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The Best Ski Helmets of 2024

Our mountain-loving team has found the best ski and snowboard helmets of 2024 to fit every budget and style.

Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing a snowboard helmet at Crested Butte Mountain ResortSnowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing a snowboard helmet at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)
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From the bunny slope to the backcountry, a helmet is an essential part of every skier’s kit. Nowadays, ski and snowboard helmets on the ski slopes have become nearly universal — and for good reason.

Modern ski and snowboard helmets are lighter, safer, and more comfortable than ever before. And if you can protect your precious noggin, why not? Brain trauma is no joke!

As always, the best ski helmet is the one on your head. But not all snow 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 ski and snowboard helmets in the game for the season. 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 help steer your decision-making.

Otherwise, read our full gear guide and check out our awarded picks below for the best ski helmets of 2024.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Ski Helmets guide on October 16, 2023, to include the Smith Summit MIPS, Oakley Mod5 MIPS, POC Obex BC MIPS, and 13 additional sections for skier and rider education.

The Best Ski Helmets of 2024

Best Overall Ski Helmet

Smith Nexus MIPS Helmet


  • Weight 23 oz (medium)
  • Protection bonus MIPS, Koroyod
  • Number of vents 24 including adjustability
Product Badge The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Integrates seamlessly with Smith goggles
  • So many vents
  • Extra side impact protection


  • A pricier option
Best Budget Ski Helmet

Giro Ratio MIPS Helmet


  • Weight 20 oz. (small)
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 10 vents that are adjustable
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Good value
  • Effective ventilation system


  • Earflaps let cold air in at high speeds
Runner-Up Best Ski Helmet

Wildhorn Highline MIPS Snow Helmet


  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 14 including adjustability
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Liner is made to stay fresh longer with the XT2 anti-odor technology
  • Closure strap has a soft cushion to protect the face and chin
  • Sleek shape pairs well with goggles


  • Magnetic buckle takes time to get used to if you’re used to traditional buckles
Most Comfortable and Odor-free Liner

Pret Men’s Cirque X & Women’s Corona X


  • Weight 15.3 oz (small)
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 10 that are adjustable
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • High-quality construction and materials
  • Easily adjustable for comfort in any conditions
  • Low-profile fit combines well with most goggles


  • A bit pricer than other options
Best Ski Helmet With Integrated Ski Goggles

Salomon Driver Prime Sigma Photo MIPS


  • Weight 27 oz
  • Protection bonus MIPS, EPS4D
  • Number of vents Dozens of miniature ports within two long vent columns on the top of the head that can be open and closed
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Innovative 2-in-1 goggle and helmet system
  • Advanced safety features
  • Extremely comfortable


  • Doesn’t make sense if you already own goggles you like
  • Inside of visor froze on especially cold day
  • Replacement lenses hard to come by
Best Low-Profile Backcountry Ski Helmet

Smith Summit MIPS


  • Weight 16 oz. (medium)
  • Protection bonus MIPS, Koroyd
  • Number of vents 33
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Lightweight, sleek
  • Integrated headlamp strap routing keeps gear in place
  • Beanie and ball cap compatible


  • Lack of ear cover and insulation
Best Kids' Ski Helmet

Giro Crue MIPS Helmet


  • Weight 18 oz. (medium)
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 9 that are fixed
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • MIPS is hard to find in youth helmets
  • Good ventilation


  • Works best with Giro goggles
Best of the Rest

Smith Vantage MIPS


  • Weight 17.6 oz.
  • Protection bonus MIPS, Koroyd
  • Number of vents 21 with adjustable sliders
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Great fit
  • Serves skiers and riders in colder or warmer conditions
  • Looks good
  • Doubled up on rotational impact protection


  • An investment

Oakley Mod5 MIPS


  • Weight 32 oz.
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents Four vents with adjustable slider plus one rear vent
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Thorough ear protection
  • Easy-to-access vents
  • Compatible with many goggles


  • Slight pressure in the temple area during the first few wears

Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS Helmet


  • Weight 20.1 oz. (small/medium)
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 24 that are adjustable (26 total)
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Adjustable ventilation system
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish


