Updated on October 25, 2021

Extreme snow sports like skiing come with an inherent risk of injury, but there are a variety of ways we can manage and reduce that risk. The best ski helmets are a key way to protect the most valuable part of your body (your brain) and they are a very, very low cost investment compared to hospital bills.

While a ski helmet doesn’t guarantee you’ll walk away unscathed, it could be the difference between life and death, or the difference between being back on the slopes next month versus being wheelchair-bound for the rest of your life.

All of the helmets we’ve selected for our list are of the highest quality, are made to meet the newest safety standards, and include the most cutting edge shock absorption and impact resistance technology.

For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Ski Helmets for Women | Kids Ski Helmets

 

Quick Answer - The Best Ski Helmets

  1. Smith Vantage MIPS
  2. Smith Holt
  3. Smith Mission MIPS
  4. Salomon Mountain Lab
  5. Smith Quantum MIPS
  6. POC Obex SPIN
  7. Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS
  8. Oakley MOD3 MIPS
  9. Smith Level MIPS
  10. Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS

 

Comparison Table - Best Ski Helmets

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NameWeightVisorAudio System CompatiblePriceRatingReview
Smith Vantage MIPS1 lbs. 1.5 oz.NoYes$$4.8Read Review
Smith Holt1 lb. 3 oz.NoYes$4.9Read Review
Smith Mission MIPS15.9 ouncesNoYes$$4.7Read Review
Salomon Mountain Lab10.5 ouncesNoNo$$4.6Read Review
Smith Quantum MIPS1 lbs. 5 oz.YesYes$$$4.9Read Review
POC Obex SPIN1 lbs. 2 oz.NoYes$$5.0Read Review
Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS1 lbs. 4.1 oz.NoYes$$4.9Read Review
Oakley MOD3 MIPSN/AYesNo$4.8Read Review
Smith Level MIPS1 lbs. 3 oz.YesYes$4.7Read Review
Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS1 lbs. 2.7 oz.NoYes$4.7Read Review
NameWeightVisorAudio System CompatiblePriceRatingReview
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Helmets for Skiing

Smith Vantage MIPS

View Women's Version
Specs
  • Construction: Hybrid
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 1.5 oz.
  • Vents: 21
  • Visor: No
  • Shell Material: Polycarbonate / Koroyd
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Available In Black Or Sage Green
  • Low Profile Design Reduces Bulk And Weight
  • Koroyd Lined Shell Inhibits Potential Damage Of Impacts

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT VENTILATION

While it technically doesn’t have the most air vents, it’s the strategic placement of them that gives the Smith Vantage MIPS the title of best ventilated helmet on the list. 

It’s also one of the lightest helmets on the list, giving it a multifaceted design that excels in many areas rather than just a few. And it’s compatible with your current audio system, whether you’re rocking tethered or wireless earbuds. 

The Vantage also rocks a hybrid construction that combines the benefits of two different styles of constructing a helmet – the result is an extremely strong yet lightweight design. Within the outer shell, the Vantage features Koroyd, a lab-engineered material that rates high in impact absorption and displacement of blunt forces that would otherwise cause more damage to your brain upon impact.

Smith Holt

Specs
  • Construction: Injection-molded
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.
  • Vents: 14
  • Visor: No
  • Shell Material: Injection-molded ABS
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Adjustable climate control with 14 vents dials in the right amount of airflow while the self-adjusting Lifestyle fit system ensures a comfortable hold
  • Bombshell ear pads; removable goggles lock
  • Compatible with Aleck, Outdoor Tech and Skullcandy audio systems (not included)
Smith Holt

BEST FOR: SKIERS ON A BUDGET

For under $100, you’d be hard pressed to find a helmet that’s better made or better looking.

The Holt provides for plenty of warmth and comfort for those long, cold winter days. The ABS construction is high quality but not as technically advanced as many of the other helmets on this list. Its fixed ventilation system includes 10 different vents that aren’t adjustable but provide for plenty of airflow on their own. One of the best things about the Smith Holt is that compared to other budget offerings, this helmet does not have that misshapen mushroom look.

What I like most about the Smith Holt — other than the affordable cost — is the adjustment system which features an elasticized band at the back of the helmet that stretches to accommodate noggins of various sizes.

