It’s pretty rare to get a shout-out from a lifty about a ski helmet. But twice this month wearing the Proton Sr. Ski helmet it happened to me. The unconventional helmet that my buddies dubbed “helmetgoggle roboskier” certainly draws attention.
The Osbe Proton has a visor that flips up or down much like that on a motorcycle helmet and it has hard ear coverings. The visor is shiny with good optics and has striking if unorthodox looks.
I gave it a test for two days at Keystone Mountain and was generally pleased with it although it does have flaws. Read on for some plusses and minuses about this very unique helmet design.
The Gear: Osbe Proton Sr. Ski ($300)
First Impressions: The Proton Sr. Ski seems like an idea whose time has come. I mean, why not? The helmet/visor combination has been in use for decades by motorcyclists, so why can’t the two be married for skiing?
But when I first put the helmet on my head, I found the fit a little weird. The company explained you must rock the helmet far forward, otherwise the visor comes down onto the forehead and doesn’t fit at all. (Note: all testing done with nothing else on my head.)
Once the helmet is in place way forward, the fit is much better, but it does leave a gap at the back of the neck (brrr!). Osbe called this a “European fit” that people plan for with a scarf or neck gaiter. I suspect the gap is required to allow entry into the hard-eared design, but I really wish it wasn’t there. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but certainly something to consider.
The Osbe is well manufactured. The helmet, padding and visor all fit together perfectly and, once in place, were comfortable and functional other than the above mentioned gap.
Where To Test It: Resort skiing or snowboarding.
Who’s It For: Those with a penchant for Italian styling and yearning for equipment that stands out from the crowd. Serious skiers will find that the combo does work well if it fits properly, but may be better served by the standard helmet/goggle combination (which this helmet can do).
Removable Visor: The integrated visor is removable and allows the use of goggles, which is important for powder days when I doubt the visor would cut it. I have not used it on a powder day yet, but fogging was a minor problem on a cold sunny day.
The visor has soft foam where it contacts the face gently, blocking most wind (your eyes won’t water) but allowing a bit of airflow that keeps the visor clear at speed.
Fog developed if I left the visor down after a hard run. By lifting the goggles, the fog would not form, but then I was left squinting into bright sunshine and snow while waiting for fellow skiers. The fog did dissipate quickly when moving.
Cushion: The helmet fit my head snuggly and was comfortable for a long day on the mountain. The liner is removable and washable. I didn’t notice any overheating or sweat on my head.
The helmet is warm enough to be worn without a hat in temps around 10 degrees F, my coldest test.
Important Specs: Meets EN 1077 safety certifications.
- Multi-impact resistant shell made of a thermoplastic resin
- Visor provides UV400 protection
- Built-in audio earpads (audio accessory sold separately)
- Goggle strap holder on the back to keep goggles in place when not using visor
Made In: Italy
Killer! You will look like Robocop! Also, you can quickly open or close the visor.
Because of the visor design, there is none of the on-face pressure associated with elastic goggles.
Flaws: You will look like Robocop. Also, the gap at the back of the neck is cold and hard to cover with a scarf or a neck gator. I had a cold neck even in dry weather; I suspect it would be very chilly in a blizzard.
The visor fogged while standing still after hard exertion. I had to flip it up at the end of each run to keep fog at bay.
The full ear coverage makes for a large helmet that would be bulky for backcountry use.
Who Should Buy It: Resort skiers who want the convenience and novelty of putting goggles up and down quickly and those who are looking for a fashion accessory that stands out from the crowd.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Proton Sr. Ski by Osbe
—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC