The 9 Best Ski Helmets of 2023

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TripSavvy's Pick

Giro’s Envi/Grid MIPS is light enough that I forgot I was wearing it, which is impressive considering all its bells and whistles. The socket design shell is innovative and effective, paired with MIPS, audio-compatible ear pads, an anti-stink liner, and a glove-friendly fit system. For a well-ventilated pick that will save you a few bucks, go for the Pret Epic X.

There are many reasons to wear a helmet when you’re skiing. The obvious one is if you hit your head on the snow, a tree, a snow gun, or something else, there’s a much better chance you’ll survive without injury wearing a helmet. But a helmet can also make a day on the slopes much more comfortable by keeping you warm.

Helmets are the sum of their parts—shell, body, fit system, liner, buckles, and straps, and not all helmets are created equally. Our experts recommend buying a helmet with MIPS or a brand’s proprietary equivalent. MIPS, or maximum impact protection, is a layer inside the helmet that lets your head continue to move slightly after impact, even if the shell of your helmet stops.

Like tunes when you ski or ride? Opt for a helmet that has pockets for speakers in the ear flaps. Try before you buy if you can. Like shoe brands, helmet brands each have a slightly different shape and fit. And the best helmet is the one that feels so good you forget you have it on. To compile this list, we researched and evaluated helmets based on their size, google compatibility, safety features, and ventilation.

Best Overall

Giro Envi MIPS/Grid MIPS

Giro Envi MIPS/Grid MIPS

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Plush interior dries fast and feels warm

  • User controlled venting

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as some helmets

Giro’s Envi MIPS looks like a lot of other great ski helmets. But it’s hiding technology that could save you in a crash. The helmet is built on a ball and socket concept co-designed with MIPS. Not only does the helmet have a liner that moves incrementally to absorb rotation forces that can cause brain injury in a crash, but the helmet crown and base rotate against each other, further reducing those damaging forces. After an entire season in this helmet, I can confirm it’s deliciously comfortable and super warm. I wore the Envi MIPS in extreme winter weather and was totally comfortable.

Giro’s “stack ventilation” exhausts warm air from the center top vent of the goggle, where it tends to gather, so my goggles stayed clear. Giro says to wear this helmet with Giro goggles for best results. But I had great results wearing goggles from a variety of companies with this helmet. The helmet has constant moisture-clearing airflow. And on days when I was warm, I could also slide the low-profile control button on the helmet shell to open vents manually. The dial-controlled fit system was easy to operate even with gloves on. The helmet has 6 centimeters of adjustability. 

Price at time of publication: $270

Size: S to L | Vents: 16 | Weight: 14.1 ounces | Materials: EPS

Runner-Up, Best Overall

Atomic Four Amid Pro Helmet

Atomic Four Amid Pro Helmet

Atomic

What We Like
  • Light

  • With body heat it custom molds to your head

What We Don't Like
  • No manual venting option

Designed for Atomic's Freeski team, the urban-inspired, low-profile Four Amid Pro thermo-molds to your head as you wear it, making it the most comfortable helmet available. The 360-degree fit system allowed me to adjust the helmet's position on my head and how snugly the helmet fits. It's also super safe. The Four Amid Pro uses Atomic's proprietary Multi-Directional Impact Deflector (AMID)—a dual-density foam impact absorption system, and Holo Core—an egg-carton-like layer that crumples on impact for maximum shock absorption.

The Holo Core layer gives the helmet an additional level of structural integrity, allowing Atomic to build in more vents and bigger vents to channel heat away from the head. Hybrid In-Mold Construction keeps the helmet light and safe. ABS on the top of the head serves up extra impact protection, and in-mold construction below is light. When I removed the liner, I had space to wear a beanie and goggles underneath. The Merino liner is also removable for washing.

A Recco reflector inside the helmet can help emergency personnel locate you in case of a rescue. Crank some tunes when cruising in this helmet with the audio-compatible ear pads. Bonus: It's one of the easiest to get clipped and unclipped thanks to the one-hand operable magnetic Fidlock buckle.

