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The Best Budget Ski Helmets of 2022 Helpful Guide

best budget ski helmets

Skiing and snowboarding are a lot of fun. Accidents do happen no matter how good a skier you are or how careful you are. One of my ski friends got a concussion standing in the lift line after being run over by an out of control skier. Wearing a helmet can help protect your head, keep you warm, and help defog your goggles. Good helmets don’t have to be super expensive. There are many good options to fit any budget. Keep reading for our top picks and guide to the best budget ski helmets.

Below are our top 3 picks for those in a hurry. Keep reading to see reviews of all our picks and ski helmet guide.

☆ Top Pick

☆ Editor’s Choice

☆ Best Value

Smith Optics Mission MIPS

Anon Echo MIPS

OutdoorMaster Kelvin

A great full featured ski helmet that works perfect with Smith ChromaPop ski goggles

An advanced stylish ski helmet with MIPS and BOA custom sizing with excellent craftsmanship

A great low cost simple, durable, and stylish ski helmet available in many colors

The Top 12 Best Budget Ski Helmets

Below are our top 12 picks for the best budget ski helmets on the market today. We considered features, performance, price, durability, customer service, and customer reviews in our recommendations.

1 – Smith Optics Mission MIPS Snowboarding Helmets

Top Pick

  • ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077, 2007 CLASS B, CPSC, CE EN178 Certified
  • MIPS
  • ABS shell with EPS Foam liner and Koroyd
  • Size adjustment dial
  • 14 air vents – adjustable
  • AirEvac goggle anti fog system
  • Removeable ear pads compatible with bluetooth helmet speakers

Summary

The Smith Mission helmet is the mid level offering from Smith Optics. It has every feature almost any skier would want. It has adjustable vents, AirEvac goggle defogging vents, adjustable sizing, and removable ear pads. The ear pads have pockets that will work with blue tooth speakers.

The helmet is well made. It has a removable mesh and fleece liner. The size adjuster feels a little bit cheap compared to other brands. It has an ABS plastic shell with EPS foam energy absorber. It has Koroyd honeycomb for better energy absorption and weight savings around the sides.

The earpads can be removed but they require removing the size adjuster to do it. If you like taking earpads on or off depending on the weather this probably isn’t the helmet for you.

The Mission helmet is available with and without MIPS. It’s worth it to spend the extra $20 to get the MIPS version.

This helmet is available in sizes small through extra large. It is also available in round head/Asian fit versions. The chin strap has plenty of length for people with large heads.

This is a great helmet with every feature you need and nothing you don’t. It has good fit and comfort and will help keep your goggles defogged.

Full Review

See our full review of the Smith Mission MIPS helmet to learn more.

smith i/o goggles iso view

What we liked

  • Plenty of room to wear a hat underneath
  • Comfortable for a long day on the mountain
  • Helps to keep your goggles defogged.

What we didn’t like

  • Size adjuster feels a bit cheap
  • Earpads are difficult to remove

2 – Anon Echo Ski/Snowboard Helmet

Editor’s Choice

  • MIPS for added head protection
  • BOA fit system adjusts around the wearer’s head;
  • Fidlock features an ultra-fast and secure magnetic snap buckle that is easy to use one-handed while wearing gloves
  • Active ventilation lets you adjust airflow to match weather conditions
  • Expedition fleece liner and ear pads are removable for quick and easy customization of warmth and comfort

Summary

The Anon Echo Snowboard Helmet is the mid level offering from Anon Optics. Anon is the goggle and helmet brand produced by Burton Snowboards. It is a great full featured helmet and what I am personally wearing this winter. It is available in both MIPS and non MIPS versions. For the extra $20-30 I would always buy the MIPS version of any helmet for any sport.

The ANON helmet has adjustable vents, BOA adjustable fit system and audio compatible ear pads. It uses a sturdy polycarbonate shell with in molded EPS energy absorber. It has 14 adjustable vents plus 2 fixed vents for your goggles.

The helmet matches the shape of ANON goggles very well with minimal gaps on the top and sides. It has a small visor molded into the front of the helmet for those that like that style. The goggle clip on the back of the helmet is very low profile. Your helmet strap won’t fall out of it. I am a little concerned about the durability if you have a thicker goggle strap.

