If you are looking for the best ski and snowboard helmets, you’ve come to the right place.
Head injuries can be very serious and this is an essential piece of equipment to prevent that. In this post I’ll show you what to look for when making your selection and my top picks for men and women in 2017-2018.
How To Pick The Perfect Helmet
I’ve seen people knock themselves unconscious on the slopes because they didn’t wear their helmet; it’s not a good sight. Although a helmet will protect your noggin and keep you safe, you need to pick the right one.
Here are a few things to consider when making your choice:
- Correct size and fit
- Ventilation system and audio compatible
- Safety certifications
Your head gear needs to fit correctly and this is the single most important thing to get correctly. If your helmet is too loose it can slide over your eyes and blind you; it can shift to the side as you fall too, leaving your face and head vulnerable. If it’s too tight it can make your day very uncomfortable and cause pain.
There are no gaps in a perfect fitting and helmet. In fact, if you push the back of the one you’re wearing with soft blows it will move with your head without flopping around. The skin on your forehead and eyebrows move with it.
Next, you look at the style of the helmet. There are three different types and they’re for different skill levels. They are:
- Half Shells: These are the most popular kind for everyday skiers and snowboarders. They come with a hard outer shell and removable soft ear pads. The liner on the inside is typically removable and can be washed.
- Full Shell: You can usually find these helmets on the heads of racers. They have full coverage and hard sides over the ears and are compatible with jaw guards.
- Full Face: This helmet is for big mountain competitors and comes with a chin guard and visor. This offers the most coverage but isn’t really needed for non competitive skiers or snowboarders.
After that, consider the ventilation and audio system. Most helmets come with either fixed or adjustable vents to help control temperature and prevent fogging in your goggles. Fixed vents are always open and adjustable so they can be customized to your liking.
Also, some helmets have built in headphones into the ear pads so you can listen to music while riding. Others are “audio compatible;” this means you can buy a separate kit and add your own audio system.
Lastly, make sure the helmet you select has the right kind of safety certificates. The main ones to look for are CE and ASTM. CE is the European safety standard for helmets that must be met or exceeded in order to be sold and ASTM is the American safety standard that must be met or exceeded; some helmets will have both certificates.
So now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at my top picks:
POC Skull Orbic X
Sizes: X-Small to XX-Large
The POC Skull Orbic X is perfect for high performing skiers and snowboarders. It has a multi-impact EPP Liner with extra thickness that provides maximum protection; it also allows you to add a chin guard too. Some additional features include:
- Removable and washable LD foam liner
- Fixed goggle clip so you can safely and securely attach your googles
- Smart design ear pads that won’t interfere with your ability to hear
You will see more POC helmets on this list and this is one of their most popular. It offers a really sleek design and is ultra comfortable. Definitely something you won’t mind wearing all day.
Giro Nine Helmet
Sizes: Small to Extra Large
The Giro Nine is one of the best values on the list and you can find it for around $75; it’s perfect for all kinds of skiers but more geared towards intermediates and beginners. This helmet allows for complete customization too. The vent system is adjustable so you can choose the optimal level of air flow; it’s audio compatible too. Also, it comes with:
- A lighthweight design that offers a ton of protection
- Compatible with all Giro goggles
- Lifetime warranty
I love seeing lifetime warranties, it really ensures you are getting a durable and well made product. Lastly, it comes in every color imaginable so you can match it with your jacket or any other piece of equipment you have.
POC Skull Orbic Comp
The POC Skull Orbic Comp is the next level up from the POC Skull you already saw. If you are a competitive skier or snowboarder, like to race, or hit the slopes very aggressively, this is the helmet for you. It has all the features of the other Skull helmet like multi-impact EPP liner, LD foam lining and fixed goggle clips and some upgrades like:
- Two interchangeable liners
- High performing PC/ABS shell that protects against the most violent crashes
- Aramid penetration barrier
It offers superior fit that is beyond comfortable. The moderate or beginner may not need a product like the Skull Orbic Comp but the advanced should consider it.
Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet
Smith makes really high quality products (like goggles) and their Vantage MIPS Helmet is one of my favorites. It offers a really nice design and will protect your head from high impact blows with its interior foam, low friction liner and elastomer attachment. Some other great features include:
- 19 different colors and designs so you get exactly what you want
- Lifetime warranty
- 21 different and adjustable vents so you control airflow
This lightweight helmet is audio compatible too. This isn’t necessarily a racing helmet and can pretty much be worn by everyone – beginners, intermediates and advanced. It has enough comfort and protection to serve each group well. It’s a little pricey at around $270 but you will never need another helmet again. You can be assured your head is safe too.
