the mountains. However, if you just put your helmet on the scale, you don’t know everything about how it feels on your head. Good padding and a tight but comfortable fit can easily make up for the differences in a few ounces. It’s one of the many reasons we love Smith Vantage. It’s not the easiest thing, but you’ll forget about them soon enough.
The weight is an important factor for the reverse effect.
This perception of weight is reinforced by the bulky helmet. Cheap helmets with a basic structure of ABS are thick and seem impossible to handle. Anonski Raider was the worst offender on our list, but it’s still much better than the even cheaper versions of the helmet (and it’s no coincidence that no helmet under 70 dollars has ever been discounted). On the contrary, all our superior kits have a flat shape and don’t make you feel like you’re wearing a heavy appendix.
ABS helmets are generally heavier but very durable.
Ski helmet characteristics
Clips for goggle straps
This is a simple but popular feature: a clip on the back of most ski helmets to remove the goggle straps. This reduces the risk of losing your ski goggles in the event of an accident or otherwise. Some models also offer internal routing. There isn’t much improvement in performance, but some people prefer a smoother, more discreet look, where you can’t see the belt, and maybe it will hold up a little better if you sell all the way through with your accident.
The locks for the Giro’s glasses are simple and easy to use.
Most headphones are compatible with a particular type of audio system. For example: Smith and Giro work well together with outdoor technology chip systems. In both cases the earphones have a built-in compartment in which the loudspeakers can be stored. Headphones such as the POC line have built-in speakers and a cable for connection to the phone or the music player. If you go down this road, you’ll spend a little more to get high-quality speakers and reliable electronics. Simply put, the cheaper options don’t look so good and are prone to failure. When skiing, it’s always convenient to turn down the volume or have quiet speakers for added safety. Although this can affect sound quality, the compromise between being able to hear other skiers or someone shouting at you is a pure victory.
Skiing and snowboarding are two sports that are directly related to the growing popularity of action cameras. The skiers quickly took advantage of this to record the slopes, the tricks and just the fun on the slopes. The good news is that most security cameras come with self-adhesive helmet clips that can be attached directly to almost any helmet on the market. Some models, such as Giro’s Range and Zone, go even further and feature a GoPro-compatible mount that makes it easy to turn the camera on and off.
Dimensions and size
The sizing of protective equipment is not a good time to give advice. If you don’t already know, measure the circumference of your head before making an online purchase. All you need is a soft wheel or a belt: Wrap it around your head about an inch above your ears and eyebrows to get your number (in inches). As long as the manufacturer is close to their lists – the only differences we have seen lately are the smaller MIPS helmets mentioned above – this should ensure a good fit.
Boa systems are reliable and offer easy adjustment.
Being able to try different helmets can take you from decency to perfection, because just like the heads we put them in, helmets have different shapes. Smith Vantage, for example, is fairly well known for what is best for people with a fairly round head (although it is quite close to universal compatibility). On the other hand, the giro area is more suitable for a narrower profile. Unfortunately we haven’t found whole brands of helmets that fit in a certain way, so we can’t make too many generalities, but we’ve listed all the problems we’ve encountered with the fit in our selection above. It’s best to try it before you buy, but you can also make sure the online store accepts returns (we recommend it).
One last remark about the adjustment: If you see a helmet of the same size claiming to offer a maximum fit, we advise you to orient yourself clearly, even if the circumference of your head does not exceed the specified parameters. Something that is adjustable will not work in the long run.
Compatible with eyeglass electrodes
As with this perfect helmet, goggle compatibility is easier if you can fit them. Incorrectly fitting helmets and goggles can either be too tight, causing the helmet to be pushed up and the goggles to be placed on the nose, or too open, making part of the forehead vulnerable to cold air. The easiest way to ensure a good fit is to attach helmets of the same brand – Smiths helmets work perfectly with a pair of Smiths glasses, and the same goes for the Giro and POC – but we recommend you go further if you have goggles or a helmet that attracts your attention.
Bern Watts’ curved presentation makes a perfect fit difficult.
During the tests we discovered that some helmets are very suitable for different types of spectacles. The Oakley MOD 5 replacement case is compatible with a wide range of brands and sizes. And not only do Giro helmets work well with all Giro glasses, but we also found a helmet like the Range MIPS that can handle everything from the big Anon M3 or Dragon X2 to the classic Smith I/O. On the other hand, the Berner Watts EPS helmet is one of the most difficult to install. The large square visor only worked well in a medium or smaller spot like Smith I/O; most of Oakley’s large lenses, as well as Enon and the Dragon, mentioned above, did not work. Smith’s popular Vantage and Level helmets are suitable for department stores like Oakley Airbrake and Flight Deck, but we’ve had problems with high frames like the Dragon X2.
The Oakley Mod 5 helmet and Airbrake XL glasses go well together.
Although the range of ski helmets is unisex and ideal for both men and women, there is a wide range of snow helmets specifically for women. These models are quite similar to the men’s models, but with different colours for the body and the upholstery, and have a smaller cut. There will often be a name change, but the technology is the same as the price. Where necessary we have included a link to the male and female versions of the helmet.
Back to our selection of the best ski helmets Back to our comparison table of ski helmets.
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