Whatever your skill level when it comes to skiing or snowboarding, getting yourself a ski helmet is a smart decision. Even the best skiers and riders can take a tumble now and then, find themselves involved in a high-speed collision, or have a big crash off the kickers. With that in mind, spending some time thinking about how you’re going to protect one of your body’s most vital organs (your brain) in the mountains is definitely a sensible approach. Accidents can happen to anyone.
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Whether you’ve got an old helmet that’s seen better days or are totally new to the sport, you’ll be glad to know that ski helmet technology has advanced greatly in recent years. Ski helmets are now lighter and safer than ever before. From cutting edge helmets to more basic, yet effective, budget options we’ve got your head covered this ski season. Once you’ve chosen your ski helmet for this season, be sure to head on over to our best ski jackets and best ski mitts round ups. It’s time to get kitted out.
The Best Ski Helmets For Winter 2023
- Scott Blend Plus Ski Helmet
- Atomic Backland Helmet
- Head Compact Pro Ski Helmet
- Dynafit TLT Helmet
- Anon Merak WaveCel Ski Helmet
- Sandbox Classic 2.0
- Bolle Ryft Pure Ski Helmet
- Oakley Mod 1 Pro Ski Helmet
- Wedze D-Ski Helmet
Before we discuss the best ski helmets for this winter, we thought we’d take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions when it comes to buying protective headwear.
When should you change your ski helmet?
Your ski helmet serves a vitally important function so it’s crucial that you keep track of what condition it’s in, and whether it’s due for a replacement. Ski manufacturers recommend you change your helmet every five years. This might sound like a cynical ploy to make you spend more of your hard-earned cash with them, but there’s actually some sound logic behind it.
“Ski manufacturers recommend you change your helmet every five years”
Ski helmets, you see, are actually made from materials that will gradually weaken over time. This is particularly true of the EPS foam you’ll find in the inner part of your helmet. Over time, a combination of storage conditions and regular small impacts will alter the safety-enhancing properties and protective characteristics of EPS. Obviously, the more you go skiing and snowboarding the likelihood of this EPS suffering from general wear and tear will only increase.
If you’re involved in a fall or a collision that involves a shock to the head, you’ll need to change your helmet even if the outer part of it appears to be intact. When a helmet impact occurs, the EPS foam which is there to absorb some of the energy and therefore protect your head becomes compromised. Once the foam has been crushed or compromised in any way, the helmet won’t provide anywhere near the same level of protection if there’s another impact. Buying yourself a new helmet might be a hassle, not to mention a hit on the wallet, but the potentially harmful consequences of sticking with a busted helmet isn’t worth the risk.
Should you buy a second-hand helmet?
Never buy a second-hand ski helmet, even if the discounted price is incredibly tempting. The helmet in question might look fine on the outside, but it could have suffered an impact that’s imperceptible to the naked eye. This historic impact or shock may have compromised the helmet’s level of protection, and could mean its useless in a collision scenario on the slopes.
For this reason above, it’s always better – if you can afford it – to buy your own ski helmet rather than renting one. A rental helmet may have suffered a significant impact unbeknownst to the ski hire shop you’re borrowing it from, and mean you’re ultimately wearing something that might not keep you safe.
How to choose the right ski helmet
It might sound obvious but if your ski helmet doesn’t fit properly, and isn’t the right size for your head, it won’t protect you in the way it’s supposed to. Before buying your helmet, take a soft tape measure and wrap it around your head marginally above your eyebrows and ears. The tape measure should cross the middle of your forehead. If you don’t have a tape measure, use a piece of string and wrap it around your head in the same way before measuring the string to the point where it crosses on your forehead.
In an ideal world, the measurement will fit comfortably in the middle of a size bracket leaving you with an easy decision to make. If, however, you are on the line between sizes we’d recommend going up a size although you’ll likely want to try both to be sure.
“It might sound obvious but if your ski helmet doesn’t fit properly, and isn’t the right size for your head, it won’t protect you”
To check the fit is correct, place the helmet on your head so it’s aligned in the correct manner before pulling the strap down and under your chin. The helmet should feel snug, but not uncomfortable. A correctly fitting helmet should have no significant gaps between the lining of the helmet and your head.
Once the ski helmet is on, with the strap clipped, shake your head around gently. If the helmet moves around or you feel it shaking separately from the movement of your head, it’s almost certainly too big. At the other end of the sizing spectrum, if you’re feeling pressure around your head when the helmet’s on (as if it’s being squeezed) or the helmet doesn’t fit all the way on it’s too small and you need to go up a size. Your helmet needs to be comfortable enough to wear all day, otherwise you might be tempted to take it off at a time, or in a scenario, where you might need it.
