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DIVEIN’s guide to the

10 Best Ski & Snowboard Helmets In 2022

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 22 different Ski and Snowboard Helmets and write reviews of the best.

The result is 10 of the best Ski and Snowboard Helmets on the market today.

hunter bierce

Hunter Bierce

PSIA Ski Instructor
Hunter Bierce is a PSIA Ski Instructor and multidisciplinary outdoor professional.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

Even the best skiers and snowboarders in the world take a tumble every now and then. Before the next time, you’re unexpectedly reacquainted with the snow, it’s prudent to have a solid piece of plastic protecting your head.

In our unending search for the best helmets across all budgets and specific needs, we’ve assembled this list of ten we believe worthy of your consideration. Whether you’re looking to emphasize safety on the resort, style in the park, or sensibility for backcountry excursions- we’ve vetted the masses and found something for everyone.

If you’re unsure of what you need out of a helmet, our buyer’s guide below outlines all the styles and features to find the best fit for your style of skiing.

Top 10 Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets In 2022

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Still unsure as to what ski and snowboard helmet to choose? Check out our buying guide to know what to look for when buying a ski helmet.

You won’t find a helmet much more comfortable than the Vantage, certainly not one that manages to cram all of the current market-level safety features inside of a lightweight, compact shell. The Vantage checks all of the boxes that you’d expect based on the competition–an accurate fit-adjustment system, molded impact-resistant hardshell, and MIPS rotational impact protection.

It’s a do-all snowsports helmet that can keep you protected from high-velocity impacts, but it comes at a premium. Taking a closer look at the specs might convince you that it’s worth the investment.

Where to buy:

For Men

For Women

 

Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid SL Shell
  • Zonal Koroyd for impact protection and increased airflow
  • MIPS Rotational Impact Protection
  • BOA Adjustable Fit System
  • Air Evac Goggle Ventilation System
  • 21 Vents with Dual Front/Rear Adjustment
  • Antimicrobial Liner
What we like:
  • Balances a healthy helping of features with a midweight shell that feels comfortable all day long
  • Between the goggle vents and the dual adjustment system, there’s plenty of airflow that can easily be directed where and when you want it
  • MIPS combined with Aerocore tech adds an extra element of safety simply not present in cheaper helmets
What we don’t like:
  • On the upper end of the price spectrum

The most important criteria in judging a helmet are, of course, safety. But they go a little further by including their shock absorbing Aerocore inserts right underneath the vents. Aside from the safety specs, the Smith Vantage is incredibly well ventilated with 21 slide track adjustable vents.

Paired with their smell-resistant fleece liner, the Vantage MIPS offers just the right balance of safety, comfort, and technical features.

We love Wildhorn Outfitters because they make good gear for average skiers. Functional, comfortable, and reasonably priced–people who are starting their own snow careers or only make it up to the mountain for the occasional trip will get the most out of what they have to offer.

In addition to their fleet of winter outerwear, we had a chance to check out their Drift helmet. Compared to Wildhorn’s premium Highline, the Drift is a little lacking in features that daily riders might look for. Below we’ll take a closer look at the Drift, and break it down piece by piece to help you decide if it’s the right fit.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid In-Mold Shell
  • Dedicated Lightweight Build
  • 8 Adjustable Top Vents
  • FTA Fit System
  • Snap-on Goggle Retainer
  • Audio Compatible Ear Flaps
What we like:
  • Affordable and functional helmet that fits the bill for most entry-level skiers
  • Admirably lightweight compared to many dedicated resort helmets
  • Audio compatibility is always a nice feature to have on the hill
  • Retractable venting slits to regulated heat
  • Solid goggle strap
What we don’t like:
  • Doesn’t feature any rotational protection like MIPS
  • We’d love to see some visor vents added to mitigate fog buildup

The Ledge is one of the more bare-bones options on our list. But that doesn’t mean it’s low quality. There’s beauty in its simplicity. Sometimes more features feel like more fuss. So long as you’re covered on the protection front, who cares what else it does?

