Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing a snowboard helmet at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

The Best Ski Helmets of 2022-2023

Our mountain-loving team has found the best ski and snowboard helmets of 2022-2023 to fit every budget and style.

From the bunny slope to the backcountry, a helmet is an essential part of every skier’s kit. Nowadays, helmet use on the slopes has become nearly universal — and for good reason. Modern ski and snowboard helmets are lighter, safer, and more comfortable than ever before.

As always, the best helmet is the one on your head. But not all ski helmets are created equal, and it’s worthwhile to invest some time to find the perfect model for you.

Our team has scoured the market to identify a shortlist of the best helmets in the game. At the end of our list, be sure to check out the comprehensive buyer’s guide and FAQ to learn about helmet materials, sizing, features, and much more. Also, have a look at our comparison chart to steer your decision-making.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for:

The Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets of 2022-2023

Best Overall Ski Helmet: Wildhorn Highline Snow Helmet

Wildhorn Highline Snow Helmet

For starters, Wildhorn is an official supplier of the U.S. Ski Team. And the brand’s OG helmet, the Drift, is a longstanding popular helmet among everyday skiers and riders.

Given that impressive track record, we were eager to check out the brand’s second-ever design: the new 2022 Highline ($130), featuring a handful of noteworthy upgrades.

To enhance safety, the Highline incorporates MIPS (the Drift lacks a rotational impact system), as well as a stylish matte and gloss finish. One of the best qualities is the adjustable ventilation.

There are 14 vents total including two near the forehead, eight on top, and four in back. The eight vents on top can open and close using a hand-operated slider.

We immediately noticed the warmth and protection of the closed vents while alpine skiing and riding on cold days (0-10 degrees F) at the resort, especially with wind.

We also really like the size adjustability, using the brand’s Fine Tune Adjust system, which is an easy-to-grasp dial in the back of the helmet that fine-tunes the sizing cage inside the helmet.

Labeled as lightweight, we also found the Highline does feel lighter than other helmets we’ve tested. The comfortable, plush ear pads can also store audio pucks through a Velcro opening. And the goggle strap has a snap closure, so your eye protection definitely won’t go flying off.

Within the first 3 weeks of launch, the Highline sold out. So, don’t wait if you want it!

Specs:
  • Weight: 16 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 14 including adjustability
Pros:
  • Liner is made to stay fresh longer with the XT2 anti-odor technology
  • Closure strap has a soft cushion to protect face and chin
  • Sleek shape pairs well with goggles
Cons:
  • Magnetic buckle takes time to get used to if you’re used to traditional buckles

Check Price at Amazon Check Price at Walmart

Best Value Ski Helmet: Giro Ratio MIPS Helmet

giro ratio mips helmet

On the more economic end of helmets on this list, the Giro Ratio MIPS helmet ($120) comes with much of the same top-shelf technology. With plentiful vents, MIPS, and a smooth dial adjustment system, the Ratio strikes an excellent balance between price and features.

The Ratio is an injection-molded helmet that fits a wide variety of head shapes. Users report all-day comfort and minimal hot spots.

The soft earpads are mostly issue-free, but they do tend to let some chilly breeze in when traveling at higher speeds. Giro’s In Form System offers plenty of adjustment and is easy to access while wearing gloves or mittens.

While the Ratio isn’t the warmest helmet on the market, it does include a nice synthetic lining that feels pleasantly toasty in most conditions — especially when the vents are closed. On warm days, the large vents maintain comfortable airflow and prevent overheating with ease.

The Ratio is a perfect name for this helmet — it offers one of the greatest ratios of features-to-price of any ski helmet on the market. While it’s not the lightest, flashiest, or most impressively engineered, this is a quality helmet at a fair price point.

Specs:
  • Weight: 20 oz. (small)
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 10 vents that are adjustable
Pros:
  • Good value
  • Effective ventilation system
Cons:
  • Earflaps let cold air in at high speeds

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry

Runner-Up Best Ski Helmet: Pret Cirque X MIPS

Pret Cirque X MIPS

Pret is a helmet specialist based in Park City, Utah, and the Cirque X ($250) is among the company’s most advanced models. It features the whole gamut of modern helmet technology and features in a lightweight and low-profile package.