The helmet is available from sizes small to extra large. Asian fit versions are also available. Sizing runs a little small. If you need a medium with other brands you might need a large from Anon.

The ANON feels like it is made with premium materials and all the details feel well made. It feels a step up in quality from the same priced helmet from Smith.

Overall the Anon Echo MIPS ski helmet is a great choice for anyone who wants a full featured snow helmet.

Review

See our full review of the Anon Echo MIPS Snow Helmet to learn more.

What we liked

  • MIPS and other safety features
  • Anti-fog vents on helmet and compatibility with Anon goggles
  • Quality and feel of materials

What we didn’t like

  • Sizing runs a little small relative to other brands
  • The goggle clip is very tight

3 – OutdoorMaster Kelvin Ski Helmet

Best Value

  • COMFORTABLE SAFETY – Ski helmet built for both comfort and safety. Equipped with REINFORCED ABS SHELL & SHOCK-ABSORBING EPS CORE.
  • CHOOSE BETWEEN 13 DIFFERENT COLOR OPTIONS – Sleek design available in 13 different color combinations for you to choose from. All in matte finish.
  • ADJUSTABLE SIZE – Size adjustment dial for a perfect fit. EASY TO WASH removable ear pads & inner fleece liner.
  • BEST-IN-CLASS VENTILATION – Equipped with 14 individual vents for next-level ventilation for HOURS OF COMFORTABLE SKIING.
OM Black Friday Banner 2021

Summary

The OutdoorMaster Kelvin Helmet is one of the best cheap ski helmets available today. It is one of the most popular ski and snowboard helmets on Amazon. It has many features that make it a great value for its price.

This helmet has a tough ABS shell and EPS foam liner. It has 14 vents built into it. The ear pads are easily removable. It has a size adjuster to help you get a custom fit. To top it off it is ASTM 2040F certified for head protection.

The helmet is very well made and looks much better than its price. It is comfortable to wear with a removable mesh and fleece lining. The size adjuster feels smooth and works well. The chin strap has a nice fleece pad for comfort.

It works well with OutdoorMaster or other goggle brands. We tried it with Smith and Anon goggles as well as the full OutdoorMaster line. All have minimal gap.

This helmet is available in sizes small-large. The large size runs a little small compard to Smith or Giro helmets. There is no extra large size available.

The only thing this helmet doesn’t have that we would like to see is adjustable vents that close for colder weather and add vents in the front to defog goggles.

Overall this is one of the best low cost budget ski helmets available today.

Review

See our full review of the OutdoorMaster Kelvin helmet to learn more.

Ultra ISO view

What we liked

  • Very good ventilation
  • Stylish appearance
  • Low cost

What we didn’t like

  • The sizing runs a little small and there is no Extra Large size
  • Vents aren’t adjustable

4 – Giro Ledge Snow Helmet

Best Value MIPS helmet

  • CONSTRUCTION – Hard Shell construction produces great helmets at great value. A rugged outer shell is formed and then attached to the EPS foam liner.
  • FIT SYSTEM – Auto Loc 2 Fit System (removable) is a durable self-adjusting fit system designed to take the hassle out of fitting a helmet.
  • VENTILATION – Stack Vent in the front of the helmet which aligns with your goggles and helps to keep them clear and fog free.
  • FEATURES – Compatible with aftermarket Giro audio systems by Outdoor Tech. Removable ear pads. Removable goggle retainer. Size L (59-62.5cm)

Summary

The Giro Ledge helmet is the Giro low cost entry level helmet. It is a plane helmet with minimal styling and is available in regular and Giro Ledge MIPS versions.

The helmet has conventional hardshell construction with a plastic shell and EPS foam liner. It is well made and durable feeling. I have used Giro helmets for biking for years and they have stood up very well to mountain biking abuse. Giro helmets aren’t as popular for skiing for no good reason.

The styling of this helmet is very bland. It has the look for a basic can helmet. It lacks any shape that you can find in other low cost helmets.

It has fixed vents that do not close. On colder days you can’t close the vent. The earpads and liner are removable so you have a few things to work with on warmer and colder days.

Where this helmet shines is that it is one of the cheapest helmets available with MIPS if you buy the MIPS version. It also has goggle defogging vents which are missing from many other low cost budget helmets.