The Ledge is a leader in value. Though there’s another, simpler version out there for a little cheaper, we think the extra insurance is well worth it. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Ledge is one of the only sub $100 helmets that offer MIPS or any other form of angled impact protection.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hard Shell Construction
  • MIPS Angled Impact Protection
  • Stack Ventilation over goggles
  • Fixed Ventilation Channels
  • AutoLoc 2 Fit System
  • Vertical Tuning
  • Removable Earpads
What we like:
  • Best budget helmet in the industry, period
  • It has essential safety features, decent customization capabilities and is available in a wide range of colors
What we don’t like:
  • Fixed vents make temperature regulation a little more difficult
  • It lacks a lot of the updated tech that we see out of other reimagined "simple" helmets

The Ledge is Giro’s most pared-down helmet and comes with the option to make it even simpler. Both the earpads and goggle retainer are removable, a great feature be it stylistic or as a way to make up for the somewhat lacking ventilation system.

All told, the sleek and subdued look of the Ledge compared with its practical nature makes it an easy pick for skiers or boarders on a budget.

There’s no denying the quality of Smith’s premium helmets like the Quantum and the Vantage. But when it comes to old fashioned industrious protection, the Mission is our helmet of choice. A fleshed-out feature-set and mild heft just over a pound make the Mission an easy choice for a daily resort helmet or something that can stay in your ski pack in the backcountry.

Second to practicality is a very reasonable price point. The Mission is nearly half the weight of other premium helmets on this list, with comparable amenities where it counts most- keeping your head safe.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Lightweight In-mold Construction
  • Aerocore Construction
  • MIPS Rotational Protection
  • Regulator Adjustable Climate Control
  • AirEvac Ventilation
  • 14 total vents
  • Adjustable Dial Fit System
What we like:
  • Balances safety features and low weight in a way that’s meaningful to people who split their time between the resort and backcountry
  • Admirably priced given the care in its construction and versatility
  • Removable earpads and adjustable vent system for serviceable climate control
What we don’t like:
  • You miss out on some of the optimization benefits of opting for a dedicated resort helmet for lower weight

Unpacking the helmet a little bit: the Mission has both MIPS technology to keep you protected from rotational impacts, as well as the same force-dampening koroyd layer you see in the Vantage and Quantum.

This light honeycombed layer in large part contributes to both the low weight and great airflow that we love in a backcountry helmet.

While it might be a little light on the resort amenities, between the safety features and the portability the Mission is an excellent option for skiers looking to split their time on and off the resort.

Though it’s a bit of a niche option, the Salomon MTN Lab should be a strong contender for any dedicated backcountry skier. The MTN Lab is one of the lightest helmets out there that offers dependable protection.

The MTN Lab is up to specifications for both skiing and rock climbing, but the rock specs have more to do with its potential for ski mountaineering. It’s a helmet you definitely won’t ever get too warm in and has the additional benefit of keeping moisture off of your head so your goggles don’t immediately fog up after a tough climb.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid In-mold Shell
  • EPS 4D Shock-Absorbing Liner
  • 8 Fixed Vents
  • Custom Dial Fit-Adjustment System
  • Removable/Washable Merino Wool Liner
  • Removable Merino Wool Earpads
What we like:
  • Excellent choice for exploring the winter backcountry
  • Super lightweight while still offering enough protection
  • Compatible as a climbing helmet
What we don’t like:
  • No rotational protection
  • Vents aren’t adjustable if you end up getting cold

Due to the minimalist trappings of its design, the MNT doesn’t leave much room for features, but still retains a functional goggle or headlamp strap. When talking about helmets it’s easy to start splitting hairs between safety and weight, this is particularly true if you’re doing most of your riding outside of the ropes. The Salomon MTN Lab offers a beautiful compromise.

The MOD1 has been a favorite amongst park riders and skiers with style for years. This season Oakley introduced their revamped MOD1 Pro, which infuses the same sleek skate-inspired attitude with top-of-the-line safety features and updated amenities.