An adjustable ventilation system keeps the Cirque warm and comfortable in just about any conditions. When it’s extremely cold and you need a little extra protection, the Cirque can open up to easily accommodate a balaclava or thin beanie. On warmer days, you can quickly remove the earflaps and store them in a jacket pocket or backpack.

While the Cirque X is generally a nice-looking piece of protection, we especially like its functional and aesthetic compatibility with just about any pair of goggles. Cutaways above the ear flaps and a shallow brim across the front are designed to neatly and comfortably frame your goggles. The shape of the Cirque X successfully minimizes awkward gaps and goggle slippage.

Other features of the Cirque include MIPS, earbud pockets in the earflaps, an easy-to-use magnetic buckle, and an antimicrobial fabric liner.

Specs:
  • Weight: 16 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 10 that are adjustable
Pros:
  • High-quality construction and materials
  • Easily adjustable for comfort in any conditions
  • Low-profile fit combines well with most goggles
Cons:
  • A bit pricer than other options

Check Price at evoCheck Price at Amazon

Best Women’s-Specific Ski Helmet: Smith Vantage

Smith Vantage Women's

The Smith Vantage ($270) is loaded with safety, style, and comfort for lady skiers and riders. In addition to MIPS, this dialed-in Smith helmet integrates Zonal Koroyd, which are welded tubes that crumple upon impact to absorb force and energy transfer. The technology is extremely lightweight and allows airflow, too.

No matter how thick your hair is or if you prefer to wear a beanie under your helmet, you can tune in the size with the BOA dial. (Be sure to measure your head and check the sizing chart to choose the correct size.)

To avoid fogged-up vision, the helmet’s ventilation system is compatible with Smith goggles. Otherwise, there are 21 vents total to help cool you down on hot, sunny days or while you’re working up a sweat on powder runs through the glades. The front and rear vents are adjustable with slide closures.

If the conditions get warm enough, you can remove the snap-in-place ear pads. And the antimicrobial liner, which is activated by sweat, helps prevent odors in the long run.

Beyond gradual sizes, the helmet is also offered in a round contour fit, which is more comfortable for certain head shapes.

Specs:
  • Weight: 17.6 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS, Zonal Koroyd
  • Number of vents: 21 with adjustable sliders
Pros:
  • Great fit
  • Serves skiers and riders in colder or warmer conditions
  • Looks good
  • Doubled up on rotational impact protection
Cons:
  • An investment

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Helmet for Skimo & Uphill Workouts: Backcountry Access BC Air Helmet

Backcountry Access BC Air Helmet

Designed for skiing the skin track, racing, ski mountaineering, and bootpacking or ascending below any overhead hazards is the new-for-2022 Backcountry Access BC Air Helmet ($150). We appreciate that we don’t need to add another step to our transition and can comfortably keep this helmet on for an entire workout or quick laps.

Despite an incredible surplus of ventilation — 59 ports cover the entire scope of the helmet for passive all-around airflow — this design is certified for alpine skiing and snowboarding as well as cycling. Interior channels in the EPS liner, which is molded directly to the polycarbonate shell, enable air to pass between the head and helmet.

On each side and in the front corners of the helmet are four clips to secure your headlamp (one of our favorite features while testing this helmet), so it won’t slide off during your workout or mission. The anchors for the clips double as ventilation ports.

The BOA fit system is an easy-to-adjust dial in the back, letting you fine-tune the fit according to whatever headband or sweatband you wear over your forehead and ears for the conditions. In warm weather, the streamlined and well-ventilated ear pads of the Access BC Air are removable for even more aeration.

Inside, the padding is strategically placed and comfortable but minimalist. This is good in our book for limiting sweat-absorbing and odor-catching material.