  • Slightly heavier and more expensive than some similar options

Bern Watts 2.0


  • Weight 12.3 oz.
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 11 that are fixed
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Dial-operated system for a more custom fit
  • Multisport helmet
  • Stylish points for the brim, which helps moisture roll away


  • Vents are not adjustable



  • Weight 18.2 oz. (XL/XXL)
  • Protection bonus MIPS
  • Number of vents 7 that are adjustable
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Sleek, clean aesthetic
  • Customizable fit system
  • Adjustable ventilation


  • Two front vents cannot be closed via slidable covers



  • Weight 18 oz. (medium/large)
  • Protection bonus MIPS, NFC Medical ID Chip, RECCO Avalanche rescue reflector
  • Number of vents 9
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Lightweight protection
  • Additional safety features for backcountry travel
  • Adjustable ventilation


  • Some features might be overkill for resort goers
  • Front vents aren't adjustable

Scott Symbol 2 Plus Helmet


  • 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
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Top-notch safety technology
  • Comfortable padding
  • Ventilation system works well across a broad temperature range


  • Sizing runs slightly small

Bern Carbon Watts


  • 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
The Best Ski Helmets of 2024


  • Unique, strong carbon fiber construction
  • Comfortable fit


  • Expensive
Many ski jacket hoods accommodate ski helmets; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Ski Helmet Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Weight, Fill, Protection Technology, Number of Vents.

Ski HelmetPriceWeightProtection TechnologyNumber of Vents
Smith Nexus MIPS Helmet$32523 ozMIPS, Koroyod24 adjustable
Wildhorn Highline MIPS Snow Helmet$13016 oz.MIPS14 adjustable
Giro Ratio MIPS Helmet$12020 oz.MIPS10 adjustable
Smith Men’s Vantage & Women’s Vantage$27017.6 oz.MIPS, Zonal Koroyd21 adjustable
Oakley Mod5 MIPS$27032 oz.MIPS4 adjustable
Pret Women’s Corona X & Men’s Cirque X$27015.3 oz.MIPS10 adjustable
Sweet Protection Switcher$27020.1 oz.MIPS24 adjustable
Salomon Driver Prime
Sigma Photo MIPS
$45027 oz.MIPS, EPS4DDozens of miniature ports
Smith Summit MIPS$138 16MIPS, Koroyd33
Giro Crue MIPS Helmet$9518 oz.MIPS9 fixed
Bern Watts 2.0$17012.3 oz.MIPS11 fixed
POC Obex MIPS$20018.2 oz.MIPS7 adjustable
$27018 ozMIPS, NFC Medical ID Chip, RECCO Avalanche rescue reflector9
Scott Symbol 2 Plus Helmet$20020 oz.MIPS, D308 vents, 36 miniports
Bern Carbon Watts$30018.5 oz.Carbon fiber11 fixed
You never know when you might crash on the slopes regardless of snow depth; (photo/Jason Hummel)

How We Tested Ski Helmets

Full transparency: We aren’t actually trying to crash and get a head injury while wearing helmets. But sometimes, we do tomahawk on skis or our snowboard. Occasionally, we even break a helmet wide open. Regardless, we always have a huge checklist of other details that qualify a helmet as one of our faves.

Our ski and snowboard crew of GearJunkie gear testers includes expert skiers and riders, certified backcountry travelers, and skimo racers testing gear to help find the best of the best. At our annual gear testing week, we swap notes, including our ski weeks at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which is known for its extremely steep terrain, freezing temps, and deep snow.

Leading the gear testing, Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton has been skiing since 1994 and snowboarding since 2002. Over the past few decades, Morgan has hit her head in a few hard crashes, but the worst was while snowboarding in icy conditions in 2003.

She was found knocked out with a Grade II concussion and broken nose and woke with complete memory loss — an experience that included a rescue toboggan and ambulance ride. The wreck ravaged her goggles and helmet. Fortunately, she’d started wearing a helmet the season prior and has worn one ever since. Later, in January 2023, she crashed in-bounds during a whiteout with the Smith Vantage ski helmet on: We can confirm that Koroyd works, as does MIPS. At impact, the material crumpled in several areas preventing a larger head injury — she experienced a minor Grade I concussion. Today, she lives in Gunnison Valley, which tends to be one of the coldest, snowiest places in North America. (Don’t fret. Her brain healed well.)