The MOD1 Pro will appeal to those looking for the coolest skiing or snowboarding helmet on the slopes. Removable earpads and nine solid color schemes to choose from assure you’ll be looking your best regardless of your aesthetic preferences.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Dura-Matter Shell
  • Fixed ventilation
  • BOA 360 Fit System
  • MIPS Rotational Protection
  • Polartech Powergrid Removable Liner
  • Removable Earpads
What we like:
  • Big step up in safety and comfort from the original MOD1, while keeping the same skate style
  • Removable earpads and a wide range of colors make this one of the coolest helmets out there
What we don’t like:
  • Not top of the game in ventilation, which would be nice given the price hike from the original

On a more serious note, the MOD1 Pro steps up the technology and safety measures in a big way from its predecessor. The shell has been upgraded to an injection-molded Dura-Matter carapace with increased scratch and ding resistance, and they’ve also integrated MIPS rotational protection into the fit adjustment system.

If you throw in a few more improvements to comfort and accessibility, and you have a pretty admirable helmet that manages to keep things relatively compact.

Sweet Protection has steadily carved its niche through crafting high-quality protective equipment for snowsports, paddlesports, and mountain biking. The Switcher is their take on a resort-focused helmet and has received numerous well-deserved accolades from some big names in the outdoor industry.

What separates the Switcher from other high-performance models in our eyes, is how well it pairs with Bluetooth audio chips and even old fashioned earbuds. The sound quality of course doesn’t supersede safety, but the Switcher can balance work and play as well as anything else on the market.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Advanced Hybrid Shell Technology
  • Impact Shield Technology
  • MIPS Rotational Protection
  • OneTurn Dial Ventilation with 22 vents
  • OcciGrip Turn Dial Fit Adjustment System
  • 3D Shaped Vented Liner
  • Fully Box Constructed Ear Pads with Molded Hearing Ports
What we like:
  • Fully loaded complement of protective tech alongside comfort and convenience features
  • The ear pads are both accommodating of audio devices and facilitate great sound quality
What we don’t like:
  • The Fidlock Hook Buckle isn’t as easy to operate as a different version of the same tech that we see in other helmets
  • It’s up there on the price spectrum

Sweet Protection included all of the typical safety features found in the best performing helmets and added an additional impact shield designed to distribute the force of impact across a wider area.

The Switcher shines in its capacity to make fine adjustments in a hurry. The vents open with easy-to-use sidetracks, the fit is adjustable through an easy-access dial in the back, and the chinstrap is magnetic. Sweet Protection’s proprietary take on helmet tech is certainly worth investigating for any skier serious about safety.

Anon’s new WaveCel lineup of helmets represents the very cutting edge of snowsports impact protection. The Merak is the leading, feature-rich model out of the collection that has garnered quite a bit of controversy regarding the claims of its “Wavecel” protection technology.

So what is this WaveCel Technology? In short, it’s a network of hundreds of tiny dampening chambers between the shell of the helmet and your skull that looks something like space-age corrugated cardboard. We’ve seen similar technology in Bontrager and Trek cycling helmets- a liner that’s built to break, but in a good way.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid 50/50 Shell Construction
  • WaveCel Impact Protection
  • Active Ventilation Climate Control
  • 19 Total Vents
  • 360 BOA Fit System
  • Fidlock Snap Helmet Buckle
  • Polartech Powergrid Fleece Liner and Earpads
What we like:
  • Feature rich and high quality helmet that matches form with function
  • It’s really light for a freeride helmet, balancing quality safety measures with an unobtrusive weight
What we don’t like:
  • Very expensive even compared with the top helmets on this list
  • Their testing practices have come under fire from MIPS and there’s no standard to base it’s comparative effectiveness

Their purpose is threefold: In the event of a crash, these chambers first flex to absorb some of the initial shock. They then collapse like the crumple zone of modern cars, further dampening the impact. Finally, the cells also slide laterally similar to POC’s Spin technology, effectively reducing rotational forces and diverting–or gliding–energy away from your head.

Testing is more likely than not done on a proprietary basis, and we’re not exactly lining up to run into trees to give you a more definitive answer. The bottom line is that this is the first time we’ve seen this tech in the snowsports industry, and if you trust the safety parameters that Anon is touting, it seems like a promising new development.

