Skiing is one of the most exciting ways to travel! The mountains in the winter are gorgeous, and there isn’t a better way to get out and experience them like skiing. That being said, sliding down snow covered slopes at high speeds can be hazardous. Skiing injuries are not uncommon regardless of your experience level.
When first starting out, staying in control isn’t the easiest of tasks; and once you advance in skill many people begin skiing faster, steeper and more difficult lines. If it’s your goal to learn how to hit rails, stomp jumps and navigate your way through the terrain park; you might also encounter your own share of obstacles. While bruises and egos will heal eventually, protecting your head and it’s valuable contents can turn a not so good day into a catastrophic day. Head injuries can be bad and may have lasting impacts on memory, cognition and a whole host of important processes we use each day.
Let's be honest, it's not the 80s anymore and in this aspect that's probably a good thing. Back in the day helmets weren’t cool, safety was lame and meant you didn’t know your stuff. This day and age some of the biggest names in skiing and snowboarding proudly wear helmets while hitting those monster lines, and regardless of your objective for the day, you should too. They keep you warm, they are an excellent receptacle for stickers so everyone else knows all of the resorts you’ve ever skied, and most importantly they protect you.
It's a good investment if you think about all the additional days over a lifetime you get to ski because you were smart and protected your head that one day you accidentally hit a tree. So lucky for you we compiled the sleekest, stylish and most functional helmets to help you find the best option for you to stay safe out there this winter.Enter your text here...
Best Ski Helmets
Best Overall Ski and Snowboard Helmet: Smith Vantage MIPS
MIPS is a common attribute in tons of helmets, and is one of the standards that many helmets strive for across brands and industries.
MIPS is an acronym which stands for Mulit-direction Impact Protection, and is common in not only ski and snowboard helmets, but cycling, equestrian and other helmet types as well.
How the technology works is the helmet has an internal sliding layer which acts as a buffer between the helmet lining and the foam. What this does is allow a certain amount of play between each layer of the helmet, allowing the helmet a certain amount of movement in each direction before affecting the brain.
It is a common safety feature in tons of helmets and a good thing to look for when selecting one. It isn’t a mistake that 4 out of 5 of these recommendations have MIPS integrated into their helmet design, it is one of the common standards many helmet manufacturers use when designing new products.
The Smith Vantage, boasts MIPS technology, and is one of the best all around options we could find while reviewing helmets. It's not only safe, but also highly functional and versatile as well. The Vantage uses both MIPS and Zonal Koroyd, which is a layer of deformable plastic to reduce impact to the head. This combination shows that Smith had safety in mind with the design of this helmet. Not only that but the helmet is compatible with any Smith goggles using their AirEvac ventilation system for optimal fog reduction. This system displaces air from the goggles into the helmet and dissipates the moisture to reduce fogging. In addition, there are 21 strategically located vents throughout the helmet which helps shed excess heat released through the head.
The vents can be further fine tuned using the front and rear adjustments which helps you control the amount of airflow moving through the helmet. This is ideal on days with variable temperatures or sun, and also extremely useful on the skintrack or during high output activity such as climbing.
The Smith Vantage guarantees your head will stay as warm or cool as you need, to help you keep your focus on performing your best. There is also a removable set of warm pads to further increase warmth or comfort, which are also compatible with the Aleck audio system allowing you to listen to music directly through the helmet, which means no more dealing with fussy cords or bulbous headphones uncomfortable pressing into your ear.
There is a BOA closure on the back of the helmet which aids you in adjusting the helmet to your ideal tightness but doesn’t require the hassle of any sliding or snap closures which are notoriously hard to adjust in gloves.This is a great helmet that doesn’t sacrifice safety or fit for any of those less important features, if there is one helmet that does it all well, it's the Smith Vantage.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Giro Ratio MIPS
The Giro Ratio helmet is exactly that, a perfect ratio of features you would expect from a premium helmet at a far more friendly price tag.
With the MSRP being around $100, this helmet really represents an excellent value for each dollar spent.
Once again, the GIRO Ratio has MIPS technology to reduce head impact resulting from rotational forces which at this price point is also an impressive feature.
A dial on the back helps you zero in the perfect fit so the helmet stays exactly how tight you like it, and it is compatible with aftermarket audio systems sold by GIRO as well. This last piece, the fact that the audio system doesn’t come integrated is just one of those features we lose at such an attractive price point.
