If you’ve already read our skiing equipment list, you’ll know a ski helmet should be at the top of your list of priorities.
There’s going to be plenty of snowboarders and skiers not wearing a helmet on the slopes.
But, if you want to stay safe, it’s advisable that you buy one.
Some hire shops will have ski helmets for hire. But, I’d avoid hiring completely.
Ski hire shops will buy the cheapest products possible, and that means the protection on offer isn’t the best.
And, to make matters worse, you’ll have no idea if or how many times the shell has been damaged.
Shells on helmets have crumple zones like cars. After one solid impact, they should be replaced.
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The Best Ski Helmets For Beginners
We’re going to keep this review quick and incredibly simple.
Below, we’ve featured two of the best ski helmets from a reputable brand; Smith Optics, and our top pick for 2020, the Giro Nine MIPS.
1. Giro Nine MIPS
We’re going to hit you with our top pick here straight away; the the Giro Ledge MIPS.
We’ve mentioned two perfectly good helmets from Smith Optics below, but we’re still choosing the Giro Ledge MIPS as the best ski helmet money can buy, and here’s why…
You’ve probably realized by now, that extreme sports gear isn’t cheap. You could pay upwards of $200 for a good ski helmet. And, that’s another reason we love the Giro Ledge. For what it offers, in our eyes, it is a $200 helmet. But the price tag begs to differ.
You’ll be able to pick up the Giro Ledge for well under $150, whereas similar ski helmets are going to be costing you $50-100 more.
MIPS, also known as a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, is a protection system I use regularly. In fact, I use it in my motorcycle helmet. I recently had a crash, with the impact being so hard it blew my visor off as I smashed my head off a curb.
Here’s the damage to the helmet:
I’m certain if I was wearing my old (non-MIPS) helmet, I’d have been in hospital. Instead? I rode away after a 5 minute breather. Need I say more?
Essentially, the technology in the Giro Nine MIPS ski helmets, allows the helmet to move slightly on impact. As it moves, force is absorbed, and that means less chance of an injury.
So, the first reason we picked this as the best ski helmet, is due to the level of protection on offer, thanks to MIPS.
First, the Ledge MIPS comes with top vents, meaning as you sweat, it dries quickly, but hot air can escape so you don’t overheat on the slopes.
Next, if you’ve ever used a cheap ski helmet from a rental shop, you’ll know one thing; it’s almost impossible to wear goggles without them fogging up.
The Giro Ledge incorporates an air vent in the front of the lid. And, that allows your goggles to breathe freely, meaning the chances of them steaming up are relatively low.
Not got goggles yet? Check out our guide to the best ski goggles under $100 here.
Comfort and Fit
The fit of the Giro Ledge MIPS is second to none. And, that’s because there’s a self-adjusting fit system, removing the need for you to be messing around on the slopes.
There are fixed position straps which work with elastic to create that perfect fit. And, you can adjust your helmet on the fly and without taking it off, using the adjustment dial, to ensure goggles fit nice and snug.
Who Should Buy The Giro Ledge MIPS?
If I had a budget of over $100 and wanted the best ski helmet for my money, the Giro Ledge MIPS is where I’d be dropping my cash.
It’s not just comfortable and adjustable, it offers excellent breathability. And, whilst the two Smith helmets mentioned below are adequate, they’re not above adequate.
The Giro offers much more protection thanks to the MIPS technology, and let’s face it, that’s the most important thing to think about when trying to protect your head.
2. Smith Holt
The Smith Holt is a lower end helmet in the Smith Optics range.
It’s made from a sturdy ABS construction, and is incredibly lightweight at just 20oz.
If you’re looking for a ski helmet well under $100, and you’re a beginner, this is an excellent choice.
Ventilation is much better than most products in this price range, thanks to the 10 fixed vents.
If you’ve already checked out other helmets, you’ll see most of them look, well, stupid.
Smith have managed to incorporate stylish design into an important piece of skiing safety kit. It’s low profile, looks cool, and is incredibly comfortable.
And, most of that comfort comes from the flexibility on offer with the adjusters. A lot of cheaper helmets get a singular dial. That makes adjusting a helmet pretty-difficult.
The Smith Holt gets an elastic adjuster offering additional comfort, alongside the dial. But, that just doesn’t offer the benefit of straight up comfort; it also helps to keep heat where it should be.
At under $75, we see this as the perfect ski helmet for beginners.
3. Smith Aspect
The Smith Aspect is the next step up in terms of style, design and protection.
Price wise. Smith do sometimes offer deals, so it can be found cheaper than it’s price tag that’s around $100.
If you’re looking for a lightweight ski helmet helmet, look no further. The Aspect gets a 6oz weight reduction in comparison to the heavier Holt above. It’s a small but noticeable difference.
The In-mold construction means you’ve got a little bit of extra protection too.
Everything on the Aspect gets an upgrade in comparison to the Holt.
For instance, ventilation is much better, with a 14-piece ventilation system. That means on tough piste, sweat is going to dry much quicker, so heat doesn’t get drawn away from your body.
Which is The Best Ski Helmet?
As you’ve probably already guessed, we’re big fans of the Giro Ledge MIPS helmet. Whilst the two Smith helmets mentioned above are cheaper, they simply don’t offer the same level of protection.
If you want maximum protection, the Giro ski helmet is the way forward.
The 9 Best Ski Helmet Brands
It’s hard to determine the best ski helmet, because there are variables. Different skiers are going to lean towards different helmets.
There’s a range of brands and models that are specifically designed to suit skiers:
- With large heads
- That want to mount a GoPro
- Prefer helmets with a visor
- That are youths or toddlers
- That wear goggles (advisable), and want a removable goggle lock
- Need built in audio, or headphone mounts
As with any safety equipment, the most important thing is to only buy ski helmets from the most reputable brands.
If you choose a ski helmet from any of the brands below, you’ll be on the right track:
- Smith Optics
- Sweet Protection
Ski Helmet FAQ
What is the best ski helmet?
We’ve searched high and low and decided the Giro Ledge MIPS is the best ski helmet for the money. It offers the best all-round comfort, fit and protection, yet still isn’t stupidly expensive, weighing in at less than $150.
How much should a ski helmet cost?
You’ll be able to pick up ski helmets for as little as $30, but don’t. If you want optimum protection, we’d suggest budgeting between $70-150.
How do I choose a ski helmet?
First, set a budget. Then, stick to top ski helmet brands mentioned in this article. Finally, decide whether you want a MIPS helmet or not.
What is MIPS in ski helmets?
MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) fits between the liner and shell in your helmet. Put simply, it allows your helmet to move slightly on impact, and this movement reduces the force on your body, and therefore, chances of injury.
Is MIPS worth the price?
MIPS is absolutely worth the price. Typically, expect to pay an extra $15-25 for a MIPS ski helmet, compared with a standard helmet. But, for this small cost, you’ll have much more head protection.
Should I wear a ski helmet?
Absolutely. Skiing accidents are common, and not everything you bump into, is going to be snow. Try and set a budget for your new ski helmet of $70-150.
Thanks for reading our quick guide to the best ski helmets for beginners.
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