The Revent+ Amid is a rigorously-engineered helmet that excels across the board in resort conditions. It’s safe, well-ventilated, and the hybrid build cuts-off a lot of the weight. Paired with a set of Atomic Revent+ goggles, and you’ll have an all-season setup that you can depend on.

The only drawbacks we could find regarding the Revent+ have to do with sizing. Certain models can be hard to get a hold of, and some folks with wider heads have an issue getting them to fit comfortably around the ears. But beyond this, the Revent+ is a solid option for a feature-heavy helmet at a fair price.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid Shell Construction
  • HOLO Core Impact Absorption
  • Atomic Multidirectional Impact Deflector Rotational Protection
  • Active Aircon Venting
  • 360 Fit System
  • Live Fit Foam Padding
  • 3D Modeled Earpads
What we like:
  • Emulates many of the high tech quality features of other helmets, using proprietary technology at a fair price
  • Seamless compatibility with Revent goggles
  • HOLO Core crumple layer is a nice additional layer of safety
What we don’t like:
  • Subject to limited availability
  • Sizing can be difficult for people with rounder heads

To start, it’s definitely safe. The Revent+ has at least all of the essential safety features that you’ll see from other top contenders. Additionally, its hollow core is designed to give way under heavy impacts to reduce the amount of energy transferred to your head similar to Smith’s Koroyd layer.

An extensively adjustable liner system allows a custom fit to your head, or whatever additional layers the weather requires.

Oakley is a widely recognized name in sports eyewear, and the Mod series is their first foray into making full-protection helmets specifically designed to fit their goggles. The Mod 5 differs from other models because of its unique modular visor.

Users can select either a small or large visor depending on which goggles they’re using that day. It was designed for use with specific models of Oakley goggles, but it has the potential to provide a good fit with other manufacturers as well. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise coming from Oakley, you can read our review of their oversized and much lauded Flight Deck goggles to see what we mean.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Dual-Construction Hybrid Shell
  • Goggle/Helmet Integrated Ventilation System
  • Adjustable Ventilation
  • BOA 270 Fit System
  • Removable Liner
  • Fidlock Magnetic Buckle System
  • Modular Brim System
What we like:
  • Ambitious innovative features and a well-realized entry into the helmet industry from Oakley
  • Modular visor compatibility lets you pair the helmet with nearly any pair of goggles without fuss or gaps
  • Great goggle ventilation, further emphasizing the push towards a good goggle experience
What we don’t like:
  • At 21.6 oz it’s a tad heavy compared to other feature rich offerings
  • The ventilation system doesn’t work as well as a lot of the competition

It’s a hybrid style helmet with a molded interior shell that is armor-plated by sturdy ABS panels. The helmet is also equipped with MIPS, and is reinforced at specific impact points to help mitigate impact force. The Mod 5 has adjustable vents, but these tend to work better while underway rather than standing around at the base.

The Quantum is one of the most tediously engineered helmets on the market, built with the needs of the 50+ day a seasoned skier in mind. Smith is another huge name in the industry, and the Quantum integrates just about every safety feature available across their snow line.

It’s a great helmet for the right skier. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, and its extensive list of safety features. But, it does weigh a lot. And clocking in somewhere around $300, it’s definitely one of the most expensive helmets in this style.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid Shell Construction
  • Zonal Koroyd for impact protection and increased airflow
  • Low Profile Dual Regulator Climate Control for temperature regulation
  • 22 Adjustable Vents
  • BOA FS360 Fit System
  • MIPS Rotational Protection
  • XT2 Performance Liner
What we like:
  • Loaded with features targeted towards safety and ergonomics that people who spend all winter on the mountain may find essential
  • Incredible ventilation, but also warm enough to wear on the coldest days on the resort with little underneath
What we don’t like:
  • One of the most expensive helmets out there
  • Weighs a bit more than comparable models like the Vantage above

The foundation is a quality hybrid molded shell, reinforced with rigid polymers at common impact points. The interior is reinforced by Smith’s Aerocore tech, plates of force-dampening tubes that have the additional perk of increasing airflow.

