Life in the 21st century, it seems, is rapidly advancing.
That cell phone you bought last week is probably already out of style, and most style trends have about the same shelf life as a Kardashian marriage.
As such, the things you see now when you go skiing or snowboarding today are different than what you saw five years ago. Namely, you see a whole lot more people wearing snow helmets.
As helmet technology has advanced, so too has the public’s awareness of the devastating effects of brain and head injuries.
No longer are snow helmets bulky monstrosities that look out of place among a sea of beanies and winter caps on a ski slope. Instead, snow helmets have become the expectation, not the exception for most riders. In fact, at many mountains across North America, the use of a helmet is becoming mandated.
So, with all that said, if you haven’t started wearing a helmet yet, or if you’re just looking for a new bucket, here are three staff picks from the folks here at GrindTV that will have you looking good while keeping your noggin safe.
Giro Range MIPS ($240)
Giro set the pace with its In Form Fit System years ago, allowing the adjustment of helmet fits with the turn of a dial. And this year in August, the helmet company upped the game with the launch of its Conform Fit Technology.
"The two piece shell forms to the riders' head, providing up to 6 centimeters of adjustment for a truly custom fit and the lowest profile that we've ever created," said Giro senior director of R&D Rob Wesson in a statement.
What that means for riders? Even those with the smallest heads get the tightest custom fit.
— Lynn Lieu
Smith Pointe helmet ($160)
I’ll admit it: For the first nearly 20 years of my snowboarding life, I never wore a helmet. Back in the day, while the benefits of head protection were obvious, the construction was still a little wonky for me; heavy and huge, helmets made me feel like a cross between a bug and an astronaut. Or maybe a bobble-head doll. Plus: nerdyyy.
About three seasons ago, though, I came in extra hot at the bottom of a run, caught an edge in some spring slush and rang my bell so hard I seriously worried I had a mild concussion. (I did not, thankfully, though the ego was plenty battered.) Once I calmed down and called it a day, I immediately went on a hunt for a lid.
While the one I wound up with was as light as my mountain bike helmet, and had a great top-of-helmet dial system for tightening and loosening the fit and made me feel way better about bombing a hill, it didn’t quite mesh with my goggles, and trying to have a conversation even on the chair was almost impossible; the ear flaps just weren’t perforated enough to hear.
This year, it was time for an upgrade to the Smith Pointe helmet. It’s light as a feather, integrates with my Giro Field goggles seamlessly and is constructed with a Bombshell PLUS shell plus a Multi-Impact EPP liner — the MIPS technology that helps to reduce rotational forces when you smack your dome at an angle.
Plus, Smith offers a three-year Crash Replacement Program: If you have a nasty slam and need to trash your helmet (which you should even if you can’t see visible damage), you can contact the company and they’ll send you a new one. While this shouldn’t be taken as encouragement to ride recklessly just because you’re wearing head protection, it speaks to Smith’s commitment to keeping riders safe, which, personally, really resonates.
— Kim Stravers
Anon Endure ($179)
If you, like me, don’t enjoy looking like a cartoon caricature on the mountain, but also aren’t fond of traumatic brain injuries, the Anon Endure ($179) helmet might be the right choice for you.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, up until last year’s ski season I, like an idiot, had never worn a helmet. It wasn’t until the Ski Tracks app told me I was hitting 60+ mph on a run last season that I finally relented to my father’s pleas and got a bucket to protect my melon.
And although I was jazzed to no longer have to worry about losing an edge and turning my brain into banana pudding, there was just one problem: I have a huge head. As in, you could land a 747 on my forehead. While I like to joke that all that room in my cranium leaves extra space for intelligence (spoiler alert: it doesn’t), it left me looking like Marvin the Martian in most any helmet I tried on.
I had essentially accepted my fate as an alpine bobblehead until coming across the Anon Endure helmet.
With its minimalist design, the Endure keeps you looking good (regardless of your hat size) while providing the protection you need.
Its Flex-Shell construction gives the helmet some bend, allowing it to last longer and dissipate more impact across the body of the helmet, while still remaining minimal in profile. And the inclusion of G-Form’s Rapid Protection Technology allows the padding to remain soft, while still providing the support you need for the most intense falls.
— Robert Pursell
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