Our Best Pick
#1. Smith Vantage
The Smith Vantage is a helmet that weighs 17.6 ounces and has twenty-one adjustable ventilation vents. Because of the superior quality, though, it does tend to be on the upper end of the price spectrum. If you’re shopping on a budget, this might not be the right helmet for you.
The Vantage helmet is favored among professional and serious alpine and downhill skiers. The helmet’s engineers took into account multiple comfort and convenient factors, including the ventilation, overall comfort, features, warmth, and how to get the right sizing and fit.
The helmet is designed with a soft and supportive liner, which snugly conforms to the shape of your head. In addition, the chin strap is made using the same padding material, which reduces friction and irritation against the skin. Strapping the helmet on and taking it off is easy to do. If you often transition from scene to scene, the ease of use will appeal.
In comparison to the majority of other helmets available, the Vantage has significantly more ventilation holes. Even high-end competitors rarely have more than 20 ventilation holes. Because the ventilation system is also easy to customize, you can make the helmet cooler or warmer depending on your needs. The generous openings can be closed and opened by using two easy-to-move sliders.
The first slider can open and close four of the vents found on the top of the helmet, while the other slider has control over eight vents along the back and sides of the helmet. With the combination of soft liner and customizable ventilation, the helmet is widely praised for its overall comfort.
If you get too hot, you can open the vents and quickly remove the heat. But when you’re in cold weather, the helmet provides a good deal of warmth and insulation. As long as the ventilation system is closed, drafty and cold air stays out of the helmet.
The helmet features a MIPS liner. MIPS technology, otherwise known as Multi-directional Impact Protection System technology, is quickly becoming standard across the helmet industry. The goal of the liner is to keep the brain from being damaged in an accident by creating an angle to the impact through an independently moving liner.
The helmet also integrates Aerocore honeycomb mesh underneath the ventilation system, which helps the helmet to absorb more energy during a crash. This material is engineered by combining EPS foam and Koroyd tubes.
All of the materials in the helmet should be durable enough to last through an entire season of rough use. Most helmets should last for several seasons.
Some people have noted that the Vantage sizing tends to run small, so you might want to get a size up from what you usually do.
#2. Smith Variance
The Variance helmet is another high-quality offering from Smith. Though it does tend to be on the upper end of the price range, it’s also less expensive than the Vantage. Despite the lower cost, the helmet still offers ideal comfort and durability. Unless you’re a serious professional, the differences in features are negligible.
The Variance is shaped to fit a round head, as the majority of Smith models are. If you find that round helmets tend to be improperly sized for you, this one might be a struggle. With that said, there’s an adjustable strap system that lets you easily maneuver the helmet until it conform to differently shaped heads.
The helmet tends to seal in warmth in cold and windy conditions. You can also adjust it to add space for a beanie or hat for extra insulation. If you’re dealing with the most extreme temperatures, though, the wind might sneak in.
The ventilation system boasts eighteen vents. That’s not as much as the Vantage’s twenty-one, but it is significant. You can open and close the vents to regulate the heat. The Variance also tends to be a little heavier than most helmets, but unless you’re a seasoned rider, it will be hard to tell the difference.
The overall aesthetic is streamlined and stylish. The helmet comes with a visor, and it’s also compatible with different pairs of goggles. There are multiple color choices available to choose from.
The Variance is a highly versatile helmet. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, it will offer safety and comfort through all kinds of skiing. The solid construction can stand up to ongoing use, and it has enough temperature regulation features to use in both warm and frigid weather.
The Vantage is a superior helmet not just from Smith, but from any manufacturer in the industry today. There’s very little fault in it except that it tends to be extremely pricey. The design incorporates twenty-one vents that can be opened and closed to regulate heat, an adjustable strap system, and padded comfort.
The Variance is also a highly competitive helmet model that’s more comfortable and stylish than many others on the market. It doesn’t have quite as many features as the Vantage, but it’s also a little more affordable because of that. The helmet is slightly heavier than the Vantage, and it only has eighteen ventilation holes in comparison to the Vantage’s twenty-one. It also has occasional drafts in extremely cold weather, but for the most part regulates temperature admirably.
The Vantage is an ideal helmet if you want a borderline perfect design that’s good for professional-grade skiers. For those who have to consider their budget, the Variance has most of the same features but is at a slightly more reasonable price point.