Giro makes solid ski helmets. The Ledge is a great budget offering with available MIPS versions.

What we liked

  • One of the cheapest MIPS helmets you can get
  • Durable rugged construction
  • Goggle defogging vents

What we didn’t like

  • Very bland styling
  • Vents aren’t adjustable

5 – Oakley MOD3 Snowboarding-Helmet

Best Budget Hybrid Construction

  • LIKE A SECOND SKULL – Designed with a hybrid shell construction (ABS in front and In-Mold in rear), Oakley MOD3 snowboarding helmets give you both increased durability and weight savings.
  • MODULAR BRIM SYSTEM (MBS) – The innovative MOD3 Goggle/Helmet integrated venting system allows air to flow unobstructed through the brim ventilation.
  • OAKLEY PERFORMANCE – The passion we have for sports, technology, innovation, service, and unconventional thinking unites us and enables us to do our best work. At Oakley, if it’s not good enough for the world’s best athletes, it’s not good enough.

Summary

The Oakley MOD3 is the mid-priced offering from Oakley. It is a high tech advanced helmet with many great features. It has the Oakley modular brim system that lets you get rid of goggle gap on almost any set of snow goggles.

The MOD3 uses a combination of ABS shell and in-mold construction. This lets the helmet save weight and offer extra strength where it matters. There are both MIPS and non-MIPS versions of this helmet. The MIPS versions cost $20-$40 more but it’s worth the extra cost.

This helmet is one of the most comfortable feeling helmets out there. The X-Static earpads and liner are both removable. The earpads don’t push against your ears. The BOA system works very well for adjusting the size.

The helmet has adjustable ventilation. It has venting through the brim to help defog goggles.

The styling of Oakley Mod helmets is a little unconventional. Some people like the look of this helmet. Others do not. You won’t mistake Oakley MOD3 helmets for helmets from any other brand.

Overall this is a great mid-range helmet. It has MIPS, adjustable venting, goggle venting, and Oakley stying.

What we liked

  • Modular brim system
  • Hybrid ABS shell and in-mold construction
  • Very comfortable ear pads and liner

What we didn’t like

  • Polarizing appearance. You will either love how it looks or hate it.

6 – Wildhorn Drift Snowboard & Ski Helmet

  • TRUSTED BY THE BEST – Wildhorn is a proud supplier of the US Ski Team & snow helmet sponsor for 4x Olympian Ashley Caldwell.
  • LOOK LIKE A PRO – Shred in style with the ergonomic design, unparalleled performance, and comfort of the Drift snowboard helmet.
  • ALL-DAY COMFORT – You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable snowboarding helmet. Our ultra-plush interior liner provides maximum comfort and insulation.
  • EVERYONE HATES A SWEATY HEAD – Featuring our VNT technology – a patented adjustable temperature control ventilation system.
  • PEACE OF MIND – Be confident on the slopes and keep your brain healthy. Meets ASTM F2040 and EN1077 standards.

Summary

The Wildhorn Drift Helmet comes from one of the official suppliers of the US Ski Team. It is a step up from the most basic ski helmets with a few extra features. The price is still very affordable under $100.

The Drift has adjustable venting with a slider on top of the helmet. You can close the vents for cold days in January and open them up for spring skiing.

The earpads are easy to remove. They come with pockets for putting in your favorite Bluetooth speakers.

The helmet is fleece lined so it’s warm enough for the coldest of ski days. There is a size adjuster so you can get a custom fit. There is enough space in the helmet for a thin hat if you need even more warmth.

The helmet is ASTM 2040 certified to keep you safe. It uses standard ABS shell with EPS foam construction.

For the price, we wish that the helmet had goggle defogging vents at the front. There is no MIPS version of the helmet for those that want that extra bit of protection.

This is a great slight step up helmet with adjustable venting. It works well with the very good Wildhorn Roca and Pipeline goggles.

