Getting the right fit

When it's time to shop for your protective lid, heed this advice from reviewers. This checklist will help ensure that your helmet fits well and is nuisance-free on the slopes.

  • Measure your head. Wrap a flexible measuring tape around the crown of your head, just above your eyebrows, keeping the tape measure as level as possible. Most helmets are sized in centimeters. If you can't take the measurement in centimeters, measure in inches and then multiply by 2.54 to convert to centimeters.
  • Wear your beanie (or any other headgear you intend to use) when you try on the helmet. If you have long hair, wear it the way you intend to while skiing or snowboarding -- in most cases, helmets don't leave room for a ponytail. A "beanie-compatible" helmet usually has a removable liner that allows you to fine-tune insulation and make room for a beanie.
  • Bring your goggles with you when you try on the helmet. The top of the goggles and the bottom of the helmet should come together snugly, but the helmet shouldn't impede your vision or push the goggles down.
  • Test the ski helmet's fit by sliding it back and forth on your head with the chinstrap fastened. The helmet is too loose if your eyebrows don't move back and forth with the helmet, and if it moves freely on your head when you either shake your head from side to side or have somebody put one hand on the helmet and twist it from side to side.
  • Double-check the fit by fastening the chinstrap and looking in the mirror to make sure the front of the helmet covers your forehead. Shift the helmet around on your head to check for any pinch or rub points, and make sure the lining fits snugly against your head.
  • Bring your MP3 player if you're purchasing a ski helmet with a sound system. Check the sound quality before you buy, or as soon as you get the helmet if you purchase online.
  • Invest in a reasonably light, comfortable helmet that you'll actually wear. A super-inexpensive bargain ski helmet won't do you any good if it's so uncomfortable that you leave it at home, and even the fanciest, most expensive snowboarding helmet won't keep you safe if it's so heavy that you end up taking it off.
  • Replace your old helmet after a serious crash, or if it shows any visible cracking or damage to the outer shell or foam liner, but don't throw the old one out. Many helmet manufacturers give a discount or credit toward purchasing a new helmet if you return the damaged model.

Ski Helmets Runners Up:

Smith Variant Brim *Est. $160

4 picks including: Amazon.com, YouTube.com…

Smith Vantage *Est. $180

4 picks including: Backpacker.com, Outside Magazine…

Giro G10 *Est. $130

3 picks including: Backcountry.com, REI.com…

Red Hi-Fi *Est. $100

3 picks including: Backcountry.com, Women's Adventure magazine…

Pro-Tec B2 Snow *Est. $75

2 picks including: Outside Magazine, YouTube.com…

K2 Rival *Est. $100

2 picks including: Outside Magazine, Powder Magazine…

Lucky Bums Winter Sports Youth Helmet *Est. $50

1 pick including: SkiMag.com, LuckyBums.com…

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Smith Optics Variant Brim Snow Helmets
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $160.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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Smith Optics Unisex Adult Vantage Snow Sports Helmet
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $180.00   
Average Customer Review:  

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