Anon Raider Helmet
Sizes: Small to X-Large
The Anon Raider Helmet is perfect for beginners and mid level skiers and snowboarders. People who like to hit the park or go off trail through some glades may want something else. If you like to stay on trail and go fast without putting yourself in danger keep reading. The Anon Raider is actually approved for skiing, snowboarding AND biking and skateboarding – not bad for a $70 helmet. Also, it features:
- Both CE and ASTM certifications
- Audio compatible
- Passive ventilation system to keep your head nice and cool
It has a fleece liner to give you a little extra comfort and warmth. Lots of benefits and a low price; you can get a lot of use out of this helmet without breaking the bank.
POC Fornix Helmets
Here we have another POC product and this one is the Fornix. This helmet is for trail skiers who love to test their limits. It’s fairly priced at around $165 and features:
- Adjustable vents and sizing system
- Robust ABS Shell and multi impact EPP Liner
- Provides superior energy absorption for more safety
This is just a really well designed product. Here’s a video that goes a little deeper:
Smith Optics Holt
This is one of the most simple and cheapest helmets on the list. That doesn’t mean the Smith Optics Holt is a bad product, it just doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive ones. Geared towards intermediates and beginners, this helmet features:
- Fixed ventilation (14 vents) and partial adjustment on size and fit
- OutdoorTech audio system compatibility
- Hard plastic ABS shell on the outside
This is another piece of equipment that can be worn outside of winter too – bikers and skaters will get use out of it. If you fit this description you should consider this helmet.
Giro Zone MIPS Helmet
Sizes: Small to Large
The Giro Zone MIPs Helmet is sleek and highly protective. It’s a delight to wear and all abilities will enjoy what it can do; that includes advanced skiers who like to go fast, get air and venture off into the back-country. Besides allowing for complete control over air flow, the Giro Zone features:
- 2 fit system that uses a dial in the back to quickly adjust the fit and feel of the helmet
- Lightweight hybrid construction that won’t be a nuisance to wear
- Anti-Odor protection built into the liner to prevent bad smells
It’s fairly expensive and will cost around $200. It’s definitely worth the price, especially if you intend on skiing or snowboarding at fast speeds.
POC Receptor BUG Communication Audio Helmet
This is the last POC helmet on the list and is one of the best. The Receptor Communication Audio Helmet is one of the only helmets to come with built in speakers and microphone. These aren’t cheap, low quality speakers either – they’re Beats by Dre which gives you the best sound quality possible. You can listen to your favorite music or take phone calls through this audio system. Besides that, it comes with:
- Ultra lightweight design without giving up any protection
- Double ventilated shell to keep your head cool when you’re working up a sweat
- Detachable goggle clip to keep your goggles securely fastened at all times
The price is around $240, which isn’t bad when you consider there are Beats by Dre headphones that cost over $400. If you love listening to music, have a smart phone and are in the market for a new helmet, consider the POC Receptor. It will deliver crisp tunes and protect your head.
Here’s a video that goes a little more in depth:
Giro Ledge MIPS Helmet
Sizes: Small to Large
The Giro Ledge MIPS Helmet is another affordable product that does’t have all the bells and whistles. If you like to enjoy the slopes without doing anything too crazy, you should think about the Ledge. It comes with:
- Hard shell construction to absorb blows to the head
- Super cool vents that allow for maximum air flow and prevents fogging in your goggles
- Audio compatible
This isn’t the best helmet on the list but not everyone needs the most expensive and best. If you like skiing to de-stress and to get away from things, this piece of equipment will work fine for you.
Anon Men’s Helo 2.o Helmet
Sizes: Small to X-Large
The Anon Helo 2.0 is very comfortable to wear and has a very warm inner fleece. This is another helmet that is audio compatible and comes with adjustable fit and feel. Additionally, it features:
- 6 different colors
- Magnetic buckles that can be opened with your gloves on
- EPS foam liner that can absorb hard impacts
It’s not the most expensive or the least expensive product; it costs around $100. Not a bad price for what you’re getting.
Giro Range MIPS Helmet
The last helmet on the list comes from a familiar brand, Giro. The Range MIPS has 13 eye popping colors to choose from and antibacterial padding. This product is GoPro and audio compatible and features:
- Magnetic buckles
- Comfrotbale In Form fit
- 2 shell construction for added protection
It’s fairly priced too and costs around $120. All kinds of skiers and snowboarders can enjoy this helmet.
Protect Your Head This Winter!
Skiing and snowboarding are two of the best winter sports.
There’s always injury risk associated with skiing and snowboarding and your head is very vulnerable. In order to have the most enjoyable day possible you need to be protected – a helmet is a great way to do that. No matter your skill level or budget you will find a product that suits you perfectly on this list; they’re the best of the best.
If you have any questions about what you’ve read leave a comment below and I’ll respond as fast as possible. If you want your friends and family to see share on social media
Are you ready for a safe ski and snowboard season?