Smith Optics Vantage Snow Sports Ski Helmet
Oakley Mod5 Factory Pilot Headband Ski Helmet
Smith Optics Holt Snow Sports Ski Helmet
If you’re going skiing, you’re going to need a helmet. Back in the day, skiers were happy just wearing a woolly hat or a headband, but now you will really stand out if you’re not wearing a helmet. In fact, it’s an essential part of your snow sports equipment.
No matter how experienced you are on the slopes, you can make a mistake and hit your head, which could end in disaster. You can rent them from any decent ski rental shop, but you will end up with a low-quality helmet that has already been worn hundreds of times that season. So, even if you don’t have your own skis and boots, you should buy your own ski helmet. We’ve done the research and found 9 of the best ski helmets on the market.
The Best Ski Helmet
First up is one of the top ski helmets out there, the Smith Optics Vantage. The Vantage has been around for a few years and has gained a reputation as a great all-around helmet for both skiing and snowboarding. It’s super lightweight, which is important for skiers that care about their performance, and it fits great on any head shape due to the fact that the helmet wraps all the way around your head.
Smith has focused on improving the impact absorption by using a material called Koyroyd. That means that this helmet can absorb 30% more energy on impact than any foam or other materials. So, if you are unlucky enough to hit your head, you are much less likely to get knocked out or suffer from a concussion, which makes this one of the safest ski helmets.
Uses Koyroyd material
AirEvac 2 ventilation
Removable ultra-light goggle lock
Skullcandy audio systems available
- BrandSmith Optics
- ModelVantage Helmet
- Weight8.9 pounds
The Giro Nine has been around for more than a decade. It’s one of the most popular snow helmets available and is a staple of snow sports enthusiasts around the world. It’s an in-mold helmet which means it has an EPS liner on the inside of the helmet that absorbs the impact as well as a tough polycarbonate outer shell. This makes the helmet lighter and cooler than traditional helmets, perfect for those long days on the slopes.
MIPS stands for multi-directional impact protection system. That means that the helmet protects against angled impacts where the head could roll around. These sorts of impacts are common in snow sports, so this technology is something to look out for. It’s fully adjustable to fit any sized head and can be moved to make way for big goggles or sunglasses for skiing or a big collar on the back of your coat. Plus, it has lots of ventilation that can be opened or shut depending on the conditions.
In-form fit system
Compatible with Giro audio systems
- Weight2.4 pounds
If you’re looking for something towards the cheaper end of the ski helmet spectrum, the Zionor Lagopus is a great option. You get pretty much all the features and protection you would get from a more expensive lid, but without paying the premium price. Zionor is still a recognized brand in the skiing world. They’ve been around the block and have proved themselves as an innovative mid-range maker of ski gear.
The first thing to look at is always the protection. The Lagopus helmet combines ABS and EPS materials to provide double protection. Its reinforced construction means it will handle impact as well as any helmet in this price range. The helmet is easily adjustable to hug your head even if you have a ski mask on and the chin strap is sweat-absorbent, which is great for those hot days up on the mountain or a big ski resort. The breathable lining is perfect for adapting to the weather, keeping you warm when you need to be and letting air in when the sun is shining.
ABS & EPS material protection
Adjustable, sweat-absorbent straps
Smith is one of the original ski brands. Dr. Bob Smith invented the first sealed thermal lens goggles in 1965 because he wanted to get in a few more powder runs when the weather wasn’t great. If it wasn’t for his love of skiing, we might still be skiing in sunglasses and having to wait for good weather. The company has been making high-quality ski gear for over 50 years. Smith helmets are some of the top-rated ski helmets out there and they make everything from beginners to professional lids. So, no matter the price, you know you are buying quality.
The Smith Optics Holt is the entry-level helmet and with prices starting at $21.99, we think it’s the best value helmet on this list. For the large sizes you are looking at around $70, but you still get a lot of style and protection for your money. It’s a great looking helmet that comes in a range of colors. It has a classic style that will suit any skier. Plus, it has a lot of the technology of more expensive helmets.
Bombshell construction ABS shell
Made for Smith goggles
Skullcandy Audio System optional
- BrandSmith Optics
- ModelHolt Helmet
- Weight2.35 pounds
You might not have heard of Demon helmets before, but that doesn’t mean this is still a strong contender to be one of the top ski helmets on this list. Having said that, it doesn’t have some of the features that we’ve seen in other helmets. For example, it isn’t really adjustable, so you need to make sure it fits your head well. It also doesn’t have adjustable ventilation, which could become a problem if you are skiing in all sorts of weather.
However, it makes up for that with its awesome Brainteaser audio system. Built into the earbuds, this high-quality system lets you listen to your tunes without the need for annoying headphones. Apart from that, it’s a nice-looking helmet that comes in a range of colors and it has all the necessary protection with its ABS outer-shell and EPS lining.