Specs:
  • Weight: 11.9 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: None
  • Number of vents: 59 passive ports
Pros:
  • Adequate ventilation for uphill comfort during rigorous workouts
  • Comfortable fit
  • Adjustable sizing
Cons:
  • Too much airflow for doubling as an everyday resort helmet

Check Price at Backcountry

Best Ventilation: Sweet Protection Switcher

sweet protection switcher

Whether you’re riding within resort boundaries or out in the backcountry, the Sweet Protection Switcher ($270) offers reliable comfort and protection. The standout feature of this helmet is its extremely effective ventilation system, which allows for precise temperature control in all sorts of conditions.

Additionally, the switcher comes well equipped with standard high-end features including MIPS, earbud compatibility, and a powerful magnetic chinstrap buckle.

When the vents are fully closed, the Switcher retains heat as well or better than any skiing helmet on the market. On super-cold days, most people feel this helmet provides all the insulation they need, though the adjustment system does offer space for a thin beanie if need be.

On a balmy spring day, 26 thoughtfully placed and adjustable vents maintain noticeable cooling airflow. In addition, two manual sliding vents near the front provide even more customization.

Though the Switcher is a little heavier and a little pricier than some similar helmet styles on the market, we’re confident it’s still a great value due to its superior build and best-in-class ventilation control. As a bonus, it comes in a wide variety of colors and looks great while in use.

Specs:
  • Weight: 20.1 oz. (small/medium)
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 26 that are adjustable
Pros:
  • Adjustable ventilation system
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish
Cons:
  • Slightly heavier and more expensive than some similar options

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Best Multisport Design: Bern Winter Macon 2.0

Bern Macon 2.0 MIPS

Well-known for serving athletes year-round and providing great bang for the buck, the style-forward Bern Winter Macon 2.0 ($80) is capable of protecting your noggin on snow and wheels, too. For a comfortable multisport helmet, the price is more than reasonable.

The helmet meets the European safety standard for adult and kid cycling, skateboarding, and roller skating, which is doubled up with the ASTM International specifications for skateboarding and trick roller skating.

The design also meets the European criteria for adult and kid helmets for skiing and snowboarding. Stateside, the helmet hits the marks for approval from the U.S. safety standard for adult and kid helmets. For additional protection, the helmet features MIPS.

To help gals and guys cool down on their skate park laps or ski runs, there are 12 integrated fixed vent ports. The ports aren’t closable, so on super-cold or blustery days at the ski area, it’s ideal to have a tad more space in your helmet to pull on a beanie beneath. Be sure to size up a smidge if you need to — but you don’t want the helmet to be loose.

Rather than a manual adjustment dial to tune in the fit, an elastic system stretches around the head as needed. We found the system is functional, but the articulated plastic in the back, which is shaped like two wings and is held together by an elastic band, pulls long hair if it’s tied in a ponytail.

The protective, comfortable ear flaps are easy to install and remove when the weather turns. The back clip for goggles is simple (it doesn’t snap or lock in place).

As a bonus, Bern also integrates two small holes on the helmet’s backside for mounting the brand’s rechargeable bike light, the Quickmount Asteroid, which has three light modes ($30).

Specs:
  • Weight: 13.3 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 12 fixed ports
Pros:
  • Year-round helmet for sports on snow and wheels
  • Comfortable for moderate winter conditions
  • Streamlined fit
Cons:
  • Too aerated for extreme cold or severe winter storms
  • Elastic fit system can tug hair when pulled on with a ponytail

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Kids’ Ski Helmet: Giro Crue

Giro Crue

The Crue helmet ($95) from Giro packs the very same protection technology found in elite adult helmets into a kid-size model. With a durable adjustment dial, MIPS, and classic skate style, the Crue is fully capable of park laps and backcountry missions.

Giro’s Super Cool vents are on par with the best ventilation systems on the helmet market. We like that this helmet has an extra-large vent that aligns perfectly with the central vent of a pair of goggles to reduce fogging and increase visibility.

With up to 6 cm of adjustability, the Crue can easily open up to accommodate a beanie or buff on cold days. For the young shredder, this helmet is the perfect blend of protection and style.

