Head protection isn’t just a concern for snowboarders, and heavy influence from the likes of the cycling industry might be why the technology continues to come on leaps and bounds with every passing year.
This winter’s new releases are tricked out with space-age impact absorption and unparalleled ventilation, but most also have snowboard-specific features that really set them apart – one of them even has a removable chin strap that doubles as a board lock. It’s worth noting that most of them also look a darn site better than your average bike helmet.
"The snowboard-specific features that really set these apart – one even has a removable chin strap that doubles as a board lock"
With helmets, it definitely makes sense to try before you buy. For the easily confused, we’re not suggesting that you run headlong into a brick wall while wearing one – instead, get down to your local shred emporium and make sure that the fit matches your melon. Also check that it fits whatever goggles you have in mind, lest you fall prey to the dreaded ‘punter gap’.
Further research can be done at your local dryslope or dome. Lids remain compulsory at the vast majority of these, so freestyle sessions offer opportunities to meet many a helmet-user and check out what’s on their bonce.
At the very least, check out our advice on how to choose your snowboard helmet, then have a peek at our favourites for the coming winter.
Scroll down to view all snowboard helmets, or skip to a particular brand using the links below
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi - click any image to enlarge
Production: Tom Copsey / Andrew Duthie / Tobias Grünwald / Sam Oetiker / Sami Tuoriniemi
Anon Prime MIPS Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
With the help of inbuilt technology from ICEdot, The Anon Prime will actually send your exact location to your emergency contacts in the event of a major head impact, as well as giving crucial medical information to any first responders.
- PRICE: £165
Couple this with the Multidirectional Impact Protection System (aka MIPS) that protects your head from more than just direct impacts, and Anon’s newest helmet in the line really lives up to its name.
It’s got no less than 23 vents and a goggle-specific airflow channel, putting it well and truly in the high tech category of helmets. The Anon Prime is more than worthy of accompanying you on your next backcountry adventure.
It also comes with the rest of the features that are fairly common across the Anon range: Boa 360 fit, magnetic chin strap, removable expedition ear flaps and compatibility with helmet audio systems. Basically, the dogs baws.
Anon Rodan Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
Whether you rock it with its fleece-lined earpads or not, the Anon Rodan is as light as they come.
Simple, effective and stylish, it's a top choice for park rats the world over.
Giro Ledge MIPS Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
With multi-impact protection and a clean, simple shell, the Giro Ledge MIPS gives you the best tech wrapped up in a subtle design that's found favour with Gabe Ferguson among others.
Its skate-influenced look is available in multiple colourways, and you can upgrade to an audio-compatible system too.
K2 Diversion Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
One of the disadvantages of being a head-to-toe brand is that sometimes you can become more well known for some products than others. However, K2 helmets are banger, as this writer can personally attest to.
- PRICE: £110
The K2 Diversion is their techiest-looking option this year, complete with what they call ‘Dual Active Matrix Venting’. THis allows you to choose between two levels of venting depending on the outside temperature or what exactly you’re doing (riding/touring).
The liner is removable (and, mercifully, fully washable) and features their '360 K2Dialed' Fit System for on-the-go adjustments by way of a dial-controlled band that fits all the way round your temples to keep the lid firmly in position. And, of course, it comes with K2’s Baseline Audio System - removeable, remote-controlled headphones that slot seamlessly in the ear flaps.
Lazer Hoodie Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
On the face of it the Lazer Hoodie is fairly simple skate-style helmet, popular with park rats such as Rowan Coultas. The impact absorption system means that it will need replacing after one or two heavy knocks, but it’s super light and will fit comfortably and securely thanks to the Advanced Turnfit System that sits on the back of the skull and allows for infinite adjustment.
- PRICE: £80
It comes with an inbuilt audio system in the ear flaps, but unlike other brands that force you to buy specific earpieces, the Wired Audio system lets you slot in ‘normal sized’ buds that are amplified without being forced painfully into your ear canal.
Our favourite feature has the be the Cappucinnolock accessory - a combination lock that fits into your pocket and turns your helmet straps into a security system for leaving snowboards unattended whilst, for example, grabbing a coffee. Genius!
Oakley Mod5 Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
An unusual design is at work here: the outer shell comes in two parts, providing thicker walls only where you need it most to shave off a few precious grams. The Modular Brim System (MBS) also allows micro adjustment to accommodate “almost any goggle" and still utilise the Brim Ventilation to reduce fogging.
- PRICE: £160
The Oakley Mod5 also comes with a removable liner, either to keep fresh or replace with a beanie, and can be fitted as snug as you like with the Boa 270 Fit System. Getting it done up in the cold is as easy as you like courtesy of the magnetic Fidlock Buckle that snaps the straps together, even when you’re in heavy mitts.
It’s one of the techiest helmets on our list, both in terms of looks and function, and is probably more suited to the well-equipped mountain man than a dirty park rat. Either way, on top of all the bells and whistles it’s a high-performing lid that’s likely to serve you well.
The Oakley Guntower backpack will happily carry your snowboard thanks to the side-mounted vertical straps and the shoulder straps, waist- and chest belts are all fully adjustable and padded to achieve the perfect, comfortable fit.
Roxy Power Powder Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
This isn't just a fancy design; the Power Powder has everything you need for staying safe and comfortable all day.
It's easy to keep things fresh thanks to the quality venting and machine-washable lining, so there's no excuse not to go work up a sweat in this.
Smith Vantage MIPS Snowboard Helmet 2016-2017
Almost no-one puts as much thought into their products as Smith - their extremely loyal customers are testament to that - so it follows that their helmets would perform as well as their goggles. The Smith Vantage is top of their line when it comes to protection, fit and integration. It features their Aerocore tech to maximise venting whilst saving weight and maintaining strength, and over half the colourway options also come with MIPS technology.
- PRICE: £200
Fit comes in the form of a Boa 360 Fit System with the dial subtly placed at the top of the neck and some of the least obtrusive ear pads we’ve seen (removable, of course). Last but not least is the seamless integration that perfectly compliments their own goggle range, with AirEvac 2 ventilation that channels air from the lenses to the back of the head.
The ear pads are also set up to take Outdoor Tech helmet headphones to add a bit of luxury to what is one of the techiest lids we saw on test. It’s perfect for backcountry adventures – and thanks to that amazing venting, you’ll be just as comfortable on the way up as on the way down.