Smith Mission MIPS

Specs
  • Construction: In-mold
  • Weight: 15.9 ounces
  • Vents: 14
  • Visor: No
  • Shell Material: Polycarbonate
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Lightweight In-mold helmet incorporates Aerocore™ construction and Koroyd® material for breathability and maximized impact protection
  • Rotational motion can cause brain injuries; with MIPS, a low-friction layer slides 10 to 15mm in all directions, reducing rotational motion to the brain during impact
  • Snapfit SL earpads
Smith Mission MIPS

BEST FOR: BOTH RESORT AND BACKCOUNTRY USE

When you enjoy long days at the resort but also find yourself venturing into the backcountry, reach for a helmet that will serve both purposes.

Smith designed the Mission MIPS with the perfect blend of resort and backcountry specific safety features. This helmet features adjustable vents, a warm interior linter, and both MIPS and Koroyd technology. The brand successfully blended features and performance to make for a quality all-around noggin saver — wherever you find yourself on the mountain.

What I like most about the Mission MIPS is how lightweight it is for the price. This helmet weighs in at just over 1.8 pounds.

Salomon Mountain Lab

Specs
  • Construction: Hybrid in-mold
  • Weight: 10.5 ounces
  • Vents: Active ventilation
  • Visor: No
  • Audio System Compatible: No
Features
  • Odor resistant merino wool lining wicks moisture to boost comfort
  • When the temperatures rise active ventilation helps cool you down
  • Custom dial fit provides a secure and reliable fit every run
Salomon Mountain Lab

BEST FOR: DEDICATED BACKCOUNTRY SKIERS

This hybrid mountaineering and ski helmet is perfectly suited for backcountry adventures — not to mention the lightest we’ve tested to date.

Salomon’s Mountain Lab ski helmet is extremely well vented and features a removable liner that can be washed as needed. It weights in at just 12.7 ounces but still provides for plenty of protection from falling debris and impacts. This helmet is compatible with attachment points for both ski goggles and mountaineering headlamps. There are ample fixed vents situated throughout the helmet, making for a high degree of breathability compared to many other helmets on this list.

What I like most about the Salomon Mountain Lab is how reasonably it’s priced for such a high-end niche product.

Smith Quantum MIPS

Specs
  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 5 oz.
  • Vents: 22
  • Visor: Yes
  • Shell Material: High-Impact ABS Plastic / Koroyd
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Available In 5 Different Colors
  • Strap & Buckle System Make Gearing Up A Breeze
  • AirEvac Tech Pulls Warm Air From Your Goggles Through The Helmet’s Vents

BEST FOR: PREMIUM COMFORT

Your helmet doesn’t need to feel like an encumbrance, which is why the Smith Quantum MIPS springs for premium comfort while retaining top-of-the-line safety tech. 

Featuring Koroyd in the lining of the exterior shell, this helmet doubles down safety and comfort all at the same time. Koroyd is a lab-engineered “squishy” tubing that is not only comfortable, but also spreads out an impact over the entire surface area of the helmet. This redirects the forces acting upon the helmet to spread them thin and weaken them. 

The Quantum MIPS helmet also features the Boa FS360 system, which is a single-dial knob that allows you to make slight, incremental adjustments to the fit of your helmet while on the go. No need to remove your helmet to get the perfect fit!

POC Obex SPIN

Specs
  • Construction: Hybrid
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Vents: 11
  • Visor: No
  • Shell Material: High-Impact ABS Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Available In White Or Black
  • Works Seamlessly With POC Brand Goggles
  • Sliding Vent Covers Can Be Opened/Closed To Regulate Body Temperature

BEST FOR: GROUPS OR PARENTS

Featuring an integrated communication headset that can pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth, the POC Obex SPIN Communication ski helmet is a premium choice for those needing to stay in communication with others.  

Parents with children on the slopes would benefit greatly from this helmet, especially when skill levels vary. Now, each parent can split up and take different routes with their kids all while staying in close communication. 

Ski patrollers or those overseeing a group of skiers can also take advantage of the communication aspect. More simply, the Bluetooth speakers can be used to listen to some tunes as you carve your way down the mountain. 

