In the last decade, you have seen the majority of boarders and skiers trade in their old-school hats for a new-age helmet packed with top technology and fun add-on. Not only have helmets been proven to save lives on the mountain, once you start wearing one, you really cannot imagine going back. Gone are the days of the heavy and uncomfortable bowl shaped helmets. Today’s models are aerodynamic, lighter and warmer than ever with features including built in air vents, ipod and bluetooth capability, temperature control and a whole lot more. Here we will review some of the best ski and snowboard helmets on the market today from renowned brands including Giro, Smith and Bern.
Giro is clearly leading the innovation in the ski helmet industry (see Giro Helmet Review) with a large range of helmets in a variety of price points jam packed with every feature you could imagine. Our top picks include the best selling reasonably priced Giro G9 (see review) equipped with an In Mold construction system and 15 vents with Weatherstrip vent plugs. This is the best basic ski helmet on the mountain. It is extremely comfortable and has great ventilation.
If you are looking for a higher end Giro helmet, you cannot go wrong with the Giro Chapter (see review). This helmet is designed with very deep cuts, making it perfect for backcountry or all mountain skiing. With its In Mold construction, interior subliner, 8 Super Cools vents with Thermostat control and an intake Port Vent and Stack Vent system; this helmet is one of the coolest new products on the market today. Giro helmets are also equipped with TuneUps technology. Sold separately, TuneUps are removable ear pads with integrated speaker that depending on your model can attach to your mp3 player, cell phone, or two-way radio.
While Smith may be best known for their ski goggles, they have a very cool integration system between their helmets and goggles. Their helmets are designed to match the curvature of the goggle frame, eliminating the annoying gap between your helmet and goggles, and aligning the AirEvac helmet venting system with the goggle venting system to promote airflow and avoid fog build up. Two other great features of Smith helmets are their VANTAGE system and Dual Regulator.
If you are an aggressive skier or boarder, the Smith Vantage is the helmet for you. It is super lightweight and has 21 adjustable vents for maximum climate control, in addition to removable ear pads great for both cooler or warmer weather. The Z-Static performance liner helps keep your helmet from getting smelly and mildewy on those spring skiing or aggressive ski days. You can purchase this helmet with Twin-Tip Audio for phone and music capability. If you are looking for a helmet with the same quality of the Vantage, but at a slightly slower price point, check out the Smith Variant.
Bern specializes in action sport head protection and their stylish and rugged helmets feature an all-season comfort liner system with removable and interchangeable warm and cold weather liners. Bern helmets are made with theirexclusive and innovative Zipmold foam, which is a liquid foam injected into the molding to provide a better weight to strength ratio. This allows Bern to develop lightweight and lower profile style helmets that are also very sturdy and safe.
My go-to choice from Bern is the second-generation G2 helmet. The G2 has retro soft removable brim visor that helps product you from the elements and sun. The helmet is also equipped with a three vent setting for temperature control. The knit hat style liner is so comfortable that you feel like you are wearing a baseball cap on the mountain instead of a helmet. If you are a women, looking for all the features of the G2, check out the Cougar 2, which comes in a more feminine style and is designed to fit the contours of a woman’s' head.
Endorsed by Shaun White, Red Collection is the hottest new trend on the slopes today. Mostly popular amongst the younger skier and rider demographic, Red has taken a lot of business away from the older, more traditional ski gear brands.
Our favorite model in the Red Collection is the low-profiled Theory Helmet designed with the new Air Band 270 Fit System. The air-fueled Air Band 270 headband is placed between the shell of the helmet and eight anatomical pads, equipped with hinges that fit perfectly around your head. You are able to adjust the mold control for added comfort byusing the very cool Air Band pump-button located on the right ear pad. The Theory is also equipped with Quick Clip II Ear Pads that snap easily into place. While, it is often difficult to adjust your ski and snowboard gear on the mountain without freezing your fingers off, thetri-side buckle and away-from-the-collar positioning make this helmet super easy to adjust with your gloves on. If you are a woman or a guy with a smaller head, I would suggest checking out the comparable RED Aletta Helmet.