The good news is that what is compromised is symply music, not any of the comfort or safety features we need to protect ourselves and keep cooking back to the mountains day after day. The helmet has vents in the front designed to be compatible with Giro goggles and thus reduce your chances of fogging up the windows. Lastly you can fine tune how far forward or back the helmet sits on your head, designed strategically to avoid the gap between your helmet and goggles.
Overall, a hemet this cheap usually doesn’t have vents or MIPS, or maybe it doesn’t usually have an adjustable fit. In this helmet, GIRO has engineered a no frills, everything you need and nothing you don’t helmet at an extremely competitive price point. For those looking to save a little in the bank for a fresh pair of skis, then this is the helmet for you.
Best Bargain for Resort and Backcountry Use: Smith Mission MIPS
Similar to the Smith Vantage MIPS, which is our overall best choice for skiing and snowboarding helmets this year, the Smith Mission MIPS is a similar, slightly less featured helmet at a much friendlier price point.
At $110 for colors and sizes lacking MIPS, and $140 for ones with MIPS, on the whole this helmet is about $100 cheaper than the Vantage, leaving you extra cash for a new pair of goggles or even just another lift ticket.
Just like the Vantage, the main safety features in the Smith Mission are the MIPS technology and the Zonal Koroyd compressible plastic which deformes to absorb impact before reaching your head. This is a winning safety combination, and Smith clearly wants it incorporated in helmets throughout their line this year.
In addition, the helmet is lightweight and packable enough to bring with you on backcountry missions up the skintrack and beyond, but not forcing you to leave your head protection at home due to bulk or weight.
The Mission has 14 vents, not quite as many as the Vantage’s 21 vents, but is a small sacrifice given the price difference. The fit finishes with an easily adjustable dial in the back, and the padded ear pieces are audio compatible with Smith’s Aleck system, allowing you to listen to music wherever you go.
Overall this is a helmet that comes jam packed with features, and the latest and greatest as far as safety technology is concerned in helmet engineering. The only things you sacrifice are a few color choices containing MIPS and not quite as many vents. At an attractive price, this helmet has everything you need and nothing you don’t and should be high on anyone's list looking for a functional, cost efficient helmet.
Best for Warmth: Smith Quantum MIPS
The best thing you can do for your skiing or riding ability, is to stay warm. When you get cold you lose focus, and likely end your day a few runs earlier than you have to.
Now if you think about the fact that most of your body heat is vented through your head, it’s critical to have a helmet that can keep you warm on those cold blustery days where the thermostat doesn’t even hit double digits.
No worries though, because the Smith Quantum MIPS has you covered on all of your helmet essentials bundled all into one cozy warm package. The protection elements of the helmet are similar to that of the Smith Vantage MIPS.
The quantum has MIPS multi-directional impact protection system, as well as the Koroyd deformable plastic instead of a traditional EPS foam liner. In addition the Quantum has a harder exoskeleton on the sides of each helmet to reduce forces targeted at the sides of the head.
Just in case the sun comes out though, the Quantum MIPS utilizes Smith’s AirEvac system to improve airflow and cool you down one the snow starts heating up. There are twenty two vents located around strategic points on the helmet to improve airflow and comfort.
The head band cinches easily with a BOA dial, and the earpieces are compatible with Aleck audio systems. There isn’t much that this helmet doesn’t offer you in terms of fit, comfort performance and warmth, the perfect helmet to help you ski longer on the coldest days of winter.
Best for Freestyle Riders: Anon Logan WaveCel
Freestyle riders need a helmet to match their style on the slopes, and no helmet does that better than the Anon Logan WaveCel.
Due to the nature of lots of freestyle tricks, a helmet which protects you from lateral and rotational forces is key.
WaveCel is the main safety feature that Anon uses in their helmets, and it consists of tons of small links between your head and the helmet. When the helmet experiences an impact, the forces are spread throughout these tiny links distributing the force over a larger surface area and thus lessening the impact to the wearer.
Furthermore, the links will bend laterally to allow for twisting forces someone may experience during an impact. The liner tightens completely around the head and forehead with an easy to adjust BOA closure system.
This helmet supports ten vents to reduce overheating on hot days. The chinstrap comes down and secures simply and easily with a magnetic closure, making it easy to operate while wearing gloves or with numb fingers. Add to this a number of stylish colors across the spectrum, you will be ready to hit every feature the mountain has to throw at you.
This helmet is sleek, and has all of the features an freestyle rider should need whether putting in laps at the terrain park or tackling those big mountain lines with confidence.