Safety-wise, this helmet is of the highest quality. It features SPIN technology (Shearing Pad INside) which functions in exactly the same way as MIPS (see the Things To Consider section below for more information), the most cutting edge helmet technology that drastically reduces the risk of head and neck injury.

Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS

View Women's Version
Specs
  • Construction: Hybrid
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 4.1 oz.
  • Vents: 24
  • Visor: No
  • Shell Material: Variable Elasticity Hybrid Shell
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Available In 4 Different Colors
  • Moisture-Wicking Helmet Liner Is Removable And Washable
  • Magnetic Buckle Is Easy To Fasten Even When Wearing Gloves Or Mittens

BEST FOR: VARIETY OF CONDITIONS

No matter if the weather is warm and sunny or bone chillingly cold, the Sweet Protection Switcher MIPS ski helmet will keep you at a comfortable temperature all day and across the whole mountain. With a whopping 24 air vents (tied for most on our list) that can be adjusted with a single hand, this ski helmet will help you vent warm air to stay cool or trap it to stay warm!

Safety-wise, this ski helmet has a variable elasticity hybrid shell which means that it blends the best of the two most common materials (ABS plastic and polycarbonate) used to craft helmets. By reinforcing the super lightweight and highly impact resistant polycarbonate with a super hard ABS shell, the Switcher MIPS becomes even more efficient at redirecting localized impacts across the entire helmet to weaken the forces acting upon your head to keep your noggin in-tact. 

The Switcher MIPS also sports a single-dial adjustment system that can tighten or loosen the fit and allows you to make micro-adjustments with a single hand while on the go.

Oakley MOD3 MIPS

Specs
  • Construction: In-Mold
  • Weight: N/A
  • Vents: 6
  • Visor: Yes
  • Shell Material: Polycarbonate
  • Audio System Compatible: No
Features
  • Available In White, Black, Or Gray
  • Streamlined Design Is Lightweight And Aerodynamic
  • Goggle Holders Keep Them Attached Even When Resting On The Helmet

BEST FOR: CUSTOMIZED FIT

Dialing in just the right fit can be a pain in the you-know-what for many helmets out there. Thankfully, Oakley takes comfort and custom fit to the next level with their MOD3 MIPS ski helmet. 

Sporting a Modular Brim System (MBS) that can be customized to fit larger or smaller framed goggles, you’ll be able to seamlessly match your existing pair. It also has a Boa tightening system for creating a perfect fit and allows for micro adjustments while on the move. 

The magnetic clasp for the chin strap also makes this helmet easy to remove even with a gloved hand.

Smith Level MIPS

Specs
  • Construction: Hybrid
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 3 oz.
  • Vents: 20
  • Visor: Yes
  • Shell Material: Polycarbonate / Koroyd
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Available In 5 Different Colors
  • Removable Ear Pads For Warmer Or Chillier Days
  • Ventilation Allows Warm, Moist Air To Escape From Goggles To Prevent Fogging

BEST FOR: AMPLE AMOUNT OF FEATURES

Want to stay level headed on the mountain? Keep your head in the game with the Smith Level MIPS ski helmet. It’s got a little bit of everything to offer. 

This ski helmet has a brim to keep the sun out of your eyes, a strap to hang onto your goggles, and a single slider to control the opening/closure of all 20 vents just to name a few features. The AirEvac 2 system helps pull warm, moist air from your goggles and vents it through the top of your helmet and the strap system features removable ear pads that keep you warm on extra cold outings. 

The liner of the exterior shell has Koroyd, a lab-engineered material featuring an open-cell framework that is both breathable and shock-absorbent.

Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS

View Women's Version
Specs
  • Construction: Injection-Molded
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 2.7 oz.
  • Vents: 24
  • Visor: No
  • Shell Material: Injection-Molded Thermoplastic
  • Audio System Compatible: Yes
Features
  • Available In Black Or Slate Grey
  • ABS Thermoplastic Shell Is Highly Impact Resistant
  • Magnetic Buckle Is Easy To Fasten Even When Wearing Gloves Or Mittens

BEST FOR: TERRAIN PARK SKIERS

High flying stunt junkies and rail grinding daredevils will be sufficiently protected wearing the Sweet Protection Igniter II MIPS ski helmet. It uses the highest quality materials to keep your noggin safe all while looking, well…sweet! 