Price at time of publication: $210

Size: S to L | Vents: N/A | Weight: 13.4 ounces | Materials: ABS

Best Value

Pret Epic X Helmet

Pret Epic X Helmet

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Audio compatible

  • Natural odor controlling liner

What We Don't Like
  • Helmet vents are always open making this helmet cooler than most

With an impressive list of fantastic features for the price, including a MIPS liner, audio compatibility, and a warm and naturally odor-fighting fleece and wool liner, Pret’s Epic X is an incredible value. The helmet uses an in-mold shell with overlapping polycarbonate segments that help the helmet resist daily dings while also giving full protection paired with the EPS underneath, which is optimized by zone.

A dial-controlled fit system drew the helmet harness in around my head and released it. I sometimes removed the detachable ear covers for spring skiing to keep me cool. The helmet’s venting system is simple but effective. The vents are always open, which makes this helmet feel cooler than most. The helmet claims seamless goggle integration with any brand. 

Size: S to XL | Vents: Fixed Venting | Weight: N/A | Materials: EPS, Polycarbonate

Most Durable

Anon Windham Wavecel Snow Helmet

Anon Windham Wavecel Snow Helmet

REI

What We Like
  • Hardshell resists dings and damage

  • Wavecel is one of the safest constructions available

What We Don't Like
  • Runs small

  • Heavier than some other helmets

Drop your helmet in the parking lot or on your tile floor at home, and you could damage it. Anon’s Windham WaveCel is a durable hardshell that can take more use and abuse than most other helmets. It’s also one of the safest helmets available, thanks to the WaveCel impact protection inside. Look inside the helmet, and you’ll see a layer of green plastic formed into cells that make a wave pattern. It’s a collapsible structure that will flex, crumple, and glide if you hit your head, reducing brain-damaging rotational forces and direct impacts.

A Boa-controlled helmet harness snugs this helmet to your head. The ultra-plush, quick-dry liner and ear pads are made from warm Polartec Power Grid materials. Four fixed vents at the crown of the head, two forehead air intakes, and a rear exhaust port draws air through the helmet to vent moisture and help keep my goggles from fogging without giving me a brain freeze. This helmet is supposed to fit snugly, but I had to size up. It’s also slightly heavier than most other helmets we tested. The magnetic Fidlock buckle made it quick and easy to get the helmet on and off, even wearing gloves. 

Price at time of publication: $190

Size: S to XL | Vents: 6 | Weight: 1 pound, 7.1 ounces | Materials: ABS

Best for Racing

Bollé Ryft MIPS Hybrid Snow Helmet

Bollé Ryft MIPS Hybrid Snow Helmet

Amazon

What We Like
  • Great comfort and warmth at the ears

  • Great ventilation

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you struggle with wearing a snowsports helmet because you feel like it's crushing your ears, Bolle's Ryft will likely fit you. The ear flaps are outlined with a plush microfiber-covered foam with an exaggerated cutout in the middle that pressed on ears less than other helmets and was still warm. The Ryft is also one of the best-vented helmets, with both active and passive ventilation. A sliding tab on the crown of the helmet let me open and close five front of the helmet vents. The underside of the brim is lined with additional venting ports that sucked excess heat and moisture out of my goggles. Bolle's mesh and microfiber liner was one of the easiest to remove for washing. The mesh kept hair from getting caught in the rotational forces reducing MIPS liner. The hybrid shell helmet micro-adjusts with a Boa dial at the nape of the neck. All of the plush features come with one drawback: It's one of the heaviest helmets in this roundup.

Price at time of publication: $300

Size: S to L | Vents: N/A | Weight: 1 pound, 8.3 ounces | Materials: Hybrid shell

Best for Kids

Smith Survey MIPS Helmet

Smith Survey MIPS Helmet

Smith

What We Like
  • Never lose your goggles again

  • Available for kids, too

What We Don't Like
  • Not everyone loves the look

  • Visor is harder to protect than goggles when helmet is on a pack

Goggles can be hard to keep track of. Mine sometimes pop off my helmet and hang off the helmet, making me look like a rookie. I sometimes see goggles that have been dropped from the lift. Smith's Survey helmet integrates goggles and helmet, so there are fewer things to keep track of. The Survey has a ChromaPop visor that clips to the helmet. The visor eliminates goggle-dropping drama and gives you a wider field of vision while enhancing color and contrast to improve your ability to see the terrain clearly. This visor will be excellent news for prescription glasses wearers' parents.