What we liked

  • Adjustable vents
  • Stylish looking especially with Wildhorn goggles
  • Bluetooth speaker compatible ear pads

What we didn’t like

  • No goggle defog vents
  • No MIPS version is available

7 – Retrospec Comstock Ski & Snowboard Helmet

  • BREATHABLE DESIGN – Comstock’s netted mesh cap and 10 vents provide the ultimate temperature regulation
  • OPTIMAL PROTECTION – Stay protected on the slopes and wear our durable ABS exterior shell and EPS foam interior helmet.
  • ADJUSTABLE FIT – Ergo knob adjustable dial is a simple one-handed twist dial that tightens and loosens the framework built into the helmet for a customized fit.

Summary

The Retrospec Comstock helmet is one of the most popular budget snow helmets out there. Retrospec makes a variety of outdoor equipment for both summer and winter use. Their helmet is designed for both snow sports and skateboarding and biking.

It is made with a traditional ABS shell and EPS foam energy absorber. The helmet is EN 1077:2007 certified.

The helmet is well ventilated and has 2 vents to help with goggle defogging. The styling of the helmet is closer to a skateboarding design. The vents on top of the helmet in a star pattern are evidence of this. Most helmets designed for skiing and snowboarding have vents aligned fore and aft.

The earpads are removable to change the helmet from hot to cold activities. There is also a mesh removable liner inside the helmet.

The helmet has a size adjuster. If you need a little extra warmth there is plenty of room inside for a thin hat.

The helmet comes in sizes small, medium, and large. The helmet sizing tends to run small and there is no extra large size. The helmet tends to work best with medium to small frame goggles. It’s not specifically designed as a snow helmet so it doesn’t fit larger size goggles well.

If you want a cheap snow helmet you can also use skateboarding, this is a good snowboard helmet option.

What we liked

  • Convertible from a ski/snowboard helmet to a bike/skateboard helmet.
  • Goggle defogging vents on the front of the helmet
  • Low cost

What we didn’t like

  • Vents can’t be closed
  • Sizing runs small
  • Doesn’t work well with large sized goggles

8 – AKASO Ski Helmet

  • Keep Cool or Warm – Adjustable air vent has a slide for temperature control. It keeps you cool while you skiing when you open the vent.
  • Easily Adjust Tightness – In order to batter fit, our ski helmet has twist dial on the back to tight and loosen the helmet
  • Detachable and Easy to Clean Liner – Different from the traditional built-in lining, our removable earpads and inner liner not only keeps your head and ears warm but are easy to clean as well
  • Safe and Reliable – ASTM Safety certified. Lightweight and durable construction fuses the helmets outer shell to the impact-absorbing EPS liner

Summary

The Akaso Ski Helmet is one of the most popular snow helmets on Amazon. Akaso has become a great option for new skiers looking for low cost starter gear. Their ski goggles and helmets pack a lot of value into a very low cost.

The helmet is ASTM certified with an ABS hardshell and EPS foam liner. Like most under $50 ski helmets, it does not have MIPS and there is no MIPS version available.

It has adjustable vents so you can stay warm on cold days or cool off on warm days. There are enough vents to keep you from getting too sweaty on warmer days. There are no goggle defogging vents on the front which is a miss.

The helmet is available in 4 colors and 3 sizes that will work with most skier’s heads. There is no size extra large for people with larger heads which seems to be common for bargain brands.

It has removable fleece lined earpads and liner for warmth. You can remove them making them much easier to keep clean. The earpads don’t have pockets for speakers which is one miss.

If you are looking for a cheap helmet that is ASTM certified, the Akaso ski helmet is worth checking out.

What we liked

  • Adjustable vents on a very low cost helmet
  • Removeable ear pads and liner
  • Comfortable custom fit with size adjuster

What we didn’t like

  • No goggle defog vents
  • No MIPS version

9 – ZIONOR Lagopus H1 Ski Snowboard Helmet

  • Dual Mode Airflow Evacuations – Regulator on the helmet to open and close front vent holes.
  • Full Protection on The Slope – Reinforced construction with strong impact-resistance ABS and EPS materials
  • Comfortable and Customizable – Adjustable chin strap and dial fit button on the back for different head sizes.
  • Solid Ski Goggle Compatibility – Goggle loop on the back helps to keep the goggle in place when skiing at high speed. Fully compatible with all ZIONOR Lagopus ski goggles.

