The Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets in Canada
Helmets are an important piece of equipment for skiing or snowboarding. After all, it’s the thing that protects your brain if you happen to take a hard fall. With advancements in technology, helmets can come in many designs with various features. If you’re looking to replace your helmet, or if you’re looking to buy your first helmet, knowing where to begin and what to look for can be confusing. To help you, we’ve created this buying guide that lists the best ski and snowboard helmets in Canada.
Our Top Picks
What to look for in a ski/snowboard helmet
The first thing you should look for in ski/snowboard helmet is if it has one of the following labels: CEN 1077, ASTM F-2040, or Snell RS-98. These are international safety standards established for snow sport helmets. The Canadian Ski Council (CSC) and several Canadian Ski Area Associations recommend all snow sports helmets sold or rented in Canada meet one of those three international safety standards.
Now let’s briefly look at the two basic categories for ski/snowboard helmets:
- In-mold helmets: have a thin, hard plastic outer shell that is molded with the liner in a single process. This design makes in-mold helmets light and sleek.
- Injection-mold helmets: these are heavier and bulkier. This is due to the liner being molded to a separate shell, which is then combined with an exterior shell. Because of this design, injection-mold helmets offer better protection; they are more durable.
Fit: It’s important to find a helmet that properly fits your head. Otherwise, you’ll be uncomfortable the entire time you’re on the slopes. There are some basic things to look for when trying on helmets. The front part of the helmet should be two fingers width above your eyebrows. The front of the helmet should not sit too low, otherwise it will reduce your field of vision. It should also not sit too high on your forehead, because then it won’t protect you well.
Here is a size chart for ski/snowboard helmets:
|Helmet Size||Head Size (Cm)||Head Size (In)|
|Extra Small||48.5-52||19̎-20. 5̎|
MIPS: This stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. MIPS® is a thin plastic liner inside the helmet that lets it slide naturally during a rotational impact. This means your head isn’t jarred, the liner absorbs and distributes much of the force upon impact. Because of its added safety, we recommend every skier or snowboarder purchase a MIPS® helmet, especially if you go on triple black diamond runs often. MIPS helmets may cost a little extra, but for their added protection it’s well worth the money.
Helmet Profile: This has to do with the shape of the helmet. You’ll find helmets that are big, bulky, and heavy. Then there are helmets that are lightweight and have a low profile. In the end, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Do you prefer sleek and lightweight or big and heavy?
Audio: Some helmets have built-in speakers located in the ear pads. This enables you to listen to music as you ski or snowboard. Helmets with audio either have cable or Bluetooth connection. We’ll discuss helmets and audio later in this buying guide.
Goggle Compatibility: Goggles protect your eyes from sunlight reflecting off the snow. Practically every helmet is goggle compatible, but brands differ in the way they attach goggles (they’ll use different mechanisms). Do your research and see which mechanisms you prefer. Some helmet models even include anti-fog technology. This is an added perk.
Best Overall Ski and Snowboard Helmet
The Smith Quantum helmet offers ample protection for skiers and snowboarders. The helmet uses Koroyd® material, which absorbs more energy in a crash than the traditional foam construction found in other helmets. The Smith Quantum also has MIPS® for increased protection in the event of a crash. Besides the protection it provides, the Smith Quantum also offers plenty of comfort. Users can adjust the helmet’s fit with the BOA® 36 Fit System. All you have to do is turn a dial. To combat odors, the helmet has an antimicrobial inner lining. And if you get to warm on the hill, the Smith Quantum has a 22-vent design called AirEvac™. This design integrates with Smith goggles to prevent fog build up. Lastly the helmet has removable ear pads “for form fitting comfort”.
The Smith Quantum helmet was a hit with customers. The comfort level was something many people highlighted. One person said “The Smith Quantum was very comfortable and fit me well”. The helmet’s ventilation system was also a hit with people. Many customers also liked the helmet’s safety features, the Koroyd® and MIPS® material in particular. Some people noted this helmet’s high price, but they acknowledged that you get your money’s worth with this helmet. One downside noted was that this helmet was heavier than other options. Some people were willing to trade the heavier weight for the added protection. However, the weight was a deal breaker for others.