The build is topped with an impressive 22 slide-adjustable vents, to dissipate the heat that its admittedly considerable bulk is sure to accumulate.

Giro is one of the most trusted brands in ski helmets, and for good reason. From angled-impact protection onward, they’ve garnered a reputation for prioritizing protective features. Presumably named after the infamously technical Jackson Hole sidecountry, the Jackson is Giro’s take on a freeski-oriented helmet that will also serve a snowboarder well off-piste. But, given its sleek profile and aerodynamic design, it seems like it would be very practical for resorts as well. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid- in-mold inner shell
  • Stack fixed ventilation
  • MIPS
What we like:
  • Very well ventilated
  • Feature-heavy helmet for a good price
  • Many color options are available
What we don’t like:
  • The vent system isn’t adjustable

The shell itself has two pieces: a hard outer casing, and a molded polycarbonate inner liner. It’s engineered to save on weight, add padding to dead space, and create channels for air to flow through the interior of the helmet. In addition to these passive air channels, the Jackson is equipped with stack vents placed directly over top of the goggle’s vent channels to help prevent fog buildup on hot or moist days. 

All Giro helmets are designed to fit seamlessly with their goggle brand and optimize the stack flow ventilation. The Jackson is also compatible with aftermarket speakers if you want to eventually upgrade to a bluetooth connection for music.

The Raider 3 is a spartan take on a ski helmet. Its design is heavily influenced by skateboarding, so much so that it’s one of the only products on this guide rated for multi-season use. It’s a solid, traditional ABS (see guide at end) shell that doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to durability. Heartiness aside, the Raider 3 certainly isn’t the most comfortable helmet on the market. It weighs more than most other options, has minimal ventilation, and lacks an adjustable fit system aside from the chinstrap. It also doesn’t have MIPS or other angled impact protection (see guide) which may be a deal-breaker for some. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • ABS shell
  • Fixed ventilation
  • No rotational impact protection
What we like:
  • Heavy handed construction
  • Rated for multiple seasons
  • Comparatively warm
  • Good price for protection
What we don’t like:
  • Heavy and not well-ventilated
  • No rotational protection

The Raider 5 takes a heavy-handed approach to protection. It’s quite literally a solid choice for anyone seeking a no-frills budget helmet; and one of the more obvious choices if you’re the type to rip out the side padding and liners anyway. If you’re a multi-sport border, it could be your one stop solution for protection. 

Finding a way to reliably play music and make phone calls on the slopes is difficult, so much so that it begs the question of whether or not it’s even worth attempting. If you want to forego having to fish your phone out of your jacket in sub-zero temperatures, then a Bluetooth integrated helmet may be the way to go. POC’s Communication technology isn’t the perfect solution to this problem, but it’s the best one so far. Though some complain about the actual quality of the audio, the Communication series of inserts as well as the integrated Obex Spin helmet provide dependable two-way audio in a market where reliable alternatives are rare. 

Beyond hands free music and phone calls, the Obex Spin is a sturdily built helmet. It has all the features you’d expect from a high-end helmet: a hybrid shell, adjustable vents, and a great fitting system. It also features POC’s Spin technology, which is essentially their proprietary take on MIPS or other angled impact protection systems. The liner is held in place by silicone pads that shear away on impact and allow the helmet a little free movement.  According to POC, they offer nuanced protection from a greater number of angles than other systems and you can buy replacement pads on their website.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Hybrid shell
  • Integrated vents
  • Spin pads for rotational protection
What we like:
  • POC’s unique approach to rotational protection
  • Well-built hybrid shell
  • One of the only integrated audio systems done right
What we don’t like:
  • Feels pretty bulky

Ski Helmet Buyer’s Guide

The importance of protecting your brain is difficult to understate, we’re only now starting to understand the compounding effects of head injuries. There are plenty of takes on the best way to stay safe, but ultimately choosing the right helmet is based on budget versus comfort and features.

Baseline features to look for are an adjustable fit system, adequate ventilation, and some kind of angled-impact protection, be it MIPS or parallel proprietary technology.