Summary

The Zionor Lagopus H1 Snow Helmet is available in a large variety of colors and patterns. It has 15 different color options including a few patterned helmets. If you want to match your outfit, there is a good chance this helmet has a color that will work.

This helmet is available for under $50 and is CE, EN1077 for your safety. It uses a Polycarbonate shell combined with an EPS foam liner. The construction is conventional and follows what most helmets under $100 use. There is no MIPS option available.

The helmet has a few vents that are adjustable. The front vents can close with a slider on top of the helmet. The rear vents are always open. There is no helmet defogging vents.

It has nice cushy fleece lined earpads that are removable. The helmet works okay as a skateboard or bike helmet in the summer with the fleece pads and liner removed. It is warm enough in the winter with them in place.

The helmet is available in sizes small through extra large. The sizes tend to run small so order a size larger than you think you need.

The Zionor Lagopus helmet is one of the cheapest you can get with adjustable venting and lots of colors. As a bonus, it’s CE/EN1077 certified making it a great value.

What we liked

  • Large selection of colors and patterns
  • Adjustable venting
  • CE/EN1077 certified

What we didn’t like

  • Sizing runs small
  • No goggle defogging vents

10 – TurboSke Summit Series Ski Helmet

  • Innovative Hybrid Shell Construction & complies with ASTM F2040 safety standards. Helmet shell is a combination of a PC shell and a hard ABS plastic shell.
  • Dual Regulator Climate Control. Dual Regulator ventilation system allows you to adjust the front and rear vents independently.
  • Size Adjustable & Comfortable. Turning the glove-friendly dial, you’ll get a snug fit no matter what your head shape is.
  • Magnetic Buckle & Audio Compatible. Helmet is equipped with a revolutionary FIDLOCK patented Magnetic Buckle

Summary

The TurboSke Summit Series Ski Helmet is one of the most full featured helmets out there for under $100. It has many features that aren’t found on helmets from major brands for less than $300.

There are many versions of the TurboSke helmet. If you are looking at TurboSke I recommend you go straight for their most featured version, the Summit Series. The cost is only $20 more than their most basic helmet.

The Summer Series helmet has independently adjustable vents. Front and rear vents can be open and closed separately. There are also goggle defogging vents that can also be closed. You can adjust the climate of this helmet for any kind of weather.

It has hybrid construction with a Polycarbonate shell to save weight. It has a hard ABS Shell in impact critical areas. The helmet is ASTM F2040 certified.

The chin strap uses a FIDLOCK magnetic buckle. These are easier to hook and unhook with gloves and mittens on.

The one miss of this helmet is there is no MIPS version available.

TurboSke has no website outside of Amazon. You roll the dice on customer service for any company operating this way.

This is a very high featured helmet for the cost. It is only missing one major feature with MIPS. Customer service is questionable.

What we liked

  • Dual zone adjustable venting
  • Hybrid shell construction
  • Goggle defogging vents

What we didn’t like

  • No MIPS version is available
  • No company presence outside of Amazon

11 – VELAZZIO Valiant Ski Helmet

  • Safety First – Combination of premium EPS foam and high-impact ABS shell. ASTM F 2040 and CE EN 1077 certified.
  • Stay Comfortable – Dial-button at the back customizes your fit and adjustable climate control offers all day comfort regardless of weather conditions.
  • Audio Compatible Ear Pads – Earphone space is designed within the ear pads so you can enjoy your favorite music while shredding the mountain.

Summary

The Velazzio Valiant Helmet is another very popular ski helmet on Amazon. It has good features for its price. It falls in the low end of cheap budget ski helmet category.

This helmet has standard ABS hardshell with EPS foam liner construction. It is both ASTM F 2040 and CE EN 1077 certified for safety. Like most other low end helmets, no MIPS version is available.

The helmet has adjustable vents with a slider on top of the helmet. There are no goggle defogging vents.

The earpads and liner are removable with snap in tabs. The earpads are Bluetooth speaker compatible. It has a standard plastic goggle strap clip on the back.

The helmet is only available in black and white versions. If you are looking for something colorful you will have to shop for something else.

The helmet is okay made for its price. There are many complaints about the adjustable vent slider, goggle clip, and chin strap breaking after a few uses. The helmet’s cost is very low so you shouldn’t expect the durability of a Smith, ANON, or Oakley helmet.