Specs:
  • Weight: 18 oz. (medium)
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 9 that are fixed
Pros:
  • MIPS is hard to find in youth helmets
  • Good ventilation
Cons:
  • Works best with Giro goggles

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Best of the Rest

Bern Watts 2.0

Bern Watts 2.0

The Bern Watts 2.0 ($100) is a hip-looking helmet with the brand’s iconic brim and is focused on safety. The design features MIPS protection and meets the U.S. standard for adult and kid helmets as well as European requisites for cycling, skateboarding, roller skating, skiing, and snowboarding.

While the helmet is usable on wheels, there are 11 vent ports. This is less ventilation compared to the Bern Winter Macon 2.0, making this design more equipped to keep you warm if wind or snowflakes are flying on the lift. On the flip side, the helmet could get warm while skateboarding or riding your bike, depending on the climate where you shred.

The brim looks cool and keeps moisture from rolling into view or toward the top of the goggles. Though it blocks a teeny bit of sunlight, we wouldn’t call it sun protective, which is a good thing given that it would obstruct visibility.

In the back, the integrated BOA dial makes the compass-fit system easy to tighten or loosen to your needs, whether your hair is extra puffy or you need to pull on a streamlined beanie that day.

Simply remove the protective, comfortable liner and ear flaps when the temperatures rise (and replace with a Summer Liner). The back clip for goggles is simple, though it doesn’t snap or lock in place.

Bern also places two small holes on the helmet’s backside for mounting the brand’s rechargeable bike light, the Quickmount Asteroid, which has three light modes ($30).

Specs:
  • Weight: 12.3 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 11 that are fixed
Pros:
  • Dial-operated system for a more custom fit
  • Multisport helmet
  • Stylish points for the brim, which helps moisture roll away
Cons:
  • Vents are not adjustable

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

POC Obex MIPS

POC Obex MIPS

The POC Obex MIPS ($200) is a quality-built, well-ventilated choice for skiers and riders. To help prevent goggles from fogging up, two front vents align above eyewear, allowing body heat to escape. The other five vents are adjustable with manual slidable covers.

For added safety, the helmet includes MIPS as well as an EPS Liner, which is constructed as an aid for crash protection. Offering more adjustability, the helmet has a 360-degree fit system to dial in the right amount of snugness.

The wide fixed goggle clip can accommodate a range of straps, which are secured via an elastic pull-and-hook closure.

For warmer climates, the ear pads can be easily removed for extra ventilation and comfort. And the size range includes broader shapes to accommodate rounder heads.

Specs:
  • Weight: 18.2 oz. (XL/XXL)
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 8 that are adjustable
Pros:
  • Sleek, clean aesthetic
  • Customizable fit system
  • Adjustable ventilation
Cons:
  • Two front vents cannot be closed via slidable covers

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Scott Symbol 2 Plus D

scott symbol 2 plus d ski helmet

The Symbol 2 Plus D ($240) is truly a top-of-the-line helmet, and Scott considers it to be one of the most exciting products it’s ever created. So does ISPO, where the helmet was designated with a gold award in 2018.

Three key components of safety technology define the Symbol 2 Plus D — MIPS, D3O shock-absorbing material, and Scott’s 360-degree Pure Sound earpieces. Each of these features offers a specific safety improvement over other helmets on the market.

MIPS protects against torsional impacts commonly associated with brain injuries in skiers. D3O is a spongy material that specifically protects against low-energy impacts.

Finally, the Pure Sound inserts are designed to improve the wearer’s ability to hear, which in turn may help to prevent collisions, listen for snow collapsing or other hazards, and other incidents. When combined, these well-engineered features add up to elite head protection.

Though the Symbol 2 Plus D runs a bit small, it’s very comfortable when sized correctly. The earpads are gentle against the skin and free of hot spots. We also appreciate the wide and flat fleece-lined chin strap that feels soft yet secure.

There are many other characteristics of the Symbol 2 Plus D to love, including an innovative adjustable ventilation system and a plush padded liner. For those looking for pure quality and maximum protection on the snow, this helmet is your answer.

