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Snowboarding and skiing are two major sports that require the best safety gear. No matter your level of proficiency, one of the most important skiing gear you’ll need is your ski helmet. Picking up the best ski helmet is only right given the fact that it’s a gear that’s meant to protect your head. Thanks to recent advancements, there are now lighter and more durable models on the market. In fact, there are now ski helmets with incredible venting and advanced fit customizations.
We have surfed through the market and picked out ten of the best ski helmets around. The products in our review range from basic helmets to advanced-tech headgears. You are sure to find one that will suit your preference as well as your budget. Also, to ensure that you make the best buying decision, we’ve provided a guide that pinpoints the factors you need to consider when getting a ski helmet. Without further ado, let’s get right in:
10 Best Ski Helmets in 2020
Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet
The Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet is an impressive piece of gear you're bound to find on many reviews online. This ski helmet protects the head with its protective liner and excellent head coverage. Thanks to is Boa-dial, you can easily adjust it to fit your head. Even though it's lightweight, it's still highly durable and offers immense protection. Wear it on your head and you won't even remember that it's there; it is highly comfortable and comes with the perfect shell construction.
The Smith Vantage MIPS snow helmet is designed with 21 different vents for enhanced ventilation. These vents can be easily customized thanks to the sliders controlling them. The ski helmet features an Aerocore construction that makes for improved energy absorption during a crash. And to make things even better, you get an optional MIPS liner, which can help protect your brain in the case of an angled crash. All of these come together to make the helmet one of the best helmets on the market.
What We Like
- Impressive hybrid shell construction
- MIPS technology for impact protection
- Adjustable strap to get the perfect fit
- Dual regulator adjustable ventilation
K2 Diversion Ski Helmet
The K2 Diversion Ski Helmet is one of the best helmets for ski and snow sports. So, it's no wonder that it's the second product on our list. This ski helmet is endowed with one of the most comfortable paddings you can find on a ski helmet. Just like the Smith Vantage Mips Snow Helmet above, this helmet also features a hybrid shell construction. Combine that with its full wrap liner and you get a practical helmet that's able to keep your head safe from crashes while ensuring that you remain comfortable.
The K2 Diversion Ski Helmet features in-mold construction on the sides and a hardshell construction on top. Also, the vents on this ski helmet allow you to enjoy proper ventilation and the adjusting system is very easy to control. In fact, you can control the adjustment system quite easily even with your gloves on. Unlike the Smith Vantage Mips Helmet above, this helmet features an audio system. While the Baseline Audio System isn't the best you can find in a helmet for ski and snow sports, it sure gets the job done. And just in case it turns out you don't like it, you can easily detach the system from your helmet. You also get customized foam liner with a ski neck roll and removable ear pads on this ski helmet.
What We Like
- Dual active-matrix venting
- Comes with the Baseline Audio System
- Adjustable fit system
- Lightweight and durable
Giro Ledge Snow Helmet
Are you a beginner or a professional rider who is looking for a budget ski helmet that's worthy of being ranked among the best? If yes, this helmet right here is for you. In the world of best helmets for skiing, the Giro Ledge Snow Helmet is in a class of its own. Featuring a construction made out of hard shell, this ski helmet helps you keep your head safe from different types of impact. The outer shell is designed with rugged material and attached to an EPS liner for comfort. To make things even better, this skiing helmet comes with stack vent technology, which helps keep the goggle clear and fog-free.
Giro is one of the few brands that adopted the MIPS technology early on. So, it's no wonder that the MIPS technology used in this ski headgear is functional and unique. Despite the fact that it's chock-full of impressive features, this helmet is one of the least expensive options on our list. Coming in at a price point that's around $60, it's one of the best and most impressive helmets you can get at that price point. Other than that, it also comes with an angled impact safety feature, removable ear pads, goggle retainer, and a fit and adjustable system.