GearJunkie tester Kylie Mohr has been skiing with a ski helmet on since she was a toddler, more than two decades ago, and enjoyed putting helmets to the test at Montana’s resorts and on backcountry faces.

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

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

Our list of ski and snowboard helmets represents a range of options for various objectives, climates, conditions, athletes, and budgets.

These days, the majority of skiers we see at ski areas are wearing a ski helmet; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Ski Helmet

Buying a ski and snowboard helmet is an important decision when outfitting yourself for the slopes. We look for a variety of factors. Comfort and fit are extra important — if a helmet doesn’t fit your head or your purpose, you’re less likely to wear that shield. Protection and safety components, like systems and technologies designed to absorb impact, are also crucial. 

Additional factors like ventilation, adjustability, and goggle compatibility all help you customize your helmet to your needs. Will you be uphilling in your helmet? On a regular basis, do you tend to get cold while skiing laps? What kind of goggles do you own and what size? These are all questions to consider when purchasing a new ski helmet. Read on for more detailed step-by-step on what to consider when you are buying a ski and snowboard helmet. 

A ski helmet needs to pair well with your ski goggles for the most comfortable kit; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Comfort and Fit

Because ski and snowboard 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 with no pinch points or pain, so that 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 MIPS Snow Helmet and the Sweet Protection Switcher are noteworthy for their exceptional comfort.

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

Protection and Safety

Above all else, your helmet should provide reliable protection. Quality ski helmets are made with durable impact-absorbing foam, hardy 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.

Safety Certifications for Ski Helmets

Helmets often have stickers with safety certification letters and numbers on them. What do they mean?

  • ASTM F2040: The most common certification for snow helmets. This is a U.S. standard that covers non-motorized snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. All helmets sold in stores like REI have this certification.
  • CE EN1077: A European standard for skiing and snowboarding. Some helmets meet both American and U.S. standards, while some meet one but not the other. 
  • EN 12492: A climbing certification. This means a helmet offers more protection from objects falling from above, namely, rocks, as well as the usual side/front/rear protection of a ski or snowboard helmet. Backcountry skiers and mountaineers might want this certification for additional safety.

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 Watts 2.0 is capable of protecting your head during a fall while skiing or snowboarding as well as skateboarding, cycling, or roller skating.

Even on a powder day, crashes near or in trees can increase the risk of hitting your head on a hard surface; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Crashes: MIPS & Impact-Absorbing Systems

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.

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

There’s more. Scott’s D3O shock-absorbing technology is a spongy material that specifically protects against low-energy impacts and is featured in the Scott Symbol 2 Plus.

The POC Obex BC MIPS boasts unique protection elements that may come in handy in the backcountry, where accidents can be fatal and emergency response may take longer to arrive. A RECCO reflector makes the helmet searchable for rescuers with the appropriate technology. And medical ID chip is programmable with health information and emergency contacts.

A helmet can help protect your head from debris under the snow, too, like rocks and roots or gear; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Extra Health and Safety Technologies

Other health and safety technologies are available in addition to the impact-eating materials.

Extra tenacious, the Bern Carbon Watts shell uses carbon fiber that’s many times stronger than traditional helmet materials. 

Inside the Pret Women’s Corona X and Pret Men’s Cirque X, there’s an antimicrobial EPS foam to help prevent bacterial growth. The helmet shell is also reinforced with polycarbonate plates in areas where skull impact would be critical, effectively doubling the thickness where needed and upping the protection.

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.

Testing Ski Helmets Inbounds in the Rockies
Testing ski helmets inbounds at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Ski Helmet Construction

There are three types of helmet constructions: ABS, in-mold, and hybrid in-mold.

ABS is a type of plastic material that’s most commonly used for a variety of helmets, including ski, bicycle, skateboard, and safety helmets. It’s known for its strength, toughness, and impact resistance. This construction looks like a hard plastic shell with a foam liner on the inside. ABS helmets can feel bulkier and less breathable than in-mold or hybrid options, but are a great budget-friendly option — especially for beginners. One of our favorites, the Giro Ratio MIPS Helmet, is an example of ABS. 

In-mold and hybrid-in mold helmets mold together a shin shell with an EPS foam liner. Integrating the two layers shaves ounces.

