Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Ski Helmet of 2021

We hit the slopes with the best options available from Smith, Giro, Oakley, Salomon, and more to help you find the right ski helmet
In style smiles and palm hits during a backcountry transition near Lak...
Photo: Steven Tata
Monday December 13, 2021
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We bought our snow experts 15 of the best ski helmets of 2021 for side-by-side testing. Over the last 7 years, we've examined 30+ models, always seeking the latest technology in dome protection. We take every model to the resort and into the backcountry to assess their performance across key metrics that you care about, like how warm they are on cold days and how well they ventilate on warm ones. Other factors, like comfort, weight, and goggle compatibility, were also tested and scored. As the market explodes with options, we make choosing the right product for your head easy. However you prefer to slide on snow, we have the recommendation to match your budget, needs, and style.

Top 15 Product Ratings

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award  
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$220 List
$219.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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73
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Pros Comfortable, warm, vents well, style points, compatible with most gogglesToasty, comfortable, really well-builtComfortable, warm, well vented, great hearing ability, easy to adjustMagnetic buckle, ventilation, protection features, style, BOA-adjustable fitGreat interior fit, stylish look, warm
Cons PriceyExpensive and a little heavyRuns a bit small, heavier than mostNo adjustable vents, priceEar flaps can be noisy
Bottom Line Deemed best of the best by our testers, there isn't a better combination of performance available from any model we have testedA top of the line helmet for the avid resort skier seeking warmth great featuresRevolutionary helmet that takes safety and style to the next levelA lightweight, comfortable, and feature-rich skate-style helmet that is great for those who traditionally prefer not to wear oneA high-end helmet at a price that is a step down from other top models
Rating Categories Smith Vantage MIPS Smith Quantum MIPS Scott Symbol 2 Plus D Anon Logan WaveCel Giro Zone MIPS
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Warmth (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Ventilation (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
6.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Goggle Compatibility (10%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Style (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Smith Vantage MIPS Smith Quantum MIPS Scott Symbol 2 Plus D Anon Logan WaveCel Giro Zone MIPS
Measured Weight (in ounces) 17.7 oz 21.0 oz 19.8 oz 17.1 oz 17.9 oz
Adjustment System Boa Fit System Boa FS360 fit system RAS 2 system 360° Boa Fit System In Form 2 Fit System, Vertical Tuning
# of Vents? 20 22 44 10 14
Number of Sizes 3 4 3 4 3
Removable Ear Covers? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Goggle Attachment? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visor? No No No No No
Audio Compatibility? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Certifications ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077 Class B EN1077:2007, Class B, EN12492:2012 CE 1077B & ASTM 2040 CE EN1077


Best Overall Ski and Snowboard Helmet


Smith Vantage MIPS


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8
  • Warmth 8
  • Ventilation 9
  • Weight 6
  • Goggle Compatibility 9
  • Style 7
Weight: 17.7 oz | Removable ear covers?: Yes
Good, versatile fit
Cozy
Excellent venting
Adjustment system
Expensive

The Smith Vantage MIPS has remained our favorite overall helmet for years. Its ventilation system, construction, and use of protective technology make it one of the best helmets money can buy. This helmet comes with various great features that help make this helmet so enjoyable with our reviewers. First is the easily adjustable Boa dial system. The Boa tightens the helmet and provides a custom fit for your head's shape, providing a pressure-point-free and comfortable experience. The versatile ventilation system is another notable feature. You can pick which vents to open and how much air flows through them. If any of those features don't quite suit your fancy, this helmet's tight construction also helps make it an easy choice for any die-hard skier. The Vantage uses MIPS technology to manage rotational impact forces associated with brain injuries. It also employs a generous amount of Koroyd. Koroyd is a welded tube structure designed to absorb impact forces and decrease your chances of serious injury.

The only real downside to the Vantage is its high price. The best doesn't come cheap, but when it comes to head protection, there's value in spending more to get more. The Vantage is appropriate for any skier or rider looking for the best ski helmet available on the market.

