Lids get safer and more comfortable every year. Choose wisely and keep your bonce safe
More skiers are wearing helmets than ever; the National Ski Areas Association (nsaa.org) found that 67% of skiers and snowboarders are now wearing them – that’s 10% more than two years ago. When you’re rocking your lid, it is pertinent to remember this: like a seatbelt in a car, a helmet offers some protection but prevention is better than cure, so not crashing in the first place is preferable.
Should you hit your head, not only will you need to buy a new helmet but it’s unclear how much protection a plastic and polystyrene lid will offer against a 30mph collision with a 50-year-old tree trunk. Secondly, if you collide with someone else, you are effectively wearing a weapon on your head. Don’t shut your eyes and hope for the best, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be OK, it’s just not cricket.
Right, that’s the disclaimer out of the way! Onto the fun stuff. Loads of brands offer a host of lids, certified to European and American safety standards. The first consideration when buying one is the standard of safety that it conforms to.
Next up, choose the right helmet for the riding you intend to do. Vents will be less necessary if you’re shredding Utah in January than if you’re riding summer glaciers.
The fit and size are obviously crucial – make sure you try on in a shop rather than buy online. And only settle on something that fits you perfectly. If it doesn’t quite do that, the chances are that it may do more harm than good.
1. ATOMIC NOMAD LF £100
Fit is awesome here thanks to a wide band of breathable memory foam that adapts precisely to the skier’s bonce. Then you can do fine adjustments with the Adaptive Fit system too. Nice. We also love how aggressive the vents are on this ABS hard shell, looking like shark sides…
2. BERN KINGSTON £119
Meet Bern’s brand new premium helmet, featuring waxed canvas, rubberised ear caps and chin strap for more comfort, durability and fit. Its Zip Mold+ construction is thinner, tapered and 20% lighter than other Zip Mold helmets. The crank fit dial on the back of the helmet simplifies sizing and offers a customisable fit.
3. BOLLÉ B-STYLE £79
In-mold construction – which fuses polycarbonate shell into the foam liner – keeps the weight down nicely here, and it features all the useful but vital stuff: integrated vents, removable ear pads, washable lining. Click-to-fit adjustable wheel means you can get it perfectly customised to your head.
4. CÉBÉ CONTEST VISOR £65
Very nice all-rounder at a good price point. Comes with spring-friendly washable lining, integrated ventilation, removable ear pads, and lining with 3D mesh panels for improved breathability. Integrated visor useful too, as the snow sluffs right off and nicely away from your goggles.
5. GIRO DISCORD £129
All new, this is a soft shell (made of dual-density vinyl nitrile of course!), the benefit being it can take a load more bumps than a standard helmet before it needs to be changed. Ideal if you’re into park in a big way, or serious about hardcore backcountry. Venting control and removable ear pads make it spring-friendly too.
6. HEAD ADORE £100
Yes, yes, insert jokes as you like about Head being into ‘soft core’, but this ground breaking tech means it’ll probably be the comfiest helmet you ever own thanks to the core being a mixture of mellow dampening foam covered by ultra-light ABS outershell. All that means you get great protection and a super snug fit.
7. JULBO SYMBIOS £130
Best known for eyewear, becoming a bigger player in the lid market. The Symbios has a solid feel and is nicely lightweight (480g). As to build, you get solid injected ABS shell upper and a light in-mould lower section, for comfort and strength. There’s double ventilation, and it’s precise on the head thanks to the 3D Adjustable Fit.
8. K2 ROUTE HELMET £110
We can think of plenty of reasons why this has not been done before. A helmet. With holes. Which looks like a Gatling gun has run through it. But it’s mega. Lids? Yes, the tech is pushed along every year. The venting improves. Liners are easier to wash, more likely to be anti-bacterial. Shape and profile is improved so they look less like you’re about to be fired out of a rocket. But here you get an awesome look and at 320g it’s the lightest alpine certified helmet out there. There’s boa adjustment for perfect, dial-it-up-daddio fit too.
9. LAZER REVERT £59
Skate-inspired, old-school, bomb-proof bowling ball! Despite the great price, you get removable earpads with audio, internal padding so you can tweak for a customised fit, and front vents to allow cold air to flow through internal channels to stop you getting overheated.
10. POC RECEPTOR BACKCOUNTRY MIPS £175
Mmmm. Multi directional impact protection system. Designed to reduce rotational forces to the brain in case of an oblique impact. Sure to send your friends to sleep if ever spoken about over lunch. But very good news for your head. Lid looks the absolute Scandi-style shizzle too.
11. SALOMON ICON CUSTOM AIR £115
As you’d expect from Salomon, a really well-put-together all-round offering. Great fit (thanks to the Air System), and excellent all-season practicality thanks to removable/washable lining, ear pads you can pop-off for spring skiing, good venting with three positions. Nice metallic yet matt finish too.
12. SCOTT COULOIR £155
Loved it last season and nothing has changed. The ultimate hardcore backcountry lid, it adheres to both ski and mountaineering safety standards, with low profile damping giving just enough protection in the crown but also keeping it light and vented. Side fixes for lamps or goggles.
13. SHRED SLAM-CAP £140
New from Shred’s yard sale range, this is an in-moulded helmet with embedded layer of Slytech Noshock, which sounds a bit like a Sherlock Holmes villain but is actually a honeycomb cone structure within the injected EPS foam. Very good as it dissipates forces, spreading whacks laterally and limiting transference to the head.
14. SMITH VANTAGE £170
Meet Koroyd, a honeycomb-like material that increases energy absorption and increases airflow. Just in case this last bit did not reassure your hot head enough, 21 vents too. Really! A female-specific X-static performance lining prevents hat hair, and there’s an adjustable Boa FS360 fit system too.
15. UVEX P1US £99
This weighs 20% less than their previous hardshell injected helmets, while also giving 16% more security than required by the helmet standard. So you can see why Uvex are rather proud of the P1us, and its brand new ultra-light/impact-resistant special synthetic material. A clever air-channel system provides draft-free ventilation and regulates the temperature in the helmet automatically.