But In-mold helmets don’t earn the best marks for durability. Enter, the hybrid! Hybrids add a hard shell layer on top for more durability and aesthetic resistance to scrapes and dings. Hybrid designs are often the most expensive of the pack. Some of our top picks, like the Smith Vantage, utilize this type of construction. 

Testing Ski Helmets at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Editor Austin Beck-Doss tests ski helmets at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Ventilation and Temperature Regulation

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.

Good ventilation is the key to effective temperature regulation. These days, 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. The Smith Summit MIPS, made especially for backcountry skiing and touring, has a whopping 33 vents

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 and the Sweet Protection Switcher.

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. We found the Oakley Mod5 MIPS struck a good balance between keeping our ears warm and still allowing us to hear what was going on on the slopes around us. When it’s warm, we recommend removing the earflaps to increase airflow and prevent overheating.

Furthermore, having a ski and snowboard 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.

Ski Helmet Fixed Vs Adjustable Vents
Some helmet vents are fixed while others can be manually opened and closed; (photo/Eric Phillips)

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 super minimalist helmets.

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. Wearing a hat under a helmet can affect the fit and integrity of a helmet, so be wary of thicker fabrics. A thin skull cap or headband is usually fine, as long as the helmet still encases from the bottom of your skull bones up to the top of your forehead.

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.

Ski helmets have a clip that holds a goggle strap, which come in a variety of designs but are typically made of rubber; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Goggle Compatibility

Some ski and snowboard 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. For instance, the Smith Nexus MIPS Helmet is integrated seamlessly with our pair of Smith goggles. Other ski helmets manage to work with a wide variety of goggle brands and styles. For a full rundown on choosing goggles to go with your helmet, check out our Ski Goggles buyer’s guide.

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. Want to skip a step? The Salomon Driver Prime Sigma Photo MIPS comes as an integrated goggle-and-helmet setup with the two accessories attached.

Traditional goggle attachments on helmets are often a simple durable clip on the back, which is generally easy to operate with gloves on and some are wider and longer than others. Or, the goggle band is secured by a rubber strap with a snap closure.

Ski Helmet Goggle Clips
Goggle clips on ski helmets help to prevent losing a pair of goggles; (photo/Eric Phillips)


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

Some helmets, like the Scott Symbol 2 Plus, 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.

The POC Obex BC MIPS strikes the balance between lightweight and protective, ideal for traveling out-of-bounds. If you’re going to be carrying your helmet into the backcountry, check out our Ski Backpacks guide, too, and pay attention to the helmet-carry designs. 

On our list, the lightest helmet is the Bern Watts 2.0, which hovers near 12 ounces. The next lightest helmets include the Pret Women’s Corona X and Men’s Cirque X at 15.3 ounces and Wildhorn Highline MIPS Snow Helmet at 16 ounces.

It can be helpful to learn how to close and open your helmet vents before putting on the helmet; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Antimicrobial Foam and Liners

Helmet liners provide a thin layer between your scalp and your helmet. Even though it’s cold, your head can still sweat while wearing a ski or snowboard helmet. That’s why liner material can be an important consideration, especially if you tend to overheat. No one wants a stinky helmet. 

One example of this technology can be found in the Pret Women’s Corona X & Pret Men’s Cirque X. These helmets have an antimicrobial EPS foam that prevents bacterial growth, making the helmets last longer and reducing any unwanted odors. Smith helmets, like the Smith Nexus MIPS Helmet, also come with an antimicrobial liner.

Goggle and Ski Helmet Integration
A helmet’s shape influences how it pairs with different types of snow goggles; (photo/Eric Phillips)

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. Some helmet companies, like Wildhorn, make helmet-compatible headphones including the Alta Wireless Headphones for making hands-free calls.

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. If communication is important, look for models with microphones.

Many helmets including the Smith Vantage, Bern Watts 2.0, and Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS have ear pads made for inserts. (Oakley gets a bad rap for having insufficient space in their ear pads). Smith makes its own brand of wireless helmet audio kits, such as the Aleck 006. It’s worth noting that helmet audio kits — which are when two compact, streamlined speakers are inserted into the ear pads — can change the way helmet ear pads fit and might make them uncomfortable. Finding the right integrated system for you can also mean no more wires and no more fears of dropping your phone, especially on the ski lift.