They're over-the-glass compatible. And the helmet/visor combo comes in kids' sizes, too. Replacement lenses are available so you can swap out the visor based on conditions, including a clear visor for night riding. The in-mold construction helmet has a layer of honeycomb-shaped Koroyd, crumple-zone cylinders that crush uniformly on impact, paired with MIPS Brain Protection System, which team up to make this helmet ultrasafe, impact-absorbing, and able to reduce the rotational forces from angled impacts to the head.

Fourteen vents let you control your in-helmet climate while keeping your visor fog-free. The removable ear pads are Aleck audio system compatible. The Survey Jr. for kids allows your kids to grow into their helmet with a dual-stage liner system that gives this helmet the largest size range available.

Price at time of publication: $260 in black

Size: S to L | Vents: 14 | Weight: 1 pound, 9 ounces | Materials: Polycarbonate, EPS

Best for Park and Pipe

POC Fornix MIPS

POC Fornix MIPS

REI

What We Like
  • Loads of color

  • Youthful styling

What We Don't Like
  • Not audio compatible

For 2021, POC's Fornix helmet, which was first introduced in 2012, has been updated to be safer, lighter, better ventilated, and easier to personalize. The skate park-styled helmet has an extended polycarbonate shell with aramid reinforcements to enhance its structural stability and to protect against punctures by a tree branch or other sharp object in the unfortunate event of an impact. The shell covers the EPS liner underneath, protecting it from damage. Passive ventilation channels under the helmet's brim are redesigned to vent POC and other goggles so that they stay even more reliably fog-free. The Fornix let me manually adjust the helmet ventilation for my own comfort. It also gave me full control over fit with the dial-controlled harness, which has a lot of adjustability. A MIPS liner absorbs rotational impact forces in a crash. And new fixed goggle clips kept me from losing my eye protection when I bumped my goggles, which were perched on the front of my helmet, and they sprang off. 

Price at time of publication: $180

Size: XS/S-XL/XXL | Vents: 6 | Weight: 14.8 ounces | Materials: ABS, EPS

Best for Ski Mountaineers

Sweet Protection Ascender MIPS

Sweet Protection Ascender MIPS

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Easy to pack

  • Styled for skiing and mountaineering

What We Don't Like
  • No ear protection/warmth

  • Less coverage than most other helmets

Low volume and high, Sweet Protection's Ascender MIPS looks a lot more like a climbing helmet than a ski helmet with a webbing harness and without ear pads. But it's triple-certified for both ski touring and mountaineering. The helmet uses Sweet Protection's hybrid variable elasticity shell with dual-density EPS inside. The shell is a combination of an in-mold helmet and a hardshell helmet, with the hard shells reinforcing the circumference to spread the load in the case of an impact while the in-molded areas deform to absorb energy in a crash.

Integrated headlamp clips were handy when one tester was out a little longer than he planned, and the sun had set before he got back to his car. If you feel like your ski helmet is too hot, this one's for you. Because it's ear pad-free with 108 puncture-proof vents, it's a lot cooler than other helmets and designed to be worn with a beanie or not. Thanks to its compact design, it also packs inside a backpack more easily. 

Price at time of publication: $220

Size: S/M, M-L, L/XL | Vents: 108 | Weight: 13.4 ounces | Materials: Hybrid shell, EPS

Best for Women

Smith Vida MIPS Helmet

Smith Vida MIPS Helmet

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Fuzzy liner

  • Extra-warm ear pads

What We Don't Like
  • Chin strap clip wasn't glove friendly

A helmet with broad appeal, Smith’s Vida combines superior safety features with a luxurious liner, a best-in-class harness system, and user-controllable venting that’s glove-friendly. Smith uses its signature Koroyd construction in the Vida. Koroyd is a layer of beehive-shaped cells that crush on impact absorbing energy to lessen the impact on your head if you crash. That pairs with a MIPS liner to cover all the bases.

The helmet is frontcountry and backcountry friendly—light, well-vented, and comfortable, with an antibacterial liner that’s fuzzy and warm. The exterior shell and EPS foam are in-molded to fuse them together for maximum durability and solid protection of the more fragile EPS underlayer. The fit harness, which snugs the helmet 270 degrees, adjusts with a glove-friendly dial. That’s why this helmet and the men’s Altus, fit more skiers and riders than any other we tested.