Specs:
  • Weight: 20 oz. (small)
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS, D30 shock-absorbing material, Pure Sound earpieces for sound clarity
  • Number of vents: 8 vents along the front, back and sides plus 36 mini ports on the top for a total of 44 vents with sliders for adjustability in two zones
Pros:
  • Top-notch safety technology
  • Comfortable padding
  • Ventilation system works well across a broad temperature range
Cons:
  • Sizing runs slightly small

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Backcountry

Smith Maze MIPS

Smith Maze MIPS

The Maze ($155) has been a staple in Smith’s helmet lineup for many seasons and rightfully so. Unlike feature-packed helmets like Scotts Symbol 2 Plus D, the Maze is all about pure style and simplicity.

Though this helmet is simple, it’s constructed from high-quality materials and has the look and feel of a first-rate helmet. The inclusion of MIPS represents Smith’s commitment to top-end protection, even in their lightest and most basic models like the Maze.

A total lack of an adjustment system is responsible for this helmet’s impressively low weight. While we do love the feel of a lightweight helmet while zipping down the mountain, the inability to adjust does decrease its versatility.

Before purchasing this helmet, try it on and/or measure your head to ensure a proper fit. While some wearers report that a thin buff can still fit under the helmet on cold days, the fixed-size Maze may not fit properly with a beanie.

Another byproduct of this helmet’s simple design is reduced temperature control. With fixed-open vents, the Maze may not provide adequate insulation on the coldest of days.

However, most of the time, the Maze is capable and comfortable. Also, its removable earpieces are handy in warm spring conditions.

Specs:
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: MIPS
  • Number of vents: 2 that are fixed in front
Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • High-quality construction
  • Fairly priced
Cons:
  • Lacks adjustment system
  • Fixed open-air vents

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Bern Carbon Watts

Bern Carbon Watts

A premium pick, the Bern Carbon Watts ($300) is hand-built out of woven carbon fiber, which spreads impact across a wider surface area. Carbon fiber is lauded in outdoor products for its competitive stiffness, high tensile strength, and low weight. Each helmet takes 10 hours to make and the batches are available in limited numbers, so if you need one, don’t wait.

According to the brand, this helmet is eight to 10 times stronger than helmets built with ABS plastic, which adds protection to the user.

Similar to other Bern models, the Carbon Watts meets the European safety standards for adults and kids while skiing, snowboarding, cycling, skateboarding, and roller skating. The helmet also meets the U.S. safety standard for adult and kid helmets.

This helmet is comfortable and easy to slide with a quickly adjustable BOA dial fit system. The helmet clip in the back is straightforward with no locking mechanism. Two tiny mounts in the back pair with the brand’s rechargeable bike light, which is sold separately.

The 11 vents are not adjustable, so the helmet is better for warmer conditions or sized accordingly to wear a beanie beneath.

Specs:
  • Weight: 18.5 oz.
  • Protection Bonus: Carbon fiber is eight to 10 times stronger than traditional plastic-shelled helmets
  • Number of vents: 11 that are fixed
Pros:
  • Unique, strong carbon fiber construction
  • Comfortable fit
Cons:
  • Expensive

Check Price at Bern Helmets

Ski Helmet Comparison Chart

Ski Helmet Price Weight Protection Bonus Number of Vents
Wildhorn Highline Snow Helmet $130 16 oz. MIPS 14 Adjustable
Pret Cirque X MIPS $250 16 oz. MIPS 10 Adjustable
Smith Vantage $270 17.6 oz. MIPS, Zonal Koroyd 21 Adjustable
Backcountry Access BC Air Helmet $150 11.9 oz. None 59 Passive ports
Sweet Protection Switcher $270 20.1 oz. MIPS 26 Adjustable
Bern Winter Macon 2.0 $80 13.3 oz. MIPS 12 Fixed ports
Giro Ratio MIPS Helmet $120 20 oz MIPS 10 Adjustable
Giro Crue $95 18 oz. MIPS 9 Fixed
Bern Watts 2.0 $100 12.3 oz. MIPS 11 Fixed
POC Obex MIPS $200 18.2 oz. MIPS 8 Adjustable
Scott Symbol 2 Plus D $240 20 oz. MIPS, D30 8 Vents, 36 Miniports
Smith Maze MIPS $155 12 oz. MIPS 2 Fixed
Bern Carbon Watts $300 18.5 oz. Carbon Fiber 11 Fixed
_DSC3256
Editor Austin Beck-Doss tests ski helmets at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Why You Should Trust Us