Many skiers also use their regular earbuds. There are pros and cons: Cords can be annoying, but Bluetooth pods can fall out if you crash. 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.

Magnetic Strap Closure on Ski Helmet
Many ski helmets have magnetic closures versus traditional buckle clasps; (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.

Vents placed on the front of the ski helmet help with circulating air toward the forehead and across the top of the head; (photo/Jason Hummel)


Helmets aren’t always the most ecological products due to the use of certain foams and plastics. They aren’t a continuously reusable product, because of the limited lifespan in addition to the nature of the material being compromised by a crash or simply being dropped out of the passenger side door. There are not many places where ski helmets can be recycled, either.

Some brands are trying to increase the sustainability of helmets, especially due to these pigeonholed factors.

Ski helmet liners are an ingredient that brands can update for more sustainability. Smith’s Ionic+ antimicrobial liner meets the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 accreditation: There are no harmful substances introduced in the manufacturing process. All Smith helmets are also packaged in post-consumer recycled cardboard.

The Norwegian company Sweet Protection also touts its environmental responsibility measures, like reducing plastic in packaging. The brand’s liners are made from traceable wool certified by international wool standards, and collected in a way that’s kinder to sheep. Check out the Sweet Protection Switcher for these commitments in practice.

Old ski helmets can theoretically be recycled for their components. Some recycled shells can even be used as an amendment in soil. Check your local recycling center or ski or outdoor shop for helmet recycling programs — they’re pretty rare due to the time and cost involved. 

Most ski helmets have a dial that allows you to adjust the size around the circumference of your head; (photo/Jason Hummel)


There’s nothing worse than spending money on new gear, just to have that equipment fail or go through an unforeseen ringer. Many brands have warranties for defects on their helmets, while others go above and beyond even if the cause of impact is due to a ski crash. 

All Smith helmets are covered by a limited lifetime warranty for three years from the date of purchase. That policy includes any manufacturer’s defects. Furthermore, Smith offers a 30% discount for crash replacement helmets. For instance, the Smith Vantage has the same limited lifetime warranty and crash replacement deal as other Smith helmets, like the Smith Nexus MIPS.

The Salomon Driver Prime Sigma Photo MIPS, like most Salomon products, features a two-year warranty.  

New for 2023-24, Bern has an updated exchange, warranty, and crash replacement policy. If you don’t like your helmet size or color, you can swap it out within 90 days, free of cost. The Bern Carbon Watts and the Bern Watts 2.0 are both subject to the common three-year warranty for defects or workmanship issues. There’s a separate lifetime crash replacement policy: If a rider destroys their helmet in an accident, send in pics, a backstory, and pony up for shipping costs — and you’ll get a replacement. Rad.

Ski Helmets in Action at Crested Butte
Editors Morgan Tilton and Austin Beck-Doss hiking terrain at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)

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.

Another nice feature to have is a goggle retainer clip: A stretchy band on the back of many helmets that holds goggles in place with a snap or hook. It’s a useful component if you find yourself taking on and off your goggles, especially while riding a ski lift.

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 faces.

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: You still need to be able to turn your head with both your helmet and hood on. That said, all helmet-compatible hoods are designed with a unique shape and material, even from product to product within a single brand. Depending on your helmet shape and size, the hood might be too snug to wear while descending a slope. Hoods can be restrictive, and not all hoods completely protect the front of the helmet while on, which is especially noticeable when the sky is nuking.

We’ve found that Patagonia hoods are among the best fit for helmet compatibility. Read more in our Ski Jackets guide.

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


In our guide, the top ski and snowboard helmets range in price from $120 to $450, with the latter option having integrated goggles — so, that’s a pretty good deal.

Generally, higher-end ski helmets offer elite protection or customizable features, so they cost more than lower-quality options. Sought-after features including earbud compatibility, MIPS alongside other impact-absorbing materials, and adjustable ventilation come with a higher price tag than minimalist ski helmet models.

However, we are much more inclined to reach for a helmet at a moderate or high cost for the best safety materials, to which MIPS has set a broad industry benchmark.