What We Like
- Comes in a tough, hardshell design
- Highly comfortable
- Removable and adjustable fit system
- Durable goggle retainer hook
Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS Ski Helmet
If you feel the Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet above doesn't match your style but would like a helmet with that kind of quality, the Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS Ski Helmet is one option you can look at. First off, this helmet combines the toughness and impact distribution of a hard-shell helmet with the elasticity of an in-mold construction to provide users with the best shock absorption. It is designed with 22 vents that can be easily controlled by a turn-dial. This helmet is also one of the lightest ski headgears around. You can have it protecting your head for hours without even noticing that it's there.
The Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS Ski Helmet also allows you to enjoy your music anywhere, any time. Thanks to its audio ready design, you can simply plug in your earpads and crank your music up while surfing down the mountain. Additionally, this Sweet Protection helmet comes with a low volume occigrip dial that allows you to fine-tune the helmet until you get the perfect fit. You get molded earing ports, fully-boxed ear pads, as well as a moisture-wicking, washable, and removable vented liner that helps provide maximum comfort. And thanks to its Multi-directional Impact Protection Technology and Impact Shield (MIPS) inserts, this helmet is sure to keep your head safe, while effectively distributing impact, and reducing rotational motion.
What We Like
- Customizable to attain the perfect fit
- Allows earbud support
- Lightweight and low volume
- Intelligent design helps protect the head effectively
Salomon MTN LAB
The Salomon MTN LAB is another impressive helmet that's worthy of being on this list. Now, while it isn't as bespoke in design and features as the Smith Vantage Mips Helmet above, it sure holds its own. One of its most outstanding features is its lightness. With a weight that's less than 13.5 ounces, this helmet is a perfect all-day head protection. You can ski and enjoy your snowboarding all day without feeling its presence on your head. And since there's no way you'll want your head to get stuffed while wearing the helmet for long hours, Salamon has provided an impressive mode of ventilation via 12 large cutouts.
Additionally, the Salamon MTN LAB can be integrated with many ski goggles, including the Smith I/O Mag Goggles. It comes with two different liners; a winter liner and a lightweight liner. Both are merino liners and they are soft and cozy. However, the Salomon MTN LAB's padding isn't great when it comes to protecting users from cold. The padding is also uncomfortable and since the vents are not adjustable, you may experience moisture during heavy snowfall. This can, however, be prevented by placing a hardshell hood over your helmet. The Salomon MTN LAB may be one of the best ski headgears for alpine skiing, but it won't really do well during lift-assisted days.
What We Like
- Lightweight and comfy
- One of the best helmets for climbing and skiing
- Supports multiple goggles
- Offers great outdoor protection
POC Receptor Bug Helmet
When it comes to toughness and impact resistance, the POC Receptor Bug Helmet is one of the best ski helmets you can rely on. Designed with a double-shell system, this ski helmet offers immense durability and toughness. It is one that provides effective head protection, even for those that push themselves beyond the limit. While models like the Smith Vantage have an ABS shell that partially covers the helmet, this POC Receptor's ABS outer layer covers the entire helmet. And to make things even more interesting, it is just as light as the Smith Vantage models. This is a trade-off that makes the padding a little lighter than what you'd find on the Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet above.
The POC Receptor Bug Helmet utilizes 8 different vents on top of the helmet for ventilation. You can adjust them by closing or opening them according to the weather conditions or as much as you see fit. It is also available in a wide range of colors so you can get the perfect splash for you. However, it's important to note that there are two different models of the POC Receptor Bug Helmet. One (POC Receptor Bug Adjustable Helmet) comes with a fit adjuster straight out of the box, thereby helping you get the perfect fit. The other model doesn't and you may need to spend over $50 to get the right fit adjuster for this ski helmet.
What We Like
- Tough and durable outer shell
- Effective impact distribution and resistance
- Adjustable vents
- Comes in six different colors
TurboSke Ski Helmet
Looking for an adjustable ski helmet that's perfect for both men and women? Look no further than the TurboSke Ski Helmet. Sitting in the $40 price range, this lightweight and inexpensive ski helmet is all you need whether you're at a snow center or at the slopes. It is a sleek work of art that's designed as an all-purpose ski helmet. The ABS outer shell of this helmet is integrated with an EPS foam liner so as to be able to absorb impact while remaining lightweight and durable. There's a goggle strap clip attached to the helmet. This ensures that your googles stay on you always and you don't have to worry about losing them.