Read review: Smith Vantage

Best Bang for Your Buck


Giro Ratio MIPS


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6
  • Warmth 7
  • Ventilation 7
  • Weight 4
  • Goggle Compatibility 7
  • Style 6
Weight: 21.7 oz | Removable ear covers?: Yes
Adjustable vents
Dial for fit customization
MIPS
Heavy
Larger Profile

The Giro Ratio strikes an impressive balance of value and performance. The Ratio uses a cost-friendly hardshell construction to pair premium features on a reasonably priced ski helmet. The helmet has ten vents, six of which have adjustable capabilities. This is great for those who like to micro-manage their temperature. The fit is easy to adjust with a dial and harness system found on the back of the helmet. The dial has a large groove, which made it easier to move the dial with gloves on. To top it off, it is outfitted with MIPS to provide additional protection against rotational forces.

The low-cost hardshell construction is also the biggest con associated with this helmet. It's a bit more noticeable on your head when riding because of the increased weight and footprint. The bulky appearance also takes away some style points according to the feedback we solicited. For most skiers seeking a bargain, these minor drawbacks won't compare to the moeny saved when selecting this model. The Giro Ratio is a great option for those looking for a new lid for ski vacations that offers a great feature set and protective technology without the sticker shock.

Read review: Giro Ratio

Best Bargain for Resort and Backcountry Use


Smith Mission MIPS


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7
  • Warmth 7
  • Ventilation 8
  • Weight 6
  • Goggle Compatibility 8
  • Style 6
Weight: 16.9 oz. | Removable ear covers?: Yes
Ample and adjustable ventilation
Protective features
Lightweight
Somewhat dorky style
Earpads are tricky to remove

The Smith Mission MIPS is our recommendation as a budget-friendly helmet for those who frequently split their time between riding chairlifts and the backcountry. Purchasing a helmet for each activity can be a financial burden and unnecessary depending on one's touring goals. The Mission achieves an equitable share of both front and backcountry needs in a helmet. It is a well-balanced model that has many favorable features of a resort helmet like adjustable vents, a warm liner, MIPS, and Koroyd, all in a lightweight, low profile, backcountry-ready package. It only weighs a few ounces heavier than the lightest helmet in our review but offers more utility to the common ski tour. For the average recreational backcountry skier, the marginal weight increase is a reasonable tradeoff for enhanced impact protection and other amenities provided by this helmet. This unique balance of features and performance led to the Mission being one of the first helmets our testers reached for, whether it be a day riding groomers or touring out of our favorite trailhead.

The main hesitation our snowboarding reviewer had when reaching for this helmet was its styling. Fortunately, this is subjective, and anything can look stylish if you own it. Additionally, removing the earpads was more complicated than other models. When removing the pads, it felt similar to breaking the plastic insert. Because the pads are integrated into the harness system, you need to remove the harness attachment near the temple area of the helmet. Despite these minor quirks, the lightweight, functional, breathable, and protective nature of this helmet makes it a great option for those who want one helmet for front and backcountry use.

Read Review: Smith Mission MIPS

Best for Warmth


Smith Quantum MIPS


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8
  • Warmth 9
  • Ventilation 9
  • Weight 4
  • Goggle Compatibility 8
  • Style 6
Weight: 21 oz | Removable ear covers?: Yes
Comfort
Great venting
Superior construction
On the heavy side
Pricey

Smith has once again produced a top-of-the-line ski helmet with the Smith Quantum MIPS. It has all the features you'd expect from one of the nicest helmets on the market. This model feels luxuriously warm in comparison to other models. A large number of vents keep your head nice and cool on warm days, and the cozy ear covers are removable. Easy size adjustment using the BOA wheel, combined with MIPS technology and Koroyd construction, makes this one of the best fitting and most protective helmets we tested.

Much like its sibling, the Vantage, the Quantum doesn't come cheap, but you're buying the tricked-out Cadillac Escalade of helmets, so the quality and features help justify the price tag. The main differences between the Quantum and the Vantage are that the Quantum is a little heavier, comes with a magnetic buckle system, and doesn't vent quite as well as the Vantage.

Read Review: Smith Quantum MIPS

Best for Freestyle Riders


Anon Logan WaveCel


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8
  • Warmth 6
  • Ventilation 9
  • Weight 6
  • Goggle Compatibility 8
  • Style 9
Weight: 17 oz. | Removable ear covers?: Yes
Magnetic buckle
Style
Protection features
Adjustable harness
Fixed vents
price

The Anon Logan Wavecel is our recommendation for freestyle riders because of its comfort, ventilation, and protection features without losing out on style. The Anon Logan is a rather lightweight and low profile model, making it easy to forget about atop your noggin. This model incorporates Wavecel technology to increase its protective merit. Wavecel is a protection technology designed to flex, crumple, and glide to help dissipate force and prevent injuries from rotational impacts commonly experienced in ski accidents. The Logan is also a very well-ventilated helmet. The new school skate-inspired styling is at home whether you are free-riding or in the terrain park. This helmet makes little compromises to ensure it's one you will wear.