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 ($120) as our pick for the ski helmet offering the best value. For kids, the Giro Crue MIPS Helmet is technically the cheapest on the list (for the smallest of heads) at $95. The Wildhorn Highline MIPS Snow Helmet also comes in at $130. The Bern Watts 2.0 ($170) is likewise on the lower end of the price spectrum, arriving under $200, but doesn’t provide as much warmth as other helmets due to the vents not being adjustable: the vents remain open.

Most of our favorite well-constructed helmets fall in the $200 to $270 range. That includes the Scott Symbol 2 Plus ($200), Smith Summit MIPS ($230), and the Oakley MOD 5 MIPS ($250)A fleet are tagged at $270: Pret Women’s Corona X & Pret Men’s Cirque X, Smith Vantage, Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS Helmet, and the POC Obex BC MIPS.

Models at or above $300 include the Bern Carbon Watts ($300), Smith Nexus MIPS Helmet ($325), and the helmet-goggle combination of the Salomon Driver Prime Sigma Photo MIPS ($450).

Helmet Compatible Ski Jacket
Aim to find a ski jacket with a hood that fits comfortably over your helmet; (photo/Eric Phillips)


Do I need a ski and snowboard 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.

What is the best ski and snowboard 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 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.

Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing helmets while snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Eric Phillips)
Are ski helmets warm?

Ski and snowboard 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. You can also layer a thin beanie underneath a well-fitting helmet to add extra oomph if your noggin just won’t warm up.

Also, an adjustable ventilation system will allow you to close your vents to keep precious heat in, like in the Wildhorn Highline MIPS Snow Helmet.

How often do you need to replace a ski helmet?

Ski helmets are designed to withstand more than one minor hit. But if you find yourself in a serious crash, or if your helmet shows visible signs of damage, replace it immediately. A cracked helmet, or a helmet missing any padding or parts, shouldn’t be worn.

No crashes or impacts? Don’t hold on to that helmet forever. A general rule of thumb is to replace helmets after about five years if you’re skiing or snowboarding consistently. Interior padding can break down with time, and wear and tear from sweat and hair products can also break down a helmet’s liner.

How do I know if my ski helmet is too big?

Finding a ski helmet that fits is a bit like Goldilocks: not too tight, not too loose, but just right.

A ski helmet should fit snugly, with no spaces between the foam or padding and your head. If a helmet can rock back and forth, or moves around when you shake your head from side to side, it’s too big. Try a size down, or if the helmet has an adjustment mechanism, try tightening it. If a helmet causes headaches, it’s too tight. Go a size up, or, loosen it up.

Following a brand’s size chart is a good place to start. If this is your first time buying a helmet, or you don’t already know your size for a particular brand, we recommend trying on helmets in person to get a feel for what you like. Or at least, check an online retailer’s return policy.

A ski helmet can also help keep your head warm, especially on windy or high-precipitation days; (photo/Jason Hummel)
How do I clean my ski helmet?

Is your helmet dirty from riding in the back of your car or being dropped in a muddy parking lot? Good news: You can clean it. Warm water and mild detergent or soap with a soft cloth should do the trick. Don’t soak any parts of the helmet, use strong cleaners, or put the shell close to high heat (like a hairdryer). 

Some liners are removable. Check the tag for instructions on machine-washing or washing by hand with mild soap and water, too.

Are ski helmets unisex?

Ski and snowboard helmets can be tailored to women, men, and a range of people through the size run, shape, and aesthetic. Regardless of how you identify, you should buy the helmet that best fits your head and needs.

Similar to the apparel industry, there is no universal fit or sizing chart utilized across brands. Some ski helmet brands offer unisex helmets, while others offer women’s specific sizes and men’s specific sizes. Other brands, like Smith, offer all of the above.

For instance, the Smith Vantage Round Contour Fit for men is offered in medium (59-63 cm) and large (63-67 cm). The size run for the Smith Vantage Women’s Mips, the women’s-specific version of the same helmet design, differs. You’ll see a menu with a small (51-55 cm), medium (55-59 cm), or large (59-63 cm).

However, when you look at the sizes offered via the Pret Women’s Corona X and Pret Men’s Cirque X, you’ll find the same measurements for each dedicated size but the size large is only available for the men’s-specific product. The colors also differ between the two.

There’s no hard and fast rule with sizing, so always check the sizing chart and measure your noggin.

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