Our ski and snowboard crew of GearJunkie gear testers includes a range of experience levels from intermediate to expert male- and female-identifying snowboarders. We also have backcountry splitboarders (with AIARE 2 certification) and backcountry snowmobilers on staff. And we meet for an annual gear testing week to swap notes, including a recent ski week at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which is known for extremely steep terrain.

Leading the gear testing, staff writer Morgan Tilton has been skiing since 1994 and snowboarding since 2002. Over the past 28 years, Morgan has hit her head during a few hard crashes, but the worst was while snowboarding in icy conditions in 2003. She was found knocked out with a grade 2 concussion and broken nose and woke with complete memory loss — an experience that included a rescue toboggan and ambulance ride. The wreck totally cracked her goggles and helmet. Fortunately, she’d started wearing a helmet the season prior and has worn one ever since. Today, she lives in Gunnison Valley, which tends to be one of the coldest, snowiest places in North America.

We’ve tested ski and snowboard helmets in a range of conditions from California to the Colorado Rockies and high-alpine environments. We’ve worn helmets through the glades and while ripping steep groomers at the resort, during whiteout blizzards, when descending routes in the backcountry, riding the snowmobiles at high speed, and while doing skimo workouts.

While testing our ski and snowboard helmets, we consider overall fit, comfort, protection, size adjustability, goggle integration, ventilation, and style. We also take into consideration the most novel, sport-specific, popular, highly-rated, and legacy products across a range of price points.

_DSC3521
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Ski Helmet

Comfort

Because ski helmets are often worn all day long, you’ll want yours to feel comfortable and to have a correct fit. Pressure points can cause unnecessary headaches. The best helmets are the ones that fit perfectly so you can focus on enjoying your day on the snow.

Overall comfort is the result of many different components working together, including padding, weight, shape, earpieces, and adjustment system as well as overall fit and the correct size.

Every skier and rider has a different head shape, so we always recommend trying helmets on before purchase to ensure fit and comfort. On this list, the Wildhorn Highline and the Sweet Protection Switcher are noteworthy for their exceptional comfort.

_DSC5923
The MIPS Smith Vantage includes the Zonal Koroyd technology for impact absorption, which is visible inside the helmet vents; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Protection

Above all else, your helmet should provide reliable protection. In 2022, quality ski helmets are made with durable impact-absorbing foam, durable shells, rear and lateral protection, and rotational impact systems. All of the helmets on this list offer top-tier protection and should help you feel confident and prepared on the mountain.

If you’re looking for a multisport helmet, be sure the design has been certified by a governing body in the United States or Europe for the sport. For instance, the Bern Winter Macon 2.0 is capable of protecting your head during a fall while skiing or snowboarding as well as skateboarding, cycling, or roller skating.

On our list, nearly all of the helmets we’ve included come with rotational impact systems. These lightweight components are designed to reduce the rotational forces on the head and brain and help prevent brain injury.

Most of the listed models use MIPS, which stands for multidirectional impact system. MIPS uses a slip plate to allow the helmet to rotate independently of the head during impact.

Other technologies are available in addition to the shell and included in some ski and snowboard helmets for extra protection.

One technology is the Zonal Koroyd, which features welded tubes that crumple upon impact to absorb force and energy transfer. The technology is extremely lightweight and allows airflow, too. Among our top products here, the Smith Vantage has Zonal Koroyd.

Another option is Scott’s D3O shock-absorbing technology, which is a spongy material that specifically protects against low-energy impacts and is featured in the Scott Symbol 2 Plus D. 

