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The 7 Best Ski & Snowboard Helmets of 2020-2021

You may not always agree with your mom on everything, but one thing she said that should be a no-brainer is “Helmets are cool!” Like, really cool. Sure, when you’re a kid, they might seem a little unnecessary, after all, it’s just soft snow, right? And then somewhere along the way, that changes. You find out first hand that mountains aren’t just made of soft snow, there’s really hard rocks and trees scattered around too. And helmets keep your ears warm, make it harder to lose your goggles in a crash, and just generally make your head more comfortable. At some point, most skiers and snowboarders begin wearing a helmet whenever they ski or ride, not just for the safety side of things, but also for the increased comfort.

Of course, saying ‘helmets are cool” is about as convincing as a 90’s D.A.R.E program, but they really are. Unless you’re in some dated, uncomfortable, ugly helmet that’s probably not keeping you any safer than that kid you saw on the chairlift in a hockey helmet. So here’s a list of the best ski and snowboard helmets that you’ll be happy to wear, even if your mom isn’t yelling at you to make sure it’s buckled as you ride away.


Smith Quantum MIPS

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

The word “Quantum” conjures images of lab-coated scientists using expensive equipment that, if they messed up the settings, could maybe accidentally create a new superhero or villain. And honestly, that’s probably the sort of setting that spawned the Quantum. It’s Smith's top-of-the-line helmet with all the tech and features you’d expect for one of the best ski & snowboard helmets on the market. Adjustable vents? Check! Micro-adjustable BOA system, magnetic Fidlock buckle, and floating MIPS liner? Check, check and check! And underneath all the fancy bells and whistles lies the real magic of the Quantum, its Aerocore construction. This design makes the Quantum shockingly lightweight and comfortable without compromising on safety, and it allows unprecedented airflow over your head for those hot spring days.

Of course, all of that technology comes at a price, this isn’t our top helmet for the budget-minded shopper, but brains are important, and in the grand scheme of things, the Quantum’s price tag is small in comparison to the value of keeping your head comfortable and protected. If you want all the features and all the safety, the Quantum MIPS is the helmet for you.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
S-XL595 g$300

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Smith Mirage MIPS - Women's

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

The Mirage is Smith’s answer for the woman who values performance and protection just as much as clean styling and comfort. While the Mirage doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as the Quantum, it’s still got the essentials to keep your brain safe and your head comfortable. It’s got the same Koroyd construction as Smith’s more expensive helmets, along with adjustable vents so that you can dial in how much wind is moving over your scalp. Throw in a MIPS liner and an adjustable dial for the fit system, and we’ve got a winner that doesn’t break the bank. And Smith makes the Mirage in a range of colors, from subdued black to classy purple.

Cost should never stand in the way of getting a new helmet, and with the Mirage, it doesn’t have to. It’s a fraction of the cost of top of the line options, but still has many of the same important features. If you’re always searching for a deal, but don’t want to compromise the safety of your brain, the Mirage is, well, a no-brainer.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
S-XL450 g$130

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Oakley Mod 5 MIPS

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

Oakley has long been known for their ski and snowboard goggles, but recently they decided that they might as well cover your whole head, not just your eyes, so they jumped into the helmet game as well. The result? High-tech, futuristic looking helmets like the MOD 5 that blend function with on-slope fashion. Yes, this helmet looks cool, but it also stays cool too, thanks to an integrated venting system that’s designed to draw hot air away from your goggles to keep them from fogging.

Oakley has really dialed in the details with the MOD 5, from the BOA adjustment system, to special ear cups that keep your ears warm and comfortable. They’ve even built in a swappable visor, and each helmet comes with two sizes so you can customize the look and how it interfaces with your goggles. And the liner is removable and washable so you never have to deal with a stinky helmet. If you’re a fan of Oakley goggles and want to bring that same level of quality to your helmet, the MOD 5 makes a whole lot of sense.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
S-LN/A$240

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POC Obex BC Spin

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

For a lot of skiers and riders, POC is synonymous with safety. That’s the main focus of the Swedish brand, form follows function. And that’s not to say that their helmets don’t look good too, it’s just that POC is obsessed with keeping your brain from getting sloshed around. To that end, the Obex uses POC’s special “Spin” technology that allows the helmet to float and rotate a little bit independently from your head, this helps it absorb sliding and rotating impacts in crashes better. It’s also got Aramid panels to help protect your brain from sharp impacts from trees or rocks. Taken together, it's one of the safest ski & snwonard helmets. 

For riders that like to venture into the backcountry, the Obex has a Recco chip to aid rescuers in the event of an avalanche and a RFID chip that stores any pertinent medical information they might need. If you put safety at a priority, it’s hard to go wrong with the POX Obex BC Spin.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
XS-XXLN/A$249

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Anon Prime MIPS

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

The Prime MIPS is one of the higher-end helmets from Anon, they’ve really gone to great lengths to sweat the details, in some cases literally. At the heart of the Prime MIPS lies Anon’s “passive venting” system that sucks air through the helmet to keep your scalp cool and your goggles from fogging. Because it’s better to have a helmet that keeps your goggles from fogging than to need a helmet because your goggles are fogged and you’re hitting trees.

But it’s not all about the venting, the Prime also has a sleek magnetic buckle so you can impress folks on the chairlift with how smoothly you buckle and unbuckle your helmet with just one hand. And of course, there's a MIPS liner to help deal with impacts, as well as a BOA adjustment system and comfy fleece ear pads. Look good, feel good, safety. The Prime MIPS delivers on all three.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
S-XL532 g$219

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Giro Grid MIPS

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

One of the most important attributes of the best ski or snowboard helmets is how well they interfaces with goggles. It’s one of the most important gear junctions in ski equipment, right up there with the boot/binding interface. Too high of a brim and you’ll have the dreaded “gaper gap” between your helmet and goggles, with the cold forehead it brings. Too low, and your goggles will get pushed down over your nose, uncomfortable and annoying. Giro knows this, and they also know how to make great goggles, so the Grid is designed to interface seamlessly with a huge array of goggles. With that taken care of, Giro also packed the Grid with all the high-end features you’d expect, from an easy-to-adjust-with-gloves-on thermostat venting system, to the new MIPS Spherical system and removable earpads, the Grid spares no expense.

So if you want to make sure your helmet plays nicely with your goggles, and has all the bells and whistles it needs to adapt to any type of day on the snow, get in the Grid, your head will thank you later.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
S-L400 g$279

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Smith Maze & Smith Allure - Women's

Best 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmetsBest 2020-2021 ski & snowboard helmets
 
 

Smith’s Maze (and the women’s Allure version) are classics for a reason. They’re no-frills, everything you need and nothing that you don’t, helmets designed to look good and work well, no matter what your ski day looks like. There’s no magnetic buckles, adjustable venting, or ratcheting adjustment systems. Instead the Maze and Allure feature a super lightweight in-mold EPS construction, a comfortable self-adjusting elastic rear band, and timeless styling. All of that combines to make the Maze the lightest helmet on this list by quite a margin, so your neck won’t get tired after long days on the hill, and it won’t weigh down your pack for backcountry missions.

Sometimes, less is more. With the Maze, you can strip your ski helmet down to the essentials: something that protects your head from impacts, and reap the rewards of a lighter, simpler helmet.

Sizes AvailableWeight (M) Original Price 
S-XL350 g$120

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