The Igniter II is a perfect fit for skiers who may be more prone to head injuries than the casual rider. Featuring MIPS technology (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), this helmet uses biomimicry to mimic what the body would do during a head or neck injury. MIPS uses a slip-plane system where the outer shell of the helmet is able to “slip” against the inner shell, allowing the rotational forces to be redirected and have less impact on your skull (see the Things To Consider section below for more info).

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SKI HELMETS

MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System

Most if not all of the helmets on our list are MIPS certified as they provide the best defense to protecting your brain than helmets without it. When a crash occurs, rotational forces are almost always at play and can severely affect the brain.

When a head or neck injury occurs, the body protects itself by using cerebrospinal fluid to redirect those rotational forces. MIPS-designed helmets mimic this by using a slip-plane system that allows an inner shell (attached to your head) to slip against the outer shell (where the rotational forces are acting on).

Considering how many lives have been saved and potentially catastrophic or traumatic brain injuries have been avoided using MIPS, it’s practically a non-negotiable helmet feature. Your chosen helmet must have this.

 

HELMET CONSTRUCTION

In-Mold

Sleek and light, helmets made with an in-mold process attach the shock-absorbing foam interior to the shell (exterior) in a single molding process.

Injection-Molded

Offering slightly more durability than in-mold helmets, injection-molded helmets use a 2 stage process to bond the shock-absorbing foam to a separate shell.

Hybrid

Considered one of the strongest types of helmet constructions, hybrid helmets blend the two aforementioned methods to create an insanely strong yet lightweight helmet.

 

SHELL MATERIAL

High-Impact ABS Plastic

One of the two most common materials used for the outer shell of a helmet, ABS is a plastic that is extremely hard but also heavy, making it an outstanding material for impact resistance. It’s also less expensive than polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate

Lighter, yet more expensive, polycarbonate has twice the impact strength of ABS plastic. It also has twice the tensile strength, making it more flexible than ABS yet half as likely to become damaged under the same pressure.

Koroyd

A synthetically made, “squishy” tube-like material, Koroyd is used as a liner on the interior portion of a helmet’s shell. Its purpose is to spread and displace impact from a single location across the entire helmet (i.e. shock-absorption).

Variable Elasticity Hybrid Shell

Synthesizing the best of each, a variable elastic hybrid shell combines an in-molded polycarbonate (lightweight construction + light/flexible/highly impact resistant material) with an ABS hard shell construction for reinforcement and redistribution of forces.

Injection-Molded Thermoplastic

Thermoplastics are another common material used in the construction of helmets (especially for firefighters). The process involves heating, cooling, and reheating the plastic to reinforce its strength (similar to the way steel is tempered for Katanas – ninja swords). Thermoplastics are incredibly durable and impact resistant.

 

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Vents

Vents help regulate your body temperature by allowing you to stay cool when you’re active. Additionally, some helmets have the option to close vents to retain warmth on chillier days.

Visor/Brim

A visor or brim can be a nice accessory to help keep the sun out of your eyes. In the event of a collision, a visor could also prevent you from breaking your nose.

Audio System Compatibility

While some helmets come with built in speakers, most have an option to wire your earbuds into the earpieces for music or keeping a 2-way radio handy.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

BOA TIGHTENING SYSTEM

Named after the Boa Constrictor that tightens to constrict its prey, a boa tightening system uses a dial/knob that tightens the entire helmet with a single turn. Once you’ve made the major fitting adjustments before riding, you can use the boa system for micro adjustments to dial in the perfect fit.

REMOVABLE EAR PADS

Ear pads are designed to cushion your ears and keep them safe in the event of a fall while also keeping them warm. Most ear pads can be removed or have earbud headphones wired into them.

GOGGLE HOLDERS

Goggle holders are mounted on the back of a helmet and allow you to snap in the goggle band. When you take your goggles off and rest them on top of your helmet, they won’t fall off.

 

READ MORE

For more of our top skiing gear recommendations, check out these popular buyer's guides:

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Ski Bindings

Ski Poles

Ski Pants

Ski Jackets

Ski Goggles

Ski Helmets

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