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Whether you’re a skiing newbie or a seasoned slope veteran, wearing a ski helmet is a no-brainer. They protect the most vulnerable part of your body from serious injury - and these days, technology has made most styles so comfortable and lightweight that you almost won’t notice they’re there. Features to look out for include MIPS (an innovative protection system that defends your brain against angled impacts); adjustable ventilation and/or a customizable fit. We've rounded up the best ski helmets and each has their own particular strengths.
Best Overall: Smith Vantage Snow Sports Helmet
The Smith Vantage Snow Sports Helmet is a relatively pricey option, but its superior comfort, fit and functionality make it well worth the investment. It features hybrid in-mold construction, with a hard plastic exterior shell and a soft Aerocore™ liner designed to absorb impact in case of a crash. It’s ASTM F2040 and CE EN1077 safety-certified and provides full coverage protection. Select colors also give you the option of an additional MIPS liner to protect from angled impacts.
Safety aside, this is one of the most comfortable, lightweight helmets on the market. Secure the adjustable buckled chinstrap, then turn the BOA dial system to customize the fit. Reviewers especially love the helmet’s unparalleled ventilation. With 21 vents controlled by two separate sliders, you can manage airflow to stay warm or cool down (depending on the weather). Compatible with a wide range of goggle styles, the helmet also features an ultra-light goggle lock and cozy Snapfit SL2 ear pads. Choose from a full range of sizes and colors, including matte black, white, fuchsia magenta and Pacific.
Best Budget: Smith Holt Unisex Snow Sports Helmet
One of the best options on the market for under $100, the Smith Holt Sports Helmet is made from injection-molded ABS for excellent protection and durability. Its skate-style look also provides a better aesthetic than most budget options, while 14 fixed vents help to ensure comfort. The Dual Regulator ventilation system is a particular highlight, exhausting heat from the back of the helmet while maintaining a sealed front to protect you from brain freeze.
The included convertible pad kit lets you customize your helmet for hot or cold weather. You can even use it for skateboarding out of season, giving it a duality that makes the price-tag even more reasonable. Colors range from olive to white or charcoal, while the helmet is both ASTM F2040- and CE EN1077-certified.
Best with MIPS: Giro Ledge MIPS Snow Helmet
With its minimalist skate-style design, the CE EN1077 compliant Giro Ledge MIPS Snow Helmet is designed to look good on the slopes. It stands out for its Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), which reduces rotational forces to the brain in the event of an angled impact. The system works with the help of a Low Friction Layer located between the ABS shell and the EPS foam liner. This layer allows the helmet to slide relative to your head.
The Auto Loc 2 Fit System lets you adjust the fit without removing the helmet, while stack ventilation complete with eight fixed vents keeps you cool and prevents your goggles from fogging up. The helmet features a removable goggle retainer and ear pads and is seamlessly compatible with all Giro goggles and audio systems - letting you enjoy your favorite playlist on the mountain. The matte color options cater to all tastes, ranging from conservative black to flashy glowing red.
Best Ventilation: Giro Seam Snow Helmet
Available in a range of matte colors (including pewter, blue and bright green), the Giro Seam Snow Helmet features state-of-the-art in-mold construction. It’s a favorite with reviewers because of its Thermostat Control Adjustable Venting system, which allows you to fine-tune your airflow using a low-profile control button on the outside of the helmet. Suitable for a range of weather conditions, it’s a versatile choice for exploring different ski locations.
On particularly warm days, the X-Static anti-microbial padding helps to regulate heat and reduce odor, so your helmet stays fresh for longer. The Giro Seam’s stack vent is aligned with the center vent of your goggles to prevent fogging for perfect goggle/helmet integration. Other highlights include the snug comfort made possible by the dial fit system; and the fact that the helmet is ASTM F2040 and CE EN1077 compliant.
Most Adjustable: Oakley Mod5 Factory Pilot Helmet
The Oakley Mod5 Factory Pilot Helmet boasts a hybrid shell construction with ABS panels for extra protection. It’s ASTM F2050 and CE EN1077-certified and comes in a range of unique colors. It’s best known, however, for its adjustability. The BOA system allows for a custom fit at the turn of a dial, while the magnetic buckle closure is an innovative extra.
It’s also the most universally compatible option in terms of goggle integration. The Modular Brim System includes two removable brims (one large, one small) so that you can tailor the fit to suit your face shape and goggle style. Better still, an integrated venting system channels hot air from your goggles through the brim to prevent fogging. A removable liner, ear pads and goggle strap retainer all add to this helmet’s versatility.
Best for Kids: Smith Junior Zoom Helmet
The Smith Junior Zoom Helmet comes in a range of snazzy colors and designs intended to appeal to younger tastes (making the task of getting your child to wear their helmet a little less of a struggle). Think pink with popsicles or red with firetrucks. The in-mold construction weighs just 11.5 ounces, while the adjustable dial fit expands to accommodate rapidly growing heads. A furry tricot lining makes the helmet both warm and amazingly comfortable, while AirEvac 2 ventilation comes in handy on sunny days. Use the removable goggle lock to keep your child’s eye protection in place.
Best Soft Shell: Giro Discord Snow Helmet
Specifically designed for freestyle and backcountry riders, the Giro Discord Snow Helmet uses groundbreaking soft shell construction to combine safety with unparalleled lightness. Underneath the flexible exterior shell, a dual density Vinyl Nitrile liner absorbs impact while remaining infinitely comfortable. Although soft shell helmets are generally intended for less intense impacts, they can also withstand more of them.
Adjustable venting lets you control airflow to suit the ambient temperature; while the Auto Loc 2 Fit System makes it easy to adjust the helmet’s fit on the fly. Other worthwhile features include a removable goggle retainer and removable ear pads (the latter being compatible with all Giro audio systems). The helmet is CE EN1077-certified. Opt for standard black or make a statement with matte color options, including bright coral, magenta and lime.
Best with Audio: POC Fornix Communication Ski Helmet
Available in hydrogen white and bohrium red, the POC Fornix Communication Ski Helmet is the best choice for flawless audio on the slopes. It features Beats by Dr. Dre headphones built into the neck roll, with a cord that connects to most smartphones and MP3 players. You can use the remote control to skip songs, answer calls and adjust volume, all without removing the helmet. Best of all, being able to rock out in style doesn’t mean having to sacrifice on safety. The in-mold, aramid-reinforced construction is designed to disperse impact energy while remaining both comfortable and lightweight. Adjustable ventilation adds to the helmet’s overall appeal.