Brainteaser Audio built-in
ABS outer shell
- BrandDemon United
- Weight2 pounds
Oakley is the best when it comes to snow helmets. They have been dominating the snow sports markets for years with their constant innovation and high-quality products. You can’t really get cheap or low-quality Oakley gear, so if you are looking for the best of the best, keep reading.
The Oakley Mod5 Helmet is, without question, one of the best ski race helmets money can buy and it’s a big innovation in helmet design. The Mod part of the name stands for Modular Brim System. That means that it has two different size options for the brim of the helmet, which is something that no other helmet does. That means it can truly fit any sized head and match up perfectly with your goggles. On top of that, this black ski helmet has removable ear pads, which are cupped for extra comfort) and can fit your headphones straight in without compromising on comfort. The BOA fit system is Oakley’s way of making sure you can tighten the helmet to make it extra snug around your head.
Modular brim system
Removable, cupped ear pads
BOA fit system
- Weight2.92 pounds
The Giro Range MIPS is another top range ski helmet for men. It’s similar in price and quality to the Oakley Mod5 Helmet, so choosing between them is really just down to personal preference. Like the Mod5, it features MIPS technology to stop your head from rolling in a crash. It also has an advanced lining and outer shell that can protect your head as well as any helmet on this list.
The main difference is the way it looks. The Giro Range is a really cool looking lid. It comes in a huge range of matt colors, that suit the subtler ski outfits that you see on the slopes now. The chin strap also comes in different colors, making this one of the most versatile bits of ski gear you can get. It’s got fully adjustable vents and a tightening system that creates a really snug fit. Plus, it features anti-bacterial and anti-odor properties to keep it clean and smelling fresh. On the top of the helmet there’s a POV camera mount, so you can easily attach your GoPro. This is easily one of the best men’s ski helmets out there. Love this product? Check out our review of the best ski jackets for our top picks.
Huge range of colors
Adjustable vents and straps
POV camera mount
- Weight2.4 pounds
The POC Receptor Bug Ski Helmet is one of the only helmets out there that provides injection molding with ventilation. That means you get an extra thick ABS shell with a solid ventilation system that makes this a perfect all-weather ski helmet. It’s a lot heavier than most the helmets on this list, but that’s what you can expect with an injection-molded helmet.
It’s more rounded than some of the more streamlined helmets, but that shouldn’t slow you down unless you’re a serious downhill skier. Like the Oakley lids, the earbuds are removable, but they aren’t as comfortable as Oakley’s cupped design. You can also customize this helmet with Beats by Dre headphones which offer some of the best quality sounds. This is definitely one of the top injection-molded helmets available, so if you are into that style, it’s perfect. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the coolest ski gloves.
Thick injection-molded ABS shell
Compatible with Beats by Dre
- Weight1.5 pounds
The last helmet on this list is an affordable option from Traverse. At only $39.99, it looks like a helmet that should cost 10X that amount. It is designed for versatility and safety. That’s why the earbuds can be removed to make it a perfect bike or skateboard helmet for the summer months. For winter, just lock the earbuds back on and you are ready to hit the piste in style.
The Traverse Sports Dirus has a thick ABS exterior and a soft EPS interior to give your head plenty of protection. The vents aren’t adjustable, but they work well enough without the need to change their positions. Plus, it has an adjustable chin strap to make sure it is secure on your head. It’s not the most advanced or impressive helmet on this list, but for the price, it’s one of the best men’s ski helmets out there. It also makes a great gift for skiers in your life.
ABS exterior EPS interior
Ski Helmet Buying Guide and FAQs
How We Chose Our Selection of Ski Helmets
Brand – We don’t just look for the top brands in helmets, but it’s always an important consideration in ski gear. The trusted brands have been making ski gear for years and are constantly improving their equipment. For example, if you buy an Oakley helmet, you know it is going to be really high-quality. Some of the branded helmets are built to work alongside goggles made by the same company. That way, they can line up the ventilation systems to work together and ensure that the goggles don’t steam up. Some of the helmets on this list of from lesser known brands. When that is the case, we make sure that the technology and safety are up to scratch.
Quality – This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you buy a low-quality helmet, you can’t trust the safety features and that is the job of your helmet. You have to be confident that the materials and technology can withstand the impact, or you could be putting your life at risk. Secondly, you want your helmet to last. Snow sports are already an expensive past time, so you don’t want to have to replace your gear every year. The helmets on this list will last you for years if you treat them right.