Additionally, the TurboSke Ski Helmet comes with audio compatible removable ear pads that can be washed and cleaned for proper hygiene. Unlike many other earpad designs you'll find on the market, the ear pads in this helmet come with an audio storage slot. This means that you don't necessarily have to detach the ear pads before being able to use your earbuds. The TurboSke Ski Helmet is endowed with a ventilation system that promotes airflow even inside the helmet as well as the goggles. The vents draw air in through the front opening and take moisture out through the back. For users to be able to get the best fit for their head shape, this helmet comes with an adjustable fit system. The adjustment system makes it easy for a wide range of users to be able to utilize the helmet efficiently. It features a dial that can be easily turned even if you have your gloves on. The shell is semi-flexible, so you're bound to get the best fit no matter what your head shape is.
What We Like
- Audio compatible earbuds
- Snug fit thanks to the adjustment system
- In-mold construction for durability and lightness
- Goggle strap clip helps keep your goggles safe
AKASO Ski Helmet
The Akaso Ski Helmet is another great budget option you should consider if you're looking for an inexpensive helmet. While it doesn't come with the multi-directional impact (MIPS) technology like the Smith Vantage helmet above, it sure carries some impressive features that make it worthy of its $40 price range. Just like the TurboSke Helmet above, the Akaso Ski Helmet is designed with a hard shell frame and an EPS foam liner that absorbs impact effectively. This ski helmet is capable of reducing your chances of getting an injury in case of a crash thanks to its high-quality shock absorption liner. It is adjustable via a tension dial located at the back of the helmet, which means you are bound to get the right fit for your head shape.
Just like the TurboSke Helmet above, the Akaso Ski Helmet is also designed with adjustable vents. With its ventilation system, you can easily control the amount of heat you let out and the air you let in. Also, you get a goggle loop that helps hold your goggle in place and the liners embedded into the helmet can be removed and washed. The liners and earpads help you customize the amount of warmth you need. This helmet is ASTM and CE certified for safety; you're sure to get nothing but the best head protection from it.
What We Like
- Adjustable vents
- Goggle loop helps you hold your ski goggles
- Adjustment system at the back of the helmet
- Shock-absorbing EPS liner for maximum protection
Retrospec Traverse H1 Ski Helmet
The Retrospec Traverse H1 Ski Helmet is a low profile, all-purpose helmet offering impeccable head protection. It's quite similar in features to the Akaso Ski Helmet and the TurboSke Ski helmet. This ski helmet is designed with an ABS outer shell and an EPS liner on the inside for better impact absorption. This construction technology allows the helmet to efficiently protect your head while remaining light enough to be worn for longer durations. Thanks to its ear pads and vents, the Retrospec Traverse H1 Ski Helmet is able to keep your head warm as much as you'd like. Ventilation is done via ten fixed cutouts on the exterior of the helmet.
Getting the best fit isn't difficult as this helmet comes with an adjustable dial. The Ergoknob Adjustable Dial embedded into this helmet makes it easy to get the perfect customized fit. For better comfort and protection, the brand decided to include a soft padded cushion to the nylon chin strap on the helmet. This allows you to ride comfortably for as long as you want. And you don't have to worry about losing your ski goggles on your adventure. All you have to do is clip your goggles to the back of the helmet and slash on through the powder.
What We Like
- Comfortable and durable
- Offers effective protection
- Effective adjustment dial for a customized fit
- Strap for ski goggles
Wildhorn Drift Snowboard & Ski Helmet
If you're looking for one of the best ski helmets for snowboarding and freeskiing, the Wildhorn Drift Snowboard & Ski Helmet is a piece of gear you should consider. Sitting in the $80 price range, this ski helmet is even trusted by professionals from around the world. In fact, it's one of the top picks of the four times Olympian, Ashley Caldwell. So, what are the features that make this piece of gear one of the best ski helmets on the market? Well firstly, this gear features an ergonomic design that makes it 25% lighter than other models on the market. It is a low profile helmet that accommodates different goggle types and head shapes.