This light and comfortable helmet is only held back by its lack of adjustable vents. It was a bit airy when traveling at speed and on very cold days. While it offers impressive ventilation due to the vent structure and Wavecel, we needed a thin beanie on colder days to stay warm. Ultimately, this helmet is great for freestyle riders or those who generally don't like wearing a helmet. Its overall comfort and protective features make this helmet a no-brainer.

Read Review: Anon Logan Wavecel

Best for Ski Mountaineering


Salomon MTN Lab


62
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 4
  • Warmth 4
  • Ventilation 10
  • Weight 10
  • Goggle Compatibility 7
  • Style 5
Weight: 12.7 oz. | Removable ear covers?: Yes
Reasonably priced
Featherweight
Vents galore
Fixed vents
Tricky size adjustment

The Salomon MTN Lab is the most backcountry-specific helmet we tested. It's a bit of a hybrid, part mountaineering helmet, part ski helmet. At 12.7 oz., it's easily the lightest model we tested and is vented to the nth degree. It has a removable, washable inner liner. You also get a summer version of that liner for warmer days. The MTN Lab also sports some very nice mountaineering-geared features like a headlamp retainer to keep your headlamp from slipping off when your boot packing up a couloir after an alpine start. This helmet is great if the objective of choice has you debating between bringing your climbing helmet or your ski helmet. Often times with objectives of this nature, avalanche hazard is not your primary concern. Likely, it's rockfall or falling on potentially firm snow. Another good application of this helmet is for ultralight travelers and people who backcountry ski more than they resort ride.

Of course, the MTN Lab does have its drawbacks. It's certainly not a perfect helmet for all situations. All that ventilation? It's a bit of a one-way street. While most of our other favorite models can open and close their vents, the Salomon does not. That means that when it's cold or stormy, you're likely to be a little chilly. For downhill travel on those chilly days, we'd recommend a skull cap of some sort. And after many testers tried this helmet, those with round head shapes found the fit much better than those with oval-shaped domes. All told, while it does have its drawbacks and it is not a quiver-of-one product, the MTN Lab is more suited for serious backcountry skiers than any of the other helmets we tested.

Read Review: Salomon MTN Lab

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
80
$270
Editors' Choice Award
A top shelf helmet for the die-hard skier
79
$300
Top Pick Award
Expensive but luxurious
77
$220
This innovative helmet is full of new safety tech and style
76
$240
Top Pick Award
A freestyle-oriented helmet that doesn't skimp on protection and user-friendly features
73
$220
A high-quality helmet at a more moderate price point
71
$140
Best Buy Award
One helmet for your resort and backcountry endeavors
71
$270
You'll never have to worry about overheating or getting brain freeze with this helmet
70
$150
A good-looking helmet that provides an even better value
67
$160
Differentiated by its fit and unique rotational impact and energy dispersal systems
66
$240
An innovative helmet that aims to fit with any type of goggles you wear
64
$100
Best Buy Award
A value that few models are able to provide
62
$155
For the price, this is an impressive helmet that ventures from resort to backcountry well
62
$200
Top Pick Award
A helmet designed almost explicitly with backcountry skiing in mind
61
$220
A well-balanced model that provides ski and mountaineering specific protection with a blended feature set
55
$70
The most exciting aspect of this helmet is its bargain pricing, though spending more for protection against rotational forces makes sense to us

A group of ski and snowboard helmets we purchased, ready for a day...
A group of ski and snowboard helmets we purchased, ready for a day of testing.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Why You Should Trust Us


Sam Piper, Wes Berkshire, Alex Bogner, and Isaac Laredo are the experts behind this review. Wes is an avid skier who spends 150+ days a year outside using and testing gear. Sam brings a wealth of emergency services experience and training, having worked for Denali Rescue and as a ski patroller. He holds certifications in Avalanche Level II, swift water rescue, and Wilderness EMT-B. Alex went to school in Vermont for Mountain Recreation Management at Lyndon State College (now Northern Vermont University). He usually skis about 100 days a season and has managed to ski every month of the year. With a professional background in ski patrol and ski guiding, Alex often pushes his gear to the limit. Isaac reviews all things snowboarding. He has designed his life in pursuit of the perfect turn. Isaac spends 5-6 days a week strapped into his snowboard each winter and early spring, either ski guiding, teaching avalanche courses, or personally freeriding. He is meticulous about his gear and understands its capacity to make or break your experience. All of our experts bring valuable knowledge to the table to provide you with the best possible recommendations.