Scott also offers a technology called 360-degree Pure Sound earpieces, which are designed to improve sound clarity and the wearer’s ability to hear, which in turn may help to prevent collisions and other incidents. The Pure Sound is included in the Scott Symbol 2 Plus D.

Contributors Morgan Tilton and Austin Beck-Doss hiking terrain at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Value and Price

In our guide, the top ski and snowboard helmets range in price from $80 to $300.

Generally, higher-end ski helmets that offer elite protection or customizable features cost more than lower-quality options. Sought-after features including earbud compatibility, MIPS, and adjustable ventilation will come with a higher price tag than minimalist models.

Still, there are some excellent budget options that don’t require you to compromise safety or protection. On this list, we’ve selected the Giro Ratio MIPS as our pick for the ski helmet offering the best value in 2022.

The Bern Winter Macon 2.0 is likewise on the lower end of the price spectrum but doesn’t provide as much warmth as other helmets with fewer or closable vents, nor is the size as adjustable as systems with a dial-operated fit.

_DSC2801
Hand-operated sliders allow vents to open and close on many ski helmet designs; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Ventilation

Good ventilation is the key to effective temperature regulation. In 2022, well-designed ski helmets have ventilation systems that effectively channel air through the helmet as you ski or ride.

One of the first ventilation features to consider is the overall number of vents and where they are placed on your helmet. Typically, more vents equal a pricier helmet. But if you ski often, that tradeoff can be worth it.

We also highly recommend adjustable vents, which can be opened or closed in an instant without removing the helmet or your gloves. On this list, our favorite ventilation systems are found on the Scott Symbol 2 Plus D and the Sweet Protection Switcher.

Temperature Control

As skiers and riders know, conditions in the mountains vary wildly from freezing and frigid to sweaty and sweltering. Because you want a helmet that’s comfortable in all conditions, it’s important to seek a model with good temperature control options.

Helmets with the best temperature control capability come with adjustable vents. On warm days, open vents provide cooling airflow. On cold days, closed vents seal in body heat and protect the head from wind chill.

Additionally, a plush pair of removable ear flaps are essential to a good modular helmet that can be customized as the weather changes. When it’s cold, ear flaps should hug the head and prevent cold air from making contact with the vulnerable ears. When it’s warm, we recommend removing the earflaps to increase airflow and prevent overheating.

Furthermore, having a helmet with fit adjustability will allow you to add layers beneath your helmet if more warmth and protection from the elements is needed like a headband or balaclava.

_DSC2617

Fit Adjustability

Many helmets on this list come with a built-in adjustable harness that can customize the fit on the fly. Adjustment systems do add a bit of weight and aren’t found in minimalist helmets like the Smith Maze.

However, we recommend seeking out a good adjustment system, especially if you plan to use your helmet both with and without a beanie, headband, or balaclava underneath.

Most modern adjustment systems use a real dial you can easily access while wearing gloves. On this list, we particularly like the adjustment dial system on the Sweet Protection Switcher.

_DSC2826
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Goggle Compatibility

Some helmets are smartly designed to work in seamless tandem with goggles. While certain helmet manufacturers like Smith tend to work best with their own in-house goggles, other helmets manage to work with a wide variety of goggle brands and styles.

While skiing or riding, it’s nice to have minimal gaps between your helmet and goggles. Also, it’s important to ensure that the goggle attachment point of the rear of the helmet is compatible with the width of your goggle strap.

Goggle attachments are often a simple durable clip, which is generally easy to operate with gloves on and some are wider and longer than others. Or the goggle-secure strap is secured by a snap.

(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Weight

Though skiing helmets vary by weight, the styles featured on our list are all within a few ounces of each other. When wearing a helmet all day, extra ounces can be noticeable, and we generally recommend seeking out a lightweight helmet.

Some helmets, like the Scott Symbol 2 Plus D, manage to include lots of luxury features without racking up too much total weight. Usually, though, the lighter helmets are the minimalist options that sacrifice features in favor of simplicity.

On our list, the Backcountry Access BC Air Helmet is the lightest at less than 12 ounces, and the Smith Maze hovers near 12 ounces, too.