The earpads embedded into this helmet are audio compatible and can be detached on warmer days. It also comes with a Fine Tune Adjustment (FTA) system that allows you to fine-tune the helmet until you get the best fit for your head shape. The EPS liner integrated into this helmet is comfortable and provides impeccable insulation. To make things even better, Wildhorn's VNT system ensures that you get the best ventilation possible. The Wildhorn Drift Snowboard and Ski Helmet comes with 13 adjustable vents. You can simply slide them open to get some coolness or shut them off to retain the heat. This ski helmet is all about protecting you while making you comfortable. It's one of the best helmets that will make you feel like a pro.
What We Like
- Lightweight, durable, and comfortable
- Offers customized fit and adjustable vents
- Removable audio compatible earmuffs
- Ergonomic design and reliable construction
Ski Helmets Buyer’s Guide
No matter how proficient you are, it’s very important that you get the best ski helmets. You want to ensure that your helmet can provide good protection in case you fall or crash. It must also remain comfortable and nice on your head so you can wear it for long durations. However, the market is filled with many different products claiming to be the best and making the right choice may seem like a hard thing to do. We are here to help you remove your doubts while selecting the best ski helmet for you.
In our review above, we’ve outlined ten of the best ski helmets on the market. Whether your helmet is getting old and you’d like a new one, or you’re new to the sport and would like to get the best gear, the ski helmets above are surely some of the best you can choose. In this guide, we’ll be talking about some of the important factors to look at when choosing the best ski helmet for you.
What Makes A Good Ski Helmet?
There are many factors contributing to how good a helmet can be. Read on to learn what they are:
Ski helmets come in three major construction types, including in-mold construction, ABS construction, and hybrid in-mold construction. Simply put, ABS construction focuses on durability, in-mold is all about lightness, and hybrid in-mold simply brings both worlds together. Below is an in-depth review of the differences between these construction types:
ABS Construction: This construction type is designed with the traditional method of using a hard plastic shell as the outer layer and lining the inside up with foam. Helmets using this combination are always very tough and durable, but they are usually very weighty and bulky. If you compare the ABS construction models with the other two types, the ABS helmets will feel more cumbersome than the other two.
However, helmets made with the ABS construction are quite inexpensive, which is why they have remained popular. They are some of the most populous budget options on the market. Given the fact that ski helmets made with this construction technology are tough and inexpensive, they serve as some of the most appropriate helmets for snowboarding and skiing beginners.
Hybrid and In-Mold: Many mid-range and high-end helmets make use of hybrid in-mold and in-mold technologies. In-mold helmets are made by integrating an EPS liner into a thin shell (usually polycarbonate). These two elements are molded together right from the start of the production process. The end result is a helmet that’s light in weight while serving as an impact absorbing shield. These helmets also tend to have great ventilation systems. The higher the price point, the better the ventilation system.
However, unlike the ABS models, in-mold style helmets tend to lose out on durability. They aren’t tough and can’t hold out when it comes to offering protection for cosmetic damages like dents and dings. This is why hybrid-style helmets are the more preferred option. Helmets made via the hybrid in-mold technology utilize a tough or hardshell layer across the top. This makes for enhanced durability and protection. However, they come in steep prices, which makes them out of reach for those who are looking to get a budget helmet. One great example of this model is the Smith Vantage MIPS Ski Helmet in our review.
Ventilation: Fixed or Adjustable?
Another important factor to consider when choosing the ideal ski helmet is ventilation. On an average ski day, there’s a good chance you’ll need to control the ventilation of your helmet to accommodate your warmth and coolness. For instance, if you’re on a sidecountry hike, you’ll want to keep things heated up. But if you’re skiing down a windy lift ride, you’ll want to create a cooler atmosphere in your helmet. Having random cutouts in your helmet won’t provide you with the perfect ventilation system. You can get a brain freeze from the winter cold air. So, choosing the right ventilation system is very important.
But, how do you choose the ideal ventilation system? The first thing you want to do is take a look at the total number of vents. While it’s true that not all vents are quite efficient, the number of vents on a helmet can help you determine how efficient the ventilation process will be. Usually, the more vents a helmet has, the higher the price. For instance, the Smith Vantage MIPS Ski Helmet has 21 vents and its more expensive than the Wildhorn Drift Snowboard and Ski Helmet, which has just 13 vents.
