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With fresh powder starting to cover the mountains, it’s time to upgrade your ski or snowboard equipment. The first piece of gear to get dialed-in? Your trusty helmet.
Whether you’re new to skiing and snowboarding or you’re a hardened pro, a reliable helmet is always a must-have. Even if you’re confident on the slopes, other skiers and snowboarders can be a major hazard. Also, it’s a good idea to upgrade your helmet every couple years. Not only do helmets wear down and become less safe, but there are also some exciting advancements in helmet tech each year with new models that are lighter, more comfortable and more stylish.
When picking a ski or snowboard helmet, there are a few things to consider before buying. Obviously, price is a big factor for most shoppers, and helmets can range anywhere from $30 to $300 for a high-end model. The more expensive options will typically offer better ventilation, lighter weight, exact fit customization and so on.
You’ll also find specialized helmets for backcountry skiing, convertible helmets for biking as well and even some high-tech options.
Whatever your needs, price-range or preferences, we’ve got you covered. Read on to see our favorite ski and snowboard helmets of the year.
1. Oakley Mod 5 Ski/Snowboarding Helmet
For most buyers, we recommend skipping the hassle of shopping and picking up one of these Oakley Mod 5 helmets (and doing it fast, as it’s steeply discounted on Amazon right now). The helmet features an innovative hybrid shell that protects against bumps and punctures from trees or other skiers, plus a modular brim system works with just about any pair of goggles in your closet. You also get a wide range of size adjustment for a safe, snug fit, and a variable venting system for keeping cool or staying warm. And to top it all off, the helmet scores top marks for style as well.
2. Monata Ski Snowboard Helmet
If you’re new to skiing/snowboarding or shopping on a tight budget, go for this highly affordable helmet from Monata. It costs less than $30, making it the best deal you’ll find. But despite the helmet’s low price, users say it’s well made and lightweight. It’s a great option if you’re not sure you’ll continue hitting the slopes, or as an extra helmet for guests and newbies.
3. Smith Holt Helmet
Another great budget option is this Holt helmet from Smith. Smith is an industry-leader with some truly incredible (although expensive) helmets that you’ll see further down our list. The Holt is their affordable, pared-down model. It’s very streamlined for lightweight performance and features a durable ABS built to keep your noggin safe.
4. Smith Vantage Helmet
This Smith Vantage helmet is the best-of-the-best. Period. It sweeps 1st place in most ski/snowboard helmet rankings, but we had to bump it down a notch due to the high price. However, if you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed. It utilizes a Boa dial to secure the perfect fit, 21 adjustable vents for the right temperature and a lightweight, high-tech liner for comfortable safety.
5. POC Sports Fornix Backcountry Helmet
BEST BACKCOUNTRY HELMET
When you’re trekking through a back trail or going on a leisurely ski tour, helmets are still highly recommended. However, helmets for backcountry skiing can be much smaller and more lightweight than regular helmets. We recommend this POC Sports helmet for heading off the beaten slopes because it has MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) and an avalanche rescue reflector for real safety. Otherwise, it’s geared toward comfort with adjustable ventilation and a comfortable lining so you can trek all day.
6. Lucky Bums Snow Sport Helmet
Based on Amazon reviews, this Lucky Bums helmet is a winner. It boasts over 1,000 ratings and 4.2 stars, making it the highest-rated ski/snowboard helmet we could find. Some users have noted a great fit that holds goggles in place, but almost all of the reviewers rave about one thing: the price.
7. Smith Optics Quantum
MOST INSULATED HELMET
Hitting the slopes somewhere especially cold? Consider this Smith Optics helmet. While all ski/snowboard helmets will give you some protection against the cold, this one takes things up a notch. Still, if it gets warm, the helmet features adjustable vents to cool down.
8. Swagtron Bluetooth Ski & Snowboard Helmet
MOST HIGH-TECH OPTION
As with most products these days, there are a few high-tech ski helmets. This one from Swagtron is our favorite with BlueTooth connectivity for built-in audio, hands-free calling, walkie-talkie function and an SOS system that detects impacts. Considering these tech features, it’s also not too expensive at $120.
9. Retrospec Convertible Bike/Ski/Snowboard Helmet
BEST HYBRID BIKE AND SKI HELMET
They might look similar, but bike and ski helmets have a few key differences such as coverage and shell size. However, you can get a hybrid in the form of this helmet from Retrospec. It combines the key features of both a bike helmet and a ski/snowboard helmet for one year-round helmet.
10. Giro Range Snow Helmet
BEST FOR GOPRO OWNERS
If you usually take your GoPro on the mountain, this Giro helmet might be a good upgrade. It has an integrated camera mount on the top, so you don’t have to worry about losing your device. Plus, it’s also a high-end helmet with MIPS, a stylish low-profile fit and a semi-flexible construction.