Safety – Helmets aren’t there to make you look good. They are there to protect your head. Snow sports can be really dangerous, so safety is the most important factor when you are buying a helmet. We look out for tried and tested safety technology like ABS shells and EPS linings. For more advanced ski helmets, we look out for MIPS technology, protects your head against rolling in your helmet. There are certain safety regulations that helmets have to pass, which we will explain more about below.
Reviews – You can’t really know how good a helmet is going to be just by reading the product description. That’s why we scour the internet for the customer and expert reviews, to make sure these helmets work for the people that buy them. All of the helmets listed above have positive reviews. This is a good indicator that there are quality products. We don’t blindly trust reviews, but they are an important part of our decision-making process.
Price – We already talked about how expensive snow sports are. So, the price is an important consideration. We have selected the best helmets from different price ranges. Of course, the more expensive helmets will have more safety and comfort features, but the cheaper ones are still great helmets that will protect your head when it counts.
Features To Look For In Ski Helmets
Ventilation – If you’ve never been skiing before, you might think it is always freezing cold and you’ll need to layer up! But that’s not always the case. The weather on the mountain changes all the time and you can get really hot if you wear too much gear. Overheating can be just as dangerous as being too cold. Therefore, you need ventilation in your helmet. Some of the more advanced helmets have adjustable vents that can be modified to suit the temperature. This versatility is really important for advanced skiers. The cheaper helmets still have ventilation, but they usually only have one setting.
Liners – Liners are important for safety as well as comfort. EPS liners help absorb the energy of an impact. It’s a tried and tested technology that can be found in bike helmets, skateboard helmets, and even motorbike helmets. A snow sports helmet without a liner won’t provide you the protection you need.
Material – Snow sports helmets are usually made from two materials: polycarbonate plastic for the outer shell and expanded polystyrene for the interior. The outer shell can also be made from carbon fiber or fiberglass. All of these materials are lightweight and good at absorbing impact.
Ear Covers – Your ears will get cold up on the mountain. Some people choose to wear a balaclava or woolly hat underneath their helmets, but if not, earbuds are an essential feature. Some helmets have removable earbuds, which means you can use them for summer sports like skateboarding and biking.
Chin Straps – Without a chin strap, there isn’t much holding the helmet on your head. They should be adjustable so that you can make it fit your head perfectly. Some helmets have sweat absorbing chin straps, which are particularly good for hot weather.
Ski Goggle Compatibility – If your ski goggles don’t fit onto your helmet, you’re in for an uncomfortable ride. Helmets are made to be compatible with all goggles, but it is worth testing this out before you buy.
Types of Ski Helmets
ABS Helmet – ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is a type of material used in helmet construction. This is the most common type of snow-sports helmet. It features an ABS outer shell and an EPS liner, which work together to absorb the energy of an impact.
In-Mold & Hybrid – This is where the outer shell is molded to the inner lining with putting foam. It makes use of all the available space and is sometimes seen as a superior design.
Ski Helmet Safety Certifications
There is no global standard for snow helmet safety, but there are more localized standards to look out for. When you are buying a helmet, check that it complies with one of the following standards:
- Common European Norm (CEN)
- The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) -helmets must reach standard F2040.
- Snell Memorial Foundation, Snell RS-98
Ski Helmet FAQs
Q: What Is A Ski Helmet?
A: A ski helmet is a piece of protective headgear that protects your head from impact. They are designed to absorb the energy of an impact on different surfaces. They can be made out of multiple different materials and can cost anything from $20 to $500.
Q: What Helmet Size Am I?
A: Your helmet should fit snugly around your head, otherwise, it could come loose during a crash and cause you harm. You can measure your head by wrapping a tape measure around the fullest part of your head, which will be just above your ears. This should give you a good idea of the size you are looking for, but it is still advisable to try the helmet on before you buy. If you are nervous about buying the right size, make sure there is a returns policy so you can check if it fits.
Q: Why Do I Need A Ski Helmet?
A: It’s only in recent years that everyone has started wearing helmets for skiing. Before then, people would do snow sports in just a woolly hat. A helmet is essential to protecting your head against impact. Your head is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body and a bad impact can be life-threatening.
Q: When Should You Replace Your Helmet?
A: You should replace your helmet after a crash or if it has been dropped. Just one impact could compromise the effectiveness of the helmet and put you in jeopardy.
Q: How Do You Clean A Ski Helmet?
A: You can get a sanitizing cleaner from motorcycle shops that are perfect for cleaning helmets. The liner can sometimes be put through the wash but check the instructions before you try this. You can also get bacteria eating spray that stops your helmet smelling, if you use this regularly, you shouldn’t need to wash it.
Q: How Do You Store A Ski Helmet?
A: Some helmets will come with a bag that you can use to store it. If not, we recommend buying a helmet bag to keep your helmet warm and dry. You should keep it in a dry room that isn’t too hot or too cold.