Audio systems

If you love rocking out on the mountain, plan to spend a bit extra on helmet-compatible headphones or audio-compatible ear pads that are integrated into the helmet. Many helmets are also designed with ear pad pockets that work with headphones, specifically, Outdoor Tech’s Chip System.

The most advanced audio systems are ones that are integrated into the helmet and Bluetooth-compatible, so they can link to music, make phone calls, and even offer an intercom system to communicate with others wearing one, too.

Other helmets have an integrated speaker in the ear pads, and the wearer simply plugs in an auxiliary cord to listen to music on their phone.

Many skiers also use their normal earbuds. Whatever you choose, just remember to keep the volume low, keep only one earbud in, or consider a pair of bone conduction headphones. Especially when skiing in-bounds, it’s important to maintain situational awareness so you can stay safe.

_DSC2798
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Chin straps

Many helmets now offer a magnetic clip closure on the chin strap while other ski helmets have a traditional buckle.

The length of the straps is typically adjustable though are easier to lengthen or shorten before you head out for the day than on-the-fly or with gloves on. If the temps drop and you plan on using an extra bulky neck warmer, be sure to readjust your chin strap ahead of time.

Extra Features

On top of the above safety and comfort factors, there are a variety of extra features worth considering. These include things like the ability to mount an action camera.

You can mount an action camera on almost any helmet, thanks to the camera’s sticky mounting system. Some helmets go a step further and actually include a built-in mount. If this is important to you, it’s worth considering this feature.

Some helmets have a bit of a brim, which is stylish and also helps to divert snow and rain (more than sunshine) away from our goggles and face.

If you would like to use a hood over your helmet from time to time, choose a ski or snowboard jacket with a helmet-compatible hood so they fit together and you still have the ability to turn your head with both your helmet and hood on.

_DSC3399
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

FAQ

Do I Need a Ski Helmet?

Helmet use has become almost universal in the skiing and riding world. On an average day at the ski resort, the vast majority of people wear helmets. In the backcountry, helmet use is standard practice.

We fully recommend wearing a helmet for every kind of skiing and riding. Impacts and collisions cannot be planned for, and helmets offer significant protection that can help you prevent brain injuries and potentially save your life.

Contributor Morgan Tilton testing helmets while snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

What Is the Best Ski Helmet?

All of the helmets on this list are high-quality, and we recommend each of them with confidence. Ultimately, the best helmet is the one that fits your head and your needs. When it comes time to decide, try on various options and learn as much as possible about their feature sets.

Do I Need a Helmet With MIPS?

Most of the highly rated ski helmets on the market in 2022 are built with a rotation force mitigation system. To date, MIPS is the most common and well-known, and not many competing technologies exist.

Smith integrates Koroyd impact protection in many ski and snowboard helmets and even couples the technology with MIPS in certain models. Scott integrates a shock-absorbing material called D3O, which is likewise added alongside MIPS. Bontrager features WaveCel in bike helmets but does not produce snow sports helmets.

Formerly, POC designed its own solution, known as SPIN, which the brand began to phase out and replace with MIPS in 2019. We recommend purchasing a helmet with MIPS or a comparable system.

Are Ski Helmets Warm?

Ski helmets should be plenty warm to keep your head and ears comfortable in high-elevation alpine conditions. If you run cold, we recommend seeking out a helmet known for its warmth, like the Sweet Protection Switcher.

Also, an adjustable ventilation system will allow you to close your vents when need be to keep precious heat in, like in the Wildhorn Highline.


The Best Ski Goggles of 2022-2023
The Best Ski Goggles of 2022-2023
Looking for the best ski goggles or a pair of snow goggles for snowmobiling, hiking, or exploring winter storms? We've got you covered with our list of the best goggles. Read more…

The Best Men's Ski Jackets of 2022
The Best Men's Ski Jackets of 2022
If skiing is your therapy, a waterproof ski jacket can make your time on the slopes the best days of the year. Check out our picks for the best men’s ski jackets of 2022. Read more…