Things like adjustable vents, fancy liners, quick access buckles and other comfort-based features are usually best pulled-off by higher-end options. Beyond safety, when it comes to helmets you very much get what you pay for.

Backcountry vs Resort Helmets

The differences between backcountry and resort helmets are largely less overstated than they are with other pieces of gear. Generally speaking, when looking for a backcountry helmet you’re trying to strike a balance between weight and features. For some people this is going to look simple and streamlined in the case of the Salomon MTN Lab, others will try to strike more of a balance as we see from the Smith Mission.

When it comes to resort helmets it’s more a matter of how much you ski and what you’re willing to spend for a more comfortable experience. Helmets like the Sweet Protection Switcher are excellent all around but tend to be a little more expensive than utilitarian alternatives like the Giro Ledge.

What Does MIPS Mean?

If you’ve done any reasonable amount of digging around for a new helmet, you’ve probably heard reference to MIPS. The technology has been around for a little more than two decades, and the basic idea behind the system is allowing the helmet to have a little bit of lateral give, so it absorbs some of the “rotational” energy from an oblique fall.

Basically, if you fall and smack the side of your head, the MIPS liner will shift and eat that energy before your brain starts spinning in your skull. Your head is pretty good at handling impact force head-on, but angled impacts have proven potential to be more devastating on your brain tissues.

Given that falls from aggressive sports such as skiing, cycling, and horseback riding are much more likely to be oblique than head-on, having some kind of rotational protection, be it MIPS, AMID or other in-house alternatives, seems like a really good idea.

The industry is hesitant to claim that these technologies actually make a given helmet any “safer”. At least in the U.S., the way that helmets are rated is determined by their ability to protect the skull from catastrophic injury i.e., getting cracked open from a direct impact.

Does this mean that rotational protection isn’t important? The jury is out on this one. MIPS has done a ton of in-house research that indisputably backs the efficacy of their technology.

But some industry professionals are convinced that the whole “rotational protection” thing is more of a ploy to sell more expensive helmets than anything else. They don’t debate the influence of rotational impact but claim that a properly fitting helmet will slide across your hair or scalp on impact the same way it would with MIPS technology.

It’s up to you whether or not you want to invest the money into something with MIPS. Because, while MIPS can’t currently be proven to make a comparative difference, it certainly can’t hurt. All of our testers certainly think it’s worth the extra investment.

Helmet Fit and Sizing

Having the highest rated, most expensive helmet doesn’t do you much good if it doesn’t fit. A properly sized helmet is key to having a safe and comfortable season. Quality ski helmets should come in a range of sizes, and specific measurements are easily found in the specifications of each model.

You can find the circumference of your head with a piece of string, which can then be measured in cm and compared to the size ranges of the helmets. If in doubt you can trust your head with how it feels. Your helmet should fit snugly without being tight, and should stay in place on your head while underway.

Fortunately most helmets have quite a bit of wiggle room with fully adjustable fit systems. Getting your fit dialed depends on the layers you happen to have on that day, and for best results make sure it sits on your head comfortably with no gaps between you and the liner.

ABS vs. In-mold vs. Hybrid Shells

Ski helmets are designed to withstand the same kinds of impacts, and to a certain degree are made out of the same kinds of materials. We get our variance in weight and function through the way these materials are put together, and any proprietary methods companies use to give their products an edge. The two extremes of helmet design are ABS and in-mold.

ABS helmets such as the Ledge from Giro are characterized by their single piece hardshell, made up of the polymer acrylonitrile butadiene styrene from which they derive their name. In-mold helmets (injection mold) are going to be made up entirely from a lightweight shell, and are much more susceptible to dings and damage from daily use.

Most ski helmets are going to be a hybrid somewhere between the two styles, some favoring the lightweight design such as the Salomon MTN Lab, others opting for more comprehensive protection like the Smith Quantum.

Hybrid helmets are made by fusing protective hard plastic layers to the outside of an injection molded shell. They benefit from a degree of strength and longevity offered by a full-ABS helmet, without taking on the weight.

All high-end helmets tend to be hybrids, but there are wildly different takes on the best way to go about building one. With so much variation, it’s easy to find a helmet to meet your specific needs.