- Has lots of protection features.
- Inner lining absorbs sweat and fights odors.
- The helmet is heavy.
Best Budget Ski and Snowboard Helmet
Odoland Ski Helmet
The Odoland ski helmet has tons of value for its price. To start off, the helmet comes with a pair of goggles. In terms of protection, the helmet is shock proof and penetration resistant from tree branches. For comfort, the helmet has detachable lining, removable earmuffs, and a soft chin band. All of these things are also intended to keep you warm. And just like the other helmets on this guide, the Odoland Ski Helmet has an adjustable fit band and air vents that keep your head cool and reduce goggle fogging.
Customers were wowed by this helmet’s low price. One person said that they couldn’t “believe how comfortable and stylish” the helmet is. Another person said that the adjustable fit system let them wear an extra layer underneath the helmet during cold days. However, some people said that the goggles still fogged up. And despite the claims of it being made of premium material, several people felt that the Odoland Ski Helmet had a cheap quality to it (the material was not the best). Plenty of criticism was directed towards the goggles, such as they didn’t fit right or broke easily. In comparison, they were not as popular as the helmet. But despite these complaints, most people still believed that the Odoland Ski Helmet had plenty of value.
- Lots of value for the price.
- Stylish design.
- Helmet ventilation is poor.
- Made from cheaper material.
Best ski and Snowboard helmet for Large Heads
Giro Nine Snow Helmet
For those with large heads, look no further than the Giro Nine. This helmet is designed for large head sizes; the XL size is listed for heads measuring 62.5-65cm. The Giro Nine is also a light helmet with a streamlined design and low profile. In addition, the helmet has an in-mold construction that fuses a polycarbonate outer shell with an impact absorbing foam liner. This fusion creates better ventilation. The ventilation design, called StackVent™, also prevents goggles from fogging up.
Several customers reported that this helmet fit them comfortably. Many said that they had difficulty finding a helmet that fit their head size, and the Giro Nine was the only option that fit them perfectly. One person said that the helmet felt light and they hardly noticed they were wearing it. Another person summed up the feelings of many people regarding the helmet: “Comfortable, warm, and stylish”.
One complaint we found centered on the goggle retention system. Some customers wished the retention locked to prevent the goggle straps from sliding off. However, this complaint was minor and not a deal breaker.
- Good for people with large heads.
- Comfortable fit.
- Goggle retention system does not lock.
Best Ski and Snowboard helmet with Speakers
Obex Spin Communication
Many people like to listen to music as they ski or snowboard. To do this, some people wear earbuds underneath their helmets; wireless earbuds are a popular choice. Some helmet manufacturers make models that come with pre-installed speaker systems. The POC Obex Spin is one of the best helmets that comes with speakers. The helmet is compatible with the Obex Communication Headset. This headset connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Not only can you listen to music, you can use the headset’s built in mic to make phone calls.
Outside of the headset, the POC Obex Spin comes with features common to other ski and snowboard helmets. The helmet has SPIN (Shearing Par INside) pad technology. This is similar to MIPS® in that it reduces rotational forces upon impact. The helmet’s design is a lightweight in-mold construction with EPS liner, a PC shell, and an ABS Top Shell. All of these provide added protection in the event of a crash. The helmet’s ventilation system allows you to open or close the vents based on your comfort and the weather conditions. The integrated vents at the front of the helmet prevent goggles from fogging up.
Customers said that the headset sounded great. However, several people said they lost connection with the speakers on more than one occasion. There were other issues with the headset. One common issue was that the control buttons were too small. Many people had difficulty pressing the buttons when wearing gloves and wished that the buttons could have been bigger.