Another ventilation element to consider is adjustability and design. While there are many helmets with fixed vents, there are also many different models with adjustable vents. Adjustable vents allow you to control the amount of cool air and hot air that passes through and stays in your helmet. The design of the vents also matters. An effective design will direct air through the front openings and take out the heat through the openings at the back and top of the helmet. Most budget helmets come with fixed vents and a passive system that isn’t really effective in cooling or reducing heat. Mid-range to high-end models, on the other hand, usually come with adjustable vents and effective ventilation design.
The liners embedded in ski helmets are basically for warmth and comfort. Even with the ideal design, protection technology, and ventilation systems, there’s no point in buying a gear that won’t be comfortable for the user. That is why you should ensure that your helmet comes with a quality liner. The liner of a helmet is one element that can reveal the difference between a high-end helmet and a basic piece of gear. It’s even more noticeable when you wear the helmet for a long period.
The paddings used to line the interior of helmets like the Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet in our review are not only comfortable but supportive too. Liners used on budget helmets may seem comfortable at first. But after a while, you start to notice how uncomfortable they are. High-end models like the Smith Vantage in our review, on the other hand, have squishy and comfy liners that provide warmth and coziness.
Additionally, many budget options don’t come with layered plastic fit systems. Instead, the fit system remains undisguised, which will either make you wear it loose or provide you with an uncomfortable experience that’s bound to leave an indent on your forehead. Liners are more than just comfort providers. They also act as insulators, providing the wearer with warmth on cold nights. Some ski helmets come with detachable liners that allow you to customize the amount of warmth or heat you want.
This is another important factor to consider when choosing the ideal headgear for skiing. You need to ensure that your helmet and goggle are compatible before making the final buying decision. If they aren’t compatible, you are bound to have an uncomfortable skiing experience. A bad goggle-helmet system can either be too tight, which results in the helmet being pushed up and the goggle pushed down your nose, or it’s too open, which exposes your forehead to cold air.
The easiest way to overcome this issue is by sticking with the same brand. If you’re using a goggle made by Smith Vantage, then it’s ideal that you get helmets made by the same brand. The same thing goes for brands like POC and Giro. However, it’s important to note that there are helmets that are compatible with a wide range of goggles.
Weight and Bulk
Ski helmets come in different weights, shapes, and sizes. Their weight is usually dependent on their construction type. For instance, ABS ski helmets are bound to be heavier than hybrid and in-mold style helmets. However, the weight difference is usually very close. Average or medium-sized helmets made out of ABS material weigh up to 20 ounces, hybrid is usually between 17 to 19 ounces and in-mold sticks to the 14-16 ounces range.
Additionally, you can wear hybrid and in-mold helmets for longer duration without having a weighty feeling on your head. If you plan to have a long afternoon, they are the ideal type of headgear to wear. Also if your helmet is lined up with good padding and fits snugly on your head, you may not notice how weighty it really is. That’s one of the reasons the Smith Vantage in our review stands out. While it isn’t the lightest helmet on the market, it is highly comfortable and offers the right fit; you won’t even remember that it’s on your head.
Ski Helmet Features
There are simple features you need to consider in your ski headgear. Some of them include:
Goggle Retainer Clips: This may seem like a simple feature, but it’s one that you’re going to appreciate. Simply put, goggle retainer clips are clips at the back of your helmet where you can slide your goggle straps through. The main benefit of this feature is to reduce the risk of you losing your ski goggles just in case you crash or it slips off while you’re skiing.
There are some helmets with internal goggle retainer clips. Although this doesn’t offer much of a difference, some users prefer low-profile ski helmets that help you hide your goggle straps. However, some users claim that ski helmets with internal routing help hold the goggle straps better especially when you crash hard.
Audio Compatibility: There are many ski helmets that offer some kind of audio compatibility. For instance, Giro and Smith helmets go hand in hand with Outdoor Tech’s Chip audio systems. Ski helmets made by these two brands usually come with earcups that are designed with built-in pockets. These pockets can accommodate speakers but do not come with speakers.