We test each ski helmet through extensive field testing. Our testers ski and ride as much as possible and frequently switch helmets, terrain, and conditions to ensure well-rounded information. We evaluate the comfort and warmth of each helmet with different head shapes, goggles, and temperatures. We assess the ventilation and weight through measurements as well as by feel when skiing and riding. We even poll a wide variety of users to gauge the style of each helmet. To obtain comprehensive data, we took them out time after time to use them ourselves, gave them to friends, and compiled all the feedback into this review. Our goal is to help you find the perfect ski helmet for the way you want to enjoy the mountain.

Related: How We Tested Ski Helmets

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Analysis and Test Results


We spent hundreds of hours comparatively testing these products to score them across a strategic set of metrics. We evaluated each model on comfort, warmth, ventilation, weight, goggle compatibility, and style. For detailed insight, the individual metrics should give you a better idea of how each helmet performs in particular categories. Continue reading to see our findings and top performers in each metric.

Related: Buying Advice for Ski Helmets


Value


The past few decades of material science have changed the way helmets are designed to offer more protection than ever before. A proper helmet is an incredibly worthy investment and is not the piece of gear to skimp on. Our advice is to purchase a comfortable and reliable ski helmet that's suited to your riding style, even if you have to spend a few extra dollars. The appropriate helmet always ends up on your head, and the wrong one will be a burden to wear or, even worse, not worn at all. That said, we all come to the table with different budgets, and we have tested a multitude of helmets to be able to a quality ski helmet for a wide range of budgets. Generally, we found that performance is associated with price; the most expensive models were the highest performing and offer the best protective technology. However, great values exist, and a few walk the line and stand out for their performance and price.

The Smith Vantage is one of the best helmets money can buy.
The Smith Vantage is one of the best helmets money can buy.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Protection is priority number one. Fortunately, most helmets offer MIPS versions (or similar technology) of helmets for a marginal price increase. We recommend you indulge in a rotational impact system (MIPS is just one example). It is mainly the features and molding process that drive up the price. Our testers' favorite, the Smith Vantage MIPS, comes in at a high price, but due to its category-leading performance, we still find it a solid value for those who have the means or find it on sale. If you're looking for a middle ground between features and price, then the Smith Mission MIPS and Giro Ratio MIPS offer great solutions at half the price of the top-tier models, but perform much better than "half" as good. The former is more versatile, handling resort and backcountry sliding well, while the latter costs less. The Giro Ledge is the least expensive product in this review, but we generally recommend springing for the MIPS version of this helmet, which increases its price to almost as much as the Ratio (a better ski helmet all around).

Comfort


An uncomfortable ski helmet can detract from your day on the mountain, and, eventually, that helmet will find itself in a stack of unused gear. You are more likely to wear a helmet if it is comfortable; especially those who dislike the feel of helmets. The molding, padding, shape, and fit of the ski helmet all play a role in overall comfort. Ideally, a comfortable helmet should adjust easily to provide a proper fit and then be forgotten about when you get to the joys of riding.


The Smith Vantage, Smith Quantum, Scott Symbol 2 Plus D, Smith Mission, Pret Cynic X2, and Anon Logan Wavecel are our highest-rated helmets for comfort. All these models have a solid, well-built feel to them that leaves you feeling well-protected straight away. The Vantage, Quantum, and Mission share some traits associated with the brand that add to their comfort. The Vantage and Quantum sport the BOA Fit wheel for smooth and effective personalizing of the interior fit. The Anon Logan also uses a BOA adjustable harness system. The fit wheel is located on the shell of the helmet, which makes it easier to find and make adjustments when wearing gloves. One of our favorite adjustment systems was on RCS Fit System the Pret Cynic X2 as it uses a very large dial with large contours and an audible click that helped us make adjustments with gloves on.

The BOA system offers great micro adjustability to fine-tune the...
The BOA system offers great micro adjustability to fine-tune the helmet's fit. Pictured here is the Smith Vantage.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

On all the Smith helmets, the ear pads are thick and well-padded, like mini pillows for your ears. Some of our testers did feel that the Quantum ear pads were a little too snug and left some residual soreness after a long, full day on the hill. The Quantum does, however, offer a sweat-wicking, anti-bacterial liner, which will keep your head dry and the smell factor down.

