There was a time not too long ago when wearing a helmet for snow sports was considered ridiculous. Coincidentally — maybe — this was around the same time that this was not considered ridiculous. To say that our judgement was clouded at the time would be an understatement.
Luckily for your brain (and Justin Timberlake’s career), things have changed considerably: helmets are in and frosted tips are out. These days, seeing someone without a brain bucket is a rarity; more than 70 percent of all mountain-goers are donning them, and countless brands are releasing offerings onto the market. As you’d expect with any up-and-coming product, each new release promises a number of helpful advances in the name of safety, style and utility. With hundreds of helmets to choose from, though, the task of finding the right one can be daunting and off-putting — but, with your IQ and major bodily functions on the line, we beg you to persevere. To help, we’ve rounded up our five favorites covering the spectrum from high-tech to lightweight.
The Edit is the lightest full-featured snow helmet that Giro’s ever made, boasting a weight half a pound lighter than other helmets on this list. Even with these weight savings, Giro’s still managed to integrate a stealthy GoPro mount, RocLoc 5 fit adjustment and loads of venting. As you might expect because of its streamlined construction, extra bits like the straps and earpads have been put on a diet, so they don’t have that same reassuring heft and luxe thickness found on heavier helmets.
Poc Fornix Backcountry MIPS
The Fornix Backcountry is the perfect mix of style and head-saving substance. Packed inside of the handsome aramid-reinforced shell is a patented system called MIPS that protects your head against rotational forces from oblique impacts when your head doesn’t hit the ground at a right angle (read: most of the times your head hits the ground). The Fornix comes in a load of colors, but we’re partial to Poc’s “Crash Test Dummy” motif — something about that Swedish sense of humor…
In contrast to the paired-down Giro, the Vantage has every creature comfort and design feature Smith designers could think of at the time, weight and price be damned. Features like thick earpads, a big chinstrap with tons of adjustability, 21 vents, sculpted curves, a Boa fit system that’s adjustable on the fly and total integration with Smith’s goggles max out this plush beauty’s “pros” list.
What happens when one of the biggest names in cycling helmets decides to hit the slopes? You get the Mozo — a perfect carryover of all that Lazer has learned over their 95-year history in cycling that also incorporates a dashing snow-specific design. Legacy cycling bits like Lazer’s excellent Rollsys adjustment system and magnetic buckle meet earbud-friendly earpads and well-proportioned styling to form a perfect alternative to the primary helmet makers.
Head Sensor BT Runtastic
If you’re looking to have the technological upper hand over your fellow skiers and snowboarders, you’re gonna want the BT Runtastic. Despite sounding like a Pilates machine sold on late-night TV, the Runtastic is loaded with Bluetooth-connected earpad speakers, a full control suite, and a built in microphone (a particularly large boon if one J. Timberlake gets inspired on the chairlift). In addition to that tech, the Runtastic packs standard goodies like plenty of vents, in-mold construction and on-the-fly fit adjustment.