Despite the headset’s technical issues, the POC Obex Spin is still an acceptable option for a helmet that comes with audio. Yes, there will be some annoying issues to deal with. Bust most helmets that come with built-in speakers have technical issues of their own. And in reality, there is no perfect option when it comes to listening to music while skiing or snowboarding. Each method has its own pros and cons.
- Good sound quality.
- Bluetooth connection can be unstable.
Best Ski and Snowboard Helmet for Kids
Smith Zoom Jr.
The Smith Zoom Jr. is the child’s version of the adult model. The helmet combines the lightweight design with a soft fleece liner. This results in a comfy, warm, and easy-to-wear helmet. The helmet comes with an adjustable fit dial and the same airflow system as Smith adult helmets. The main selling point for the Smith Zoom Jr. is its protection. The in-mold construction fuses the outer shell with EPS foam for a one-piece design. This makes the helmet durable against hard impacts.
The Smith Zoom Jr. was popular with parents. One customer said that the helmet fit their young son perfectly; the helmet looked good and had lots of value. Another customer said the liner kept their son’s head warm in the frigid cold. Other people said the dial made it easy to tighten or loosen the helmet. Overall, the Smith Zoom Jr. does its job well: it protects your child’s head while remaining comfortable. It’s the reason why so many customers recommended this helmet to other parents.
- Plenty of safety features.
Best Full-Face Ski and Snowboard Helmet
Giro Disciple S
Full face helmets provide coverage for your entire head: front, back, and sides. These helmets are generally worn by people into extreme skiing or snowboarding. They are heavier than other helmet types and can be cumbersome. Because they cover the entire head, full face helmets restrict your field of vision and can make it hard for others to hear you. Despite these drawbacks, full face helmets offer the most protection for your head.
The Giro Disciple was created for conditions that require extra protection. The helmet has MIPS® as well as a tough, feather weight outer shell. The Giro Disciple stands out from similar models because it is a full-face helmet that remains light. Other features this helmet offers include:
- Compatible with Giro Audio Systems.
- POV camera mount.
- Removable vinyl nitrate lined chin bar.
When it came to safety, customers lauded the Giro Disciple for its protection. One person said that the helmet prevented serious head trauma after they experienced a hard fall. Others liked the removable liner; it made it easy to clean. Several customers noted that the MIPS® technology caused the helmet to squeak when moved. People also felt the helmet tended to get too warm after wearing it for a long time. Still, the Giro Disciple is a great option for people into extreme snowboarding or skiing.
- Provides all around head protection
- Helmet can get warm after prolonged use.
For this buying guide, we spent 10 hours researching various ski/snowboard helmets. We went through various snow sports websites to find our helmet picks. Only products rated four or more stars were considered by our team. We consulted other websites when we needed further information on a certain topic. We also read countless customer reviews to get a better sense of what people thought of our helmet picks. The reviews also helped us understand what people look for in a good ski or snowboard helmet.
Frequent Ski and Snowboard Helmet Questions
Do I need a helmet?
Technically, you don’t need a helmet to ski or snowboard. There are no laws in Canada mandating you wear one on the hill. However, we highly recommend you wear a helmet when you hit the slopes. In the event of a hard crash, the helmet is the only thing protecting your head. Without it, you could get a severe concussion and other brain injuries. You could even die. Still, it is up to the individual to make the final choice. The Canadian Ski Council states that helmet usage should be a matter of personal choice. The organization believes that people “are capable of making responsible choices with respect to their safety on the ski slopes”.
What’s the average ski/snowboard helmet price?
Through our research, we found the average ski helmet price to be between $120-$500. Budget friendly options average between $40-$100.
Where do you buy ski/snowboard helmets in Canada?
There are plenty of places to buy ski/snowboard helmets in Canada. Stores like Sportchek and Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) are located nationwide and they sell ski and snowboard helmets. These stores also offer online shopping. There are also local ski/snowboard shops in each province. Some of these stores also offer online shopping. And finally, Amazon also sells ski and snowboard helmets.
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