The perfect helmet should not be noticeable by the rider. A good...
The perfect helmet should not be noticeable by the rider. A good fit, accurate adjustment system, and low profile are essential. The POC OBEX accomplishes this.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Even when things are great on top of your head, a scratchy chinstrap that doesn't sit well can be a real deal-breaker. The Scott Symbol 2 Plus D was one helmet that featured a unique chinstrap that was extremely comfortable. The chinstrap is flat, soft, and wide, which was unlike any other helmet tested in this review. Specific to this helmet is the earpads. They are equipped with Scott's "360-degree Pure Sound" tech. This allows you to have improved hearing capabilities while still keeping your ears warm and toasty. We were initially skeptical but can report it is an improvement over most ear covers that greatly muffle sound and impede hearing.

Being easy to use is also a factor in comfort. Magnetic buckles like...
Being easy to use is also a factor in comfort. Magnetic buckles like this one on the Oakley Mod5 are very convenient.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The Giro Zone impressed us with its In Form 2 Fit System and cupped ear pads. The In Form System is similar to Smith's BOA Fit in that it's essentially an adjustable wheel at the back of the helmet that will snug up the interior fit to more accurately fit your head. While many of these systems seem to feel like they really only operate from the back of the helmet, the Zone felt like it was snugging our heads all the way around, kind of a nice feel. As for the ear pads, the Zone has more of a cupped design, meaning that, while still very well padded, your ear had a little better place to fit rather than just being mushed into the padding like most helmets. We did find that the cupped design added a little bit of wind noise at high speeds, but from a comfort standpoint, they were great.

Combining comfort and style in the Giro Zone.
Combining comfort and style in the Giro Zone.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The Right Fit
The fit is probably the most important factor in purchasing a helmet. A helmet that doesn't fit properly is likely to be uncomfortable, and more importantly, can compromise your protection. Some helmets are more suited to round head shapes, while others suit oval head shapes. Many helmets come with adjustable internal padding, which is useful in dialing in the fit to your head. Don't be afraid to actually use them to customize the fit of the helmet to your head.

The Giro Zone, Giro Ratio, and the Scott Symbol 2 Plus D have a long oval fit, while the Salomon MTN Lab fits round, oval heads best. The Shred Totality NoShock, Pret Cynic X2, and Sweet Protection Ascender seem molded to fit an intermediate oval. The Smith Vantage, Smith Quantum, Smith Mission, and Anon Logan are the best ski helmets at fitting a multitude of different head shapes. Determine your head shape by trying on a variety of models or by having a friend look straight down on your bare head.

A comfortable helmet should be unnoticeable throughout all types of...
A comfortable helmet should be unnoticeable throughout all types of skiing and riding.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Warmth


Ski helmets are, by and large, warmer than wearing a hat or hood while skiing. With a tight-fitting goggle/helmet combo, it's easy to feel completely protected from the raging blizzard. To evaluate warmth, we wore each helmet in various temperatures without skull caps and performed a series of high heat activities like walking up and downstairs to gauge heat retention.

The biggest design consideration to negatively affect warmth are fixed vents, i.e., vents that don't close. Whether you wear a beanie under your helmet or not, having cold air flowing through at all times can be pretty chilly. Another factor that plays into warmth is the ear pads. These hug the ears, and whether they can perform without being too tight is key. Tight ear pads can cause significant discomfort after hours on the hill. Lastly, some helmets just aren't padded and insulated that well, which makes them better suited for warmer environments.


The warmest helmet is the Smith Quantum. It has tensioned ear pads, vents that close, and is nicely padded for a snug, warm fit. It kept our heads comfortable and warm. The Smith Vantage and Scott Symbol 2 also provide plenty of warmth. The Giro Zone is configured so that most of their vents close, but a few are fixed open, and our testers found them to be a tad drafty. In general, open, fixed vents provide less warmth than those that open and close.

The Quantum is about as warm as a helmet can get. We didn&#039;t feel the...
The Quantum is about as warm as a helmet can get. We didn't feel the need for a beanie during testing, but you still might if you run cold. And no helmet protects your face from exposure, so consider adding a balaclava or buff.
Photo: Alex Bogner

The Shred Totality NoShock provides a toasty on-hill experience at a lower price than the Quantum. It has a soft interior lining that goes around the circumference of your head to provide additional warmth. The earpads are comfortable and yet remain draft-free. The vents are fixed but covered with a metal mesh sheet. In our testing, this seemed to increase the helmet's warmth by limiting air movement compared to fixed-open vent models.

