Choosing skiing and snowboarding helmets can be one of the most important gear purchases of the season. We are often asked for our opinion on the best ski helmets, but before we get into our picks for the season, here are the different features of a ski and snowboard helmet you should be taking into account:
Skiing and Snowboarding Helmets 101
The easiest way to make sure you have picked the best ski helmet is proper fit. The shake test is the best way to determine whether or not your helmet fits: shake your head up and down and side to side with your helmet on. Does it move around at all? If so, you'll want to readjust the fit or move to a new helmet size.
There are three main types of ski and snowboard helmet construction: In mold, hard shell ABS, and soft shell. The rule of thumb with helmet construction is that most / all helmets are designed for a single, significant impact. After one impact it is almost always a good idea to get a new helmet as the construction has likely been compromised.
Ventilation is important to keep air flowing through the helmet and preventing over heating. This helps keeps your goggles from fogging up and makes your ski day more comfortable. We recommend looking for helmets that have adjustable vents so you can adapt to changing conditions on the mountain.
There are a number of agencies that rate ski helmets for impact safety. In the U.S. the most common certification is ASTM F2040 - you should confirm that your helmet passed this certification before purchasing.
Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets for 2018 - Our Picks
The ultimate in low profile and lightweight protection. With MIPS technology and level 1 ventilation, we find ourselves reaching for the Pret Cynic X over every other helmet we've tried. Bonus: they fit great with our goggles.
Updatedwith a new compression formed convertible liner for this season, the K2 Diversion is a fantastic skiing and snowboarding helmet for someone looking for both light weight and safety. The Diversion's hybrid design combines the best elements of molded and hard shell constructions.
Made with MIPS technology, the Trooper II is our favorite high end free riding ski and snowboarding helmet. The helmet is one of the safest on the market today and includes built in audio capabilities and a 2 year warranty.
MIPS technology reduces rotational forces
TCF shell is lightweight yet strong and rigid
EPS foam provides shock absorption
Impact Shield inserts distribute shock
Occigrip adjustment dial for a custom fit
Other things to consider when purchasing a ski or snowboarding helmet
Compatibility with goggles
Most new helmets on the market have matched the curvature of the helmet to modern goggle styles. To be safe, you want to avoid goggles that are too tight (pushing the helmet up off your head) or too open (leaving a gap between the helmet and goggles). Our ski and snowboard goggles are designed to fit with most new helmets on the market today.
Ski helmets serve as the main source of coverage for your head and face. You'll want a helmet that has adequate lining to keep you warm, and adequate ventilation to keep the sweat away. You don't want to be adding extra layers under your helmet (beanies, balaclavas) as this can change the fit of your helmet and compromise safety.
MIPS is a relatively new technology that consists of a "helmet-integrated, low friction layer designed to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head." In short, this adds another element of protection that can help prevent certain head injuries.