Moisture-sucking vents under the brim cleared goggles of fog, both Smith branded and others. Remove the earpads for spring skiing. Or keep them in and stream your favorite playlists—they’re audio-compatible. Men—don’t be afraid to buy this lid. The only differences between the Vida and Altus are that women get a fuzzy liner and warmer ear pads, and there are plenty of cool colors to choose from. 

Price at time of publication: $190

Size: S/M, M-L, L/XL | Vents: 12 | Weight: 1 pound | Materials: Polycarbonate

What to Look for in Skiing Helmets

Size

To best protect you, a helmet needs to fit right. To measure your head, wrap a soft tape with centimeter markings around your head an inch above your eyebrows and ears. If you don’t have a soft tape measure, use a piece of string and then measure the string. Every helmet manufacturer has a size chart on its website. Look at the brand’s chart to figure out where your head fits. Always try one on before you buy if you can. Every helmet has a slightly different fit, and not all work with every head. A well-fit helmet should be snug without being painful. 

Goggle Compatibility

Helmets draw moisture out of goggles to keep them from fogging. The most reliable helmet/goggle combo is when both are from the same manufacturer. That said, most helmets and goggles will mate fine. But try before you buy to ensure there’s no awkward and chilly gap between the two. 

Safety and Construction Type

Most ski helmets are designed to take a single significant impact. Some hardshell helmets are more day-to-day durable, meaning they’ll show fewer dings from getting banged around in your ski bag or accidentally dropped. But after any notable accident, all helmets should be replaced. Mike Donohue of Outdoor Gear Exchange and chief product officer at POC Sports Oscar Huss highly recommend buying a helmet with MIPS or a brand’s proprietary equivalent. MIPS, which stands for maximum impact protection, is a layer inside the helmet that lets your head continue to move slightly after impact, even if the shell of your helmet stops. That millisecond of extra movement can reduce the impact of rotational forces on your brain so significantly that it can save you from permanent brain damage or worse.

“You’re buying a helmet for protection, so you might as well get one that offers protection against rotational forces,” said Donohue. “Over the past several years, it’s become more and more apparent how detrimental concussions are, even ones that were previously considered no big deal. Having the safest helmet is the cheapest and most effective insurance policy you can buy.”

Ventilation

It used to be that you’d count a helmet’s vent holes to assess how much ventilation it had. More and more companies are now using passive venting, where air flows through ports in the front, picks up moisture from goggles and from inside the helmet, and then exhausts that moisture out the back. Some helmets still use vents that you open and close yourself. If you tend to get hot and sweaty easily, go with a helmet with manual vents. As a general rule, the more expensive a helmet is, the more advanced the venting. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do I need a ski helmet?

    Yes. Ski helmets are like seat belts—you should always have one on. It’s the cheapest insurance policy and the most important piece of on-snow safety equipment.

    “Advances in science and research consistently reveal the brain’s awe-inspiring complexity and role in shaping who we are,” says Huss. “It is central to our well-being, makes us unique, drives us, but is also delicate, fragile, and needs protecting. It hurts when you break a bone, but in most cases, it will heal. Damage the brain and the outcome is altogether less certain.” 

  • How do I know when to get a new ski helmet?

    Always replace your ski helmet after any significant impact. Most ski helmets are designed to protect you in a single crash. If you’re able, replace your ski helmet after a season of solid use. There is no way to tell when a ski helmet has reached the end of its useful life by looking at it. But once you see dings and dents in the shell, it’s time to get a new one. 

  • Can I rent a ski helmet?

    Many resort rental shops rent ski helmets. And it’s also possible to buy a very good helmet for less than the cost of a lift ticket. 

  • How do I clean and care for my helmet?

    Many helmets have removable liners that can be washed if they start to get smelly. Wash your helmet liner by hand in dish soap or laundry detergent for delicate fabrics, and lay it flat to dry on a towel. Keep your helmet out of the direct sun in the back of your car and out of hot environments. Store your helmet in a cool, dry place in the microfiber helmet bag it came with or in a clean cloth bag. Do your best not to.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Vermonter Berne Broudy skis most winter days—usually close to 100 days a year. The helmets in this review were tested on the slopes and in the sidecountry and backcountry in Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Wyoming. 

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