The Pret Cynic X2 is one of the warmest helmets in the review despite its technically fixed vents, bucking the trend. The model employs a lined of blended wool and recycled polyester fleece to add plenty of warmth. Its Level One Ventilation has hidden flaps on the underside of the liner that can be deployed to block the vents and essentially close them. Our testers didn't appreciate that you need to remove your helmet and the liner to "close" these vents with the liner flaps, though.

The Shred Totality Noshock has fixed vents covered with a wire mesh...
The Shred Totality Noshock has fixed vents covered with a wire mesh. It blocked some air movement and remained relatively breathable in our testing.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Ventilation


Ventilation is the helmet's ability to cool you down and reduce head sweat. Ventilation for helmets comes in two flavors— vents and the ability to remove the earpieces. Vents that open and close allow for the most regulation, but having any vents at all will help pull air through the helmet. We skied on warm days and found that not all vents are created equal. Some of the helmets we tested look like they'll vent well, but the vents' configuration didn't work to create airflow. Additionally, many helmets these days have removable earpads. We strongly prefer this ability to customize our temperature regulation.


Removable earpieces increase the ventilation potential of a helmet. Removing the earpieces is enjoyable for warmer days. Still, it is more difficult to accomplish on the mountain than simply opening vents. Every model has removable earpieces except the Giro Zone.

The Salomon MTN Lab has vents for days.
The Salomon MTN Lab has vents for days.

The Salomon MTN Lab is easily the most vented helmet we tested. With huge, subdivided vents running the length of both sides of the helmet, airflow was never an issue. This ample ventilation is very welcome in ski mountaineering and touring situations. The Sweet Protections Ascender offers substantial ventilation, too. Rather than using big ventilation channels, the Ascender uses a strategic flow channel and a network of 108 small vents to effectively move air out. There is a cover that has a 2mm gap between the vents to block snow and spindrift from entering the helmet.

The 108 &quot;Penetration Proof Vents&quot; of the Sweet Protection Ascender.
The 108 "Penetration Proof Vents" of the Sweet Protection Ascender.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The Smith Vantage also vents very well, with options to close all or just some vents at a time. Smith Quantum, Smith Mission, and Giro Ratio all have adjustable vents, and they vent well. The Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS and Scott Symbol 2 Plus D all vented very effectively as well.

Adjustable vents can make your helmet more versatile across...
Adjustable vents can make your helmet more versatile across different weather conditions. Pictured here is the Smith Vantage.
Photo: Isaac Laredo


The Wavecel construction of the Anon Logan creates increases the overall ventilation of the helmet. The Wavecel insert has a lot of negative space that allows air to move freely throughout the helmet. This model had one of the best ventilation scores despite only having 10 vents.

The Wavecel construction of the Anon Logan enhances its ventilation...
The Wavecel construction of the Anon Logan enhances its ventilation performance, a secondary benefit to its added protection.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Weight


All of the helmets we tested are certified to meet specific protection standards through the American Society for Materials and Testing and or the European Committee for Standardization. That means they've passed rigorous testing and met thorough standards to ensure that they will keep your noggin as protected as possible as you zoom downhill. There's no truth to the idea that a heavier, bulkier helmet automatically means a safer helmet. The difference in size stems from different construction techniques. We weighed each model and then evaluated the helmet's overall profile by how it felt when skiing and its ability to fit under the hood of a ski jacket. Of course, this can depend not only on the helmet you choose but also on the ski jacket you wear. Therefore, we used the same jacket for each test.

Related: Best Ski Jackets for Men of 2021

In-mold helmets are usually lighter and lower profile, while injection-molded models tend to be heavier and bulkier.


The lightest ski helmet we tested is the Salomon MTN Lab, weighing just 12.7 oz on our scale. The Smith Maze and Giro Ledge also land on the lighter end of things. The Smith Mission is another lightweight option at 16.9 oz for a size Large. It's less noticeable than heavier models when riding.

The Smith Mission uses in-mold construction that produced this...
The Smith Mission uses in-mold construction that produced this wonderfully lightweight helmet.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The slimmer, in-mold constructed helmets, such as the Giro Zone Smith Vantage, and Sweet Protection Ascender, fit better and easier under hoods than injection-molded models like the Oakley MOD 5 MIPS or the Giro Ratio.