Scott Blend Plus Ski Helmet
Sizes: S, M, L
Reasons to buy it: ISPO award winner, clever all-in-one offering, impressive airflow
Winner of the coveted 2022 ISPO Award, the Scott Blend Plus Helmet is Scott’s take on an integrated helmet and visor system. Now, we’re fully aware that integrated goggle systems such as this one here are something of an acquired taste. That being said, however, we really do love how Scott has gone about things with this product and that’s why we’re happy to argue it’s one of the best ski helmets that money can buy at this current time.
The helmet, aside from the additional magnets and cord for the visor, looks and fits just like a regular helmet. It’s housing an in-mould design with MIPS. In other words, it’s home to some of the best in class protection. The product also features a nifty venting setup to maximise comfort on the mountain, no matter what time of year you happen to be shredding it up in.
“Winner of the coveted 2022 ISPO Award, the Scott Blend Plus Helmet is Scott’s take on an integrated helmet and visor system”
The visor makes use of Scott’s Amplifier lens technology. Just like other clever bits of contrast-boosting lens technology, this setup essentially filters out the light you don’t need to see. In doing so, it also boosts the light you want to see (blue light, orange light and red light). These light ranges are said to be the most important in enhancing contrast and clarity in poor light conditions.
Considering it’s an integrated helmet, arguably one of the most impressive things about the Scott Blend Plus is that it doesn’t look kooky in the slightest. Scott really has nailed the design with this one. It offers some of the most impressive airflow around, and delivers a seamless connection between the helmet and visor. With some handy magnets to help stash the visor when you’re not using it, there’s a sense with this helmet, from the second you get to grips with it, that Scott has put a lot of thought in. All things considered, it’s an excellent two-birds-with-one-stone kind of package.
Read our Scott Blend Plus Ski Helmet review.
Atomic Backland Helmet
Sizes: 51-55 cm, 55-59 cm and 59-63 cm
Reasons to buy it: Ski touring expertise, great protection, versatile
From the Backland skis to the fantastic Backland boot lineup, Atomic have brought over world-cup-winning designs and applied it to the ski touring market. The brand has now gone one step further by bringing their expertise and seeing what it can cook up in the world of ski touring helmets. Introducing the Backland Helmet.
“It’s a dual-density foam that, according to Atomic, provides up to 40% higher impact protection than the industry-wide safety standards”
When discussing helmets, it’s natural to immediately question what the setup is like between your head and the hard outer shell stuff. This build is ultimately what’s responsible for keeping your brain safe, so it’s natural to question how it will hold up when, for example, it whacks into icy snow when you’re bombing it at 50 km/h. In this case, it’s Atomic’s AMID construction that makes up this all-important layer.
AMID is essentially Atomic’s impact protection (Atomic Multi-directional Impact Deflector). It’s a dual-density foam that, according to Atomic, provides up to 40% higher impact protection than the industry-wide safety standards. This level of protection is what brings multi-norm certification to the Backland’s credentials. It’s a level of performance that means it meets skiing, climbing, and cycling standards (in one package). If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a multi-sport day, or like the idea of cycling up to the snowline (we’re looking at you, skiers of Scotland), this lid has got you covered.
Read our Atomic Backland Helmet review.
Head Compact Pro Ski Helmet
Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL
Reasons to buy it: Lightweight, durable, easily-optimised fit, great ventilation
The Head Compact Pro manages to be both lightweight and durable. What exactly does this mean for you, the skier? Well, in short, it means you’ve got the protection of a nuclear bunker up top without the concrete weightiness that goes with it. The helmet has a slim profile, adjustable ear pads, and a patented Sphere Fit system that means you can ensure it’s comfortably locked onto your skull no matter the shape of your head. It’s all dialled in, for an optimum fit, with the help of an always-reliable BOA dial. What this means, in reality, is that you can get the fit to a place where it feels incredibly secure without putting uncomfortable pressure on your skull. We like BOA dials a lot.
As seasoned skiers of a certain vintage can attest, there’s arguably nothing worse in the mountains than skiing in a helmet housing a sub-standard helmet climate. OK, there’s definitely worse things but poor ventilation on a ski helmet can cause a sweaty head situation and this, in turn, can make your head cold and uncomfortable when those frosty alpine winds really start to ramp up. With that in mind, you’ll be glad to know that the Head Compact Pro has seven ventilation outlets and a generally very impressive vent channel system. Head claim their Thermal Ventilation leads warm away but doesn’t let cold air in. It’s a claim that, if our testing is anything to go by, seems to have a fair bit of merit to it. Clever stuff from a brand with clever designers, we’re fans of this helmet.
Read our Head Compact Pro Ski Helmet review.