Overall this is a solid low cost ski helmet. It has muliple safety certifications and conventional construction with adjustable vents.

What we liked

  • Adjustable vents
  • Audio compatible ear pads
  • ASTM and CE/EN certifications

What we didn’t like

  • No MIPS version
  • Questionable durability

12 – Stomp Ski & Snowboarding Snow Sports Helmet

  • This helmet fully complies with EN1077 standards and is CE/ASTM certified. Adults only!
  • Build-In ear pads pocket for wireless headphone-Allows you to add drop-in kit and connect with your phone to crank out your tunes as you enjoy the mountains.
  • The internal fabric lining and ear padding and the ESP inner shell feature multiport with mesh screens to allow for ample airflow.
  • In addition to being vented, this helmet is comfortable to wear all day long. Its padded chin strap and integrated goggle loop enhance comfort and function.

Summary

The Stomp Ski Helmet is solid helmet offering from a newcomer to snow sports. Stomp helmets is produced by the 3rd largest maker of motorcycle helmets in the world. See TorcHelmets to learn more. They have been making great motorcycle helmets for years.

The Stomp helmet uses a standard ABS hardshell with EPS foam liner construction. It is both EN1077 and CE/ASTM certified. It has all the standard features of other under $50 snow helmets. It has non-adjustable vents, removable ear pads, and dial adjustable sizing. Like most low budget helmets, no MIPS version is available.

The helmet has good styling for a low cost helmet. The teardrop shaped vents give it a very dynamic look. The accent ring on the ear pad gives it a little extra pop.

The ear pads have pockets for use with bluetooth helmet speakers.

The helmet is available from Amazon or direct from Stomp. Most user reviews have been positive with very few complaints. The helmet appears to be well made and durable. That is what you would expect from a veteran helmet company.

Overall this is a good value basic ski helmet. It has solid construction, good styling, and multiple safety certifications.

What we liked

  • Good styling
  • Well made and durable
  • EN1077 and CE/ASTM certified

What we didn’t like

  • No MIPS version is available
  • Vents aren’t adjustable

skiers and snowboarder wearing helmets

Budget Ski Helmet Guide

There are many things to consider when looking for a budget ski helmet. There are basic features that almost all ski helmets will have. These include vents, adjustable size, and removable ear pads. There are other nice to have features such as adjustable vents and audio compatible ear pads. Let’s discuss what you should look for.

Price

Low end cheap ski helmets start around $50. A $50 helmet will be ASTM2040F or EN1077 certified so it will be safe. It will not have every feature that you will eventually want in a ski helmet. It might have adjustable vents but won’t have goggle defog vents. The ear pads might be speaker compatible but they might not be. Nothing in the $50 range will have MIPS protection. It will be a good basic helmet that will keep you safe on the slopes in most situations.

Moving up to $100 ski helmets you add more features and less compromise. A $100 helmet should have goggle defog vents. The design should at least have MIPS available although it may be a $20-$30 extra.

When we go up to $150-$200 helmets, they should have every basic helmet feature. MIPS should be available. They should have goggle defogging vents. Vents should be adjustable. The earpads should be Bluetooth speaker compatible. Helmets in this price range should not be missing any main ski helmet feature. A few will also have more advanced hybrid construction or honeycomb energy absorbers.

Going above $200 for a ski helmet will get you advanced features. These include dual zone adjustable vents, in-mold or hybrid construction. Honeycomb energy absorbers to replace EPS foam are becoming common now too. Above this point, you are paying for features that make the helmet a little more comfortable and weigh a little bit less.

Helmet construction

Most budget ski helmets all have very similar construction. They all involve a plastic shell, either ABS or PC, and an EPS foam energy absorber. The 2 main helmet shell materials are ABS and PC or Polycarbonate. The 2 main construction methods are Hardshell and In-Mold construction

ABS vs PC shells

  • ABS shell – ABS material is heavier and more scratch resistant. It’s also cheaper than Polycarbonate. Most helmet shells on budget ski and snowboard helmets are made entirely of ABS.
  • PC shell – Polycarbonate is lighter and stronger than ABS but it is also 3 times more expensive and scratches much easier. PC is used as a shell material when the goal is saving weight. Some helmets with hybrid shell construction will have some portion of their shell made from PC.