Goggle Compatibility

Most helmets make a serious effort to work well with as many styles and sizes of goggles as possible. But every once and a while you’ll find a pairing that simply doesn’t fit as well as you want.

Usually, it’s a problem you’ll only run into with smaller goggle sizes, as the larger frames tend to fill out the brim under the visor a little bit more. If you’re worried about finding the best possible fit between your helmet and goggles, look for brands that are specifically designed to go together. Oakley goggles will usually work pretty well with Oakley helmets, just like Anon goggles pair nicely with their helmets.

Ventilation

It pays to be prepared when the sun comes out from behind the clouds and things start warming up. Having adequate ventilation in your helmet is a quick way to dump a lot of heat without having to take off a layer.

Allowing heat to escape from your head also goes a long way towards keeping your goggles clear, and making sure you don’t sweat, potentially subjecting yourself to hypothermia.

Ventilation can be as simple as punching a hole in the shell, most ABS models will feature a dozen or so strategically placed vents and call it good at that. Hybrid shells will have more vents due to the adaptability of their design. Usually, these vents will be adjustable by either dial or track system.

Major manufacturers have their own unique approaches to airflow. Giro’s Ledge helmet, for example, has “Stack Flow” channels lined up to vent air up out of your goggles and keep heat from building on your forehead. Smith’s unique Aerocore build featured in the Quantum and the Vantage allow airflow through a layer of shock-absorbing tubes.

Beyond pure safety features, a quality ventilation system is something to seriously consider when making your helmet selection. Overheating while skiing is a universally unpleasant experience, and having a way to cool off quickly alone is justification enough.

Additional Features

Beyond what we’ve listed above, there are plenty of other things to consider when choosing a helmet. Magnet or easy-access chin straps are great because you don’t need to take off your gloves to cool off. Compatibility with goggles from the same brand is nice, but can limit your selection, earpads that hold aftermarket wireless speakers, and audio quality are great things to consider as well.

If you already have a ski helmet or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about ski and snowboard helmets

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What are the best ski helmets?

    The best helmet for you depends on your needs and your budget, but thankfully there are plenty of options out there in every style and price range. Basic features to look for are rotational protection, ventilation, and an adjustable fit system. Our buyer’s guide has our favorites of the season- but in the meantime here’s a short list of some of the best.
    Best ski helmets

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    Do I need a ski helmet?

    A properly fitting helmet is an essential piece of equipment for skiers of any skill level, for every day. Taking proactive measures against concussions is an important thing for every skier, and the safety benefits of wearing a helmet far outweigh any inconveniences such as bulk or discomfort. For more on helmets and how to find the best one for your specific needs, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is a “MIPS” Helmet?

    The basic idea behind the MIPS is allowing the helmet to have a little bit of lateral give, so it absorbs some of the “rotational” energy from an oblique fall. Your head is pretty good at handling impact force head-on, but if you fall and smack the side of your head, the MIPS liner will shift and eat that energy before your brain starts spinning in your skull. To see our favorite helmets with MIPS and equivalent tech, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

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    How to measure your head for a helmet?

    Quality ski helmets should come in a range of sizes, and specific measurements are easily found in the specifications of each model. You can find the circumference of your head with a piece of string, which can then be measured in cm and compared to the size ranges of the helmets. To see our favorite helmets of the season, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

2 Comments

  1. Barbara Lansing

    How should a snowboard helmet fit? I’m trying to find one for my son.

  2. Bradley Axmith

    Hi Barbara. Good move getting a helmet for your son’s snowboarding. No matter the level, it’s a good idea.
    The helmet needs to fit snuggly, so that there is no space for your finger to get through on either side, front and back.
    Measure you son’s head with a tape measure just over the ears and above the eyebrows then match up with what the brands show on the product page.
    Many brands have an auto-adjust fit system that expands or contracts to provide a comfortable and secure fit. The Anon Raider 3 at the top of our guide is an example.
    Remember that in cases where sellers offer returns, it’s as simple as just sending it back for the right one.
    Hope you both get some good days on the hills in.

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