There are audio helmets that come with speakers integrated into them. These helmets have a cable attached to their speakers so you can easily plug them into a mobile device or an mp3 player. If you’ll be buying these types of helmets, you’ll need to spend more out of your pocket to get a headgear with high-quality speakers and reliable hardware. Basic options will make you dislike audio helmets as they won’t sound good and are liable to fail early on.
Additionally, if you’ll be opting for an audio ski headgear, ensure that you get one with easy to control volume or noise-canceling features. It is advisable to keep the volume to a minimum or activate noise-canceling when you’re skiing. This helps improve your own safety. While you may not enjoy your sound as much as you want to, you’ll be able to hear other skiers or people close by when they are talking to you or when an event or emergency is happening around you.
Action Camera Mounts: Two major sports that have contributed to the growth of action cameras are snowboarding and skiing. You’re most likely going to record your fun, ski tricks, and runs while sliding down the mountain slope. Many action cameras are designed with adhesive mounts that help clips the camera to the front of your headgear. In fact, there are helmets that are GoPro compatible, ensuring that you’re able to turn the camera on/off without taking it off.
Fit and Sizing: The fit and size of your ski headgear are directly related to your safety. So, it’s highly recommended that you do not do guesswork when it comes to these two. If you are unsure about your head size, you can simply measure the circumference of your head before buying your headgear online. To do this, you’ll need a soft-sided string or measuring tape. You’ll wrap either of these around your head and get down the measurement in centimeters. The right way of doing this is to wrap the tape or spring an inch above your eyebrows or ears.
Once you’ve done that, you can go on ahead to make your purchase. Simply get the headgear that’s close to what your head measurement is. This way, you’ll be able to get the right fit for you. Additionally, since helmets come in different shapes, just like our heads, you may want to be a little more considerate when choosing one. For instance, the Smith Vantage models are known to fit people with a round head profile, while the Giro Range models accommodate those with a narrower profile better.
Unfortunately, there’s no brand that makes a one-size-fits-all headgear yet. Therefore, it’s ideal to try on your headgear before making a purchase. If you happen to notice a brand claiming to produce ski headgears that fits every head type, we recommend that you stay off brands like that. Even if your head circumference is close to what they are offering, it’s advisable to steer clear of them. This is because products with that kind of adjustability tend to not end well.
What Is MIPS In Ski Helmets?
MIPS simply stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. The headgears in our review come with some type of protection system. They are all built to keep you safe and they come with a non-motorized safety certification for snow sports from ASTM International, a US-based organization. Despite the fact that they are constructed in different ways, they all follow a basic design that integrates an inner foam liner with the hardshell exterior in order to absorb impact. Their main task is to ensure that you, the skier, remain safer.
Many technologies have been created to ensure that snowboarders and skiers are safe. But none of them have been more adopted or used like the MIPS technology. MIPS liners are designed to reduce angle impact on the brain. The liners are built in such a way that they move independently inside the headgear. The design is quite simple; a thin plastic layer connected to the headgear via small tabs.
The reason why MIPS liners have become quite popular, besides the fact that they are effective, is that they don’t compromise the profile or comfort of the headgear. That is why you’ll see high-end to medium-range headgears using MIPS liners. While there’s no specific research-based report on how effective the MIPS technology is, all indications point to the fact that it’s meant to protect your head in the safest way possible.
Are Giro Ski Helmets Good?
Giro headgears are considered to be some of the most effective head protection for skiers. They come in different models, sizes, and shapes. The brand is known for making the perfect venting system, protection technology, custom fit and comfort, as well as overall design. A good example of their product is the Giro Ledge Snow Helmet in our review.
The best ski helmet should be able to offer you the right fit system as well as efficient head protection. It should also be lightweight and feature the perfect ventilation system amongst other things. We’ve reviewed ten of the best ski helmets on the market above.
You can simply choose the one that matches your budget and preference and be rest assured you’ll get nothing but ideal protection, comfort, warmth, and fit. However, if you happen not to like any of the products in our review, our guide can still be helpful. With the information embedded in our guide, you stand a high chance of getting the ideal ski helmet for you.