Features add weight to helmets. A few models that we really like are not high scorers in the metric such as the Smith Quantum. Although some are a little on the heavy side, they come with all the bells and whistles that make helmets super desirable. These few extra ounces are worthwhile for most resort riders as they can improve the fit and overall user experience of the helmet.

During the test period, this helmet felt great on resort laps and on...
During the test period, this helmet felt great on resort laps and on the skin track, as it weighs less than most.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Goggle Compatibility


Your helmet and goggles should work in tandem, creating a tight seal between the two on your forehead. Goggles and helmets should fit seamlessly, meaning there should be no gap between the two and they also should not be competing for real estate. Your helmet should not be pushing down on your goggles. Leaving a gap provides space for freezing air to blast against your forehead. Alternatively, pressure points and headaches can arise if the helmet is pressing on the goggles. We assessed goggle compatibility by trying each helmet out with different goggles from various brands and evaluating the helmet shape and goggle retention system.

A seamless intersection between the helmet brim and goggles with the...
A seamless intersection between the helmet brim and goggles with the Giro Ratio.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Another aspect of this integration is fog prevention. Goggles fog from warm air from your body interacting with cold air from outside. It creates condensation. Goggles have a ventilation system to flush away the warm air, and some helmets have intake vents to direct airflow to the goggle. This should decrease fogging. Several helmets like the Scott Symbol 2 Plus D, Shred Totality NoShock, Giro Ratio, and more have vents in the front to help promote airflow directly onto the goggles to prevent fogging.


The Smith Vantage, Smith Maze, Giro Zone, Anon Logan, Pret Cynic X2, and Oakley MOD5 seem to fit the widest variety of goggles. They all managed to create a good goggle/helmet seal without compromising the space between the bridge of the nose and the brim of the helmet. They all also managed to form a good seal between goggle and helmet at the user's temples.

Seamless goggle compatibility with the Anon M2 and Smith Maze helmet.
Seamless goggle compatibility with the Anon M2 and Smith Maze helmet.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The Smith Vantage and Sweet Protection Ascender have very secure and durable bungee goggle retainers that are user-friendly and discreet. This is a welcome change from the standard, sometimes thin plastic hook found on many helmets.

The bungie-style goggle retainer is one of our favorite styles, as...
The bungie-style goggle retainer is one of our favorite styles, as see on the Smith Vantage. The leather pull tab adds welcomed bonus points for gloved hands.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The modular design of the Oakley MOD5 might appeal to you, especially if you employ a rotation of goggles for your skiing needs or you can't try before you buy. It comes with two brims of different sizes to adjust to fit multiple goggle frame sizes. It takes a screwdriver and a few minutes, so this isn't an on-the-hill kind of exchange, but doing it at home is easy.

Oakley&#039;s Modular Brim System.
Oakley's Modular Brim System.

Style


Style, like the fit, is crucial to your ski helmet purchase. If you don't like the way it looks, you might not end up wearing it, and that does no good at all! Style is an entirely subjective category—so as long as you like the look of the helmet you choose, that's all that matters. We did go to the effort of asking our ski partners and friends their general opinions on each model.


As we've mentioned above, in-molded helmets tend to be sleeker in shape, like the Smith Vantage or the Giro Zone, while the injection-molded models have a bulker, larger profile, such as the Giro Ratio or Giro Ledge. Many of these helmets come in an array of colors, making them easy to pair with your outfit on the slopes, and some are two-tone, which can help match more outfits. Helmets with visors can complicate putting goggles up onto the brim of your helmet. However, through our tests, we found that visors were less of an issue, especially if you're mindful of keeping the goggle strap relatively low on the sides of the helmet.

Our testers know a thing or two about style. Or, at least, they...
Our testers know a thing or two about style. Or, at least, they think they do.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Choosing a ski helmet can seem like a daunting task. Our intention with this review is to help you quickly and accurately identify the right model or models for your specific needs. Don't get distracted by fancy marketing. Use our assessments and experience to guide you toward the model that helps you ski and feel like a pro.

Zero fun was had while assessing these helmets. No, indeed, none at...
Zero fun was had while assessing these helmets. No, indeed, none at all.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Isaac Laredo, Wes Berkshire, and Alex Bogner

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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

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