See this article from ThingsThatFold.com to learn more about the differences between ABS and PC plastics.

In-Mold vs Hardshell construction vs Hybrid

Both types of helmet construction use EPS foam for their energy absorber. Both offer the same protection for your head and are equally safe.

  • Hardshell construction – The helmet shell and EPS foam liner are molded seperately and then glued together. This method is cheap and easy to manufacture. Because of tolerances the helmet can’t have really intricate venting holes and details.
  • In-Mold construction – The helmet shell and EPS foam liner are molded together in one mold. This construction method costs more but produces a lighter weight helmet. Because the shell and foam are molded together, the vent holes and channels can be more controlled.
  • Hybrid construction – Hybrid helmets are made of more than 1 molding. Part of the helmet uses hardshell construction and part uses In-Mold construction. This is less expensive than a full In-Mold helmet and somewhere in the middle as far as weight and other benefits go.

See the below video for a quick explanation of hard shell vs in-mold helmet construction

ASTM vs EN vs CE certifications

The main standards used to certify the safety of snow helmets are ASTM2040F and EN1077. One is the American standard. One is the European standard. Both do similar testing although there are subtle differences. They use different impactor shapes on the helmet. They have different acceleration limits. Both use 4 samples to get their results. Both test at a variety of temperatures. You can feel equally safe wearing a helmet that was certified to either standard. See these articles from Aurora Helmets and Satra Technology to learn more.

MIPS

MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. It is an inner liner in your helmet that lets the outer shell and energy absorber rotate about your head while the MIPS liner stays in place. In angled impacts such as a glancing blow to the side of your head, the helmet won’t force your head to rotate. This reduces the strain on your neck and brain.

If you are skiing in the trees and hit your head into a tree but not straight on, MIPS will give you better protection. In any situation where you hit your head on something at an angle, MIPS will help. Go to mipsprotection.com to learn more about MIPS.

Helmet features

The main features you’ll see talked about with ski helmets are venting, size adjustment, and earpads. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.

Venting

Venting helps keep your head cool and dry. Without venting, sweat will build up on your head making you feel disgusting at the end of the day. In general more venting is better for most ski days. On really cold days too much airflow can make you feel cold.

Adjustable venting that can be closed on colder days is a nice ski helmet feature. On some higher cost helmets, you can open and close front and rear vents separately. I’ve personally never owned a helmet with this feature and not sure it has that much real world value. Standard adjustable vents have worked fine for me.

Goggle defogging vents

Smith pioneered the AirEvac goggle defog vent system. This puts vents on the lower front of your helmet that push air through your ski goggles and keep the fog out. Most helmet makers incorporate these into their mid to high priced helmets now. They are well worth the extra cost. I rarely ever have goggle fogging problems these days. If they do fog a little while I am standing around, they quickly clear up as soon as I start skiing.

Audio compatible removeable earpads

Almost every ski and snowboard helmet made has removable ear pads. They can come off for warmer spring days or if you want to use the helmet for biking or skateboarding in summer. Some are much easier to remove than others. Smith helmets have ear pads that need the size adjuster unhooked to take and are a pain.

Some people like listening to music or other things while skiing. Bluetooth helmet speakers are a great way to do this. Some helmets have earpads with pockets built in for holding headphones or speakers. This makes installing them very easy.

Adjustable size

Every ski helmet sold has adjustable sizing now. There is a dial on the back of the helmet that you turn to adjust the size. It will tighten a band that goes around the helmet inside. Helmets with BOA cables such as Oakley and ANON work a little differently but the function is the same.

Helmet compatibility

A proper fitting ski helmet should have a good fit with your ski goggles. You want to have as small a gap between your goggles and helmet as possible. A large gap means your forehead will get cold and the goggle defog vents on the helmet won’t help. If you have a really big goggle gap people may call you a gaper. You want to reduce the goggle gap. Most helmets are designed to work with ski goggles these days.

Different helmet brands shape their helmets and goggles a little bit differently. To get the best fit between your snow helmet and goggle, use the same brand goggle and helmet. If you use different brands, it is a good idea to try them on together to see how they fit together.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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