Let’s assume that we’re all up to speed on the never-ending ‘to-don-or-not-to-don’ helmet debate, and get right to talking about the lids themselves.
As their popularity has grown, so too has the variety of models on the market, and one thing that varies from model to model is the construction. Some work like a bike helmet, by which we mean they’ll save your life on that massive slam but will then need to be replaced. Others are designed for lower impacts, but can handle more of them.
Some brands have licensed the Multi-angle Impact Protection System (MIPS), which is especially effective in sports like snowboarding where the next slam could come from anywhere. Whatever you go for, make sure it’s the right choice for your specific needs - and for more advice, check out our guide to choosing your snowboard helmet.
As far as keeping it secure, everything from simple plastic clips to magnets has been applied, and many models also integrate with your phone. Here’s a closer look at some of this year’s best offerings:
Scroll through the list to your heart’s content, or skip to your favourite brand using the links below.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi
Anon Endure Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
The Anon Endure helmet contains some of the very latest in tech if you’re after a lid that’ll take multiple hits and still do its part to keep your head whole.
- PRICE: £120
One of the first things you’ll notice with this is that the outer shell is pretty flexible. Fear not, however; it’s backed up by new G-Form padding, which feels soft but stiffens on impact. This is then layered up with stiffer HDPE foam to keep you protected.
We’re fans of the super clean black colourway here, and the fact that the ear-pads pop out with ease. Equally impressive are the Fidlock magnetic fastenings on the chinstrap. Place the two ends close near to each other and they’re drawn together, locking in place automatically. They then slide apart easily with the push of a thumb – simple technology, done well.
Anon Keira Women's Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
The Anon Keira helmet lands near the top of their ladies’ line and comes complete with a Boa adjustable system so you can fine tune it to fit you just right.
- PRICE: £120
A bit of simple design means that even though the Boa appears to be built in to the ear pads, you can easily remove the padding and still keep the size-adjusting system in place. Cleverly the same ear pads can also house Skullcandy audio systems too.
The Keira features the same Fidlock magnetic chinstrap as the Endure, and the black colourway we saw comes in a glossy finish, with a removable fleece liner. It’s really very lightweight, although the In-Molded construction isn’t made to take as many impacts as the Endura-Shell options in Anon’s line.
Anon Striker Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
Anon’s Striker helmet keeps it simple, while offering pretty much all you could need from a lid.
- PRICE: £65
Designed to keep you protected season after season, it has an Endura-Shell ABS construction that will certainly take a knock or two, and gives a feeling of solid protection around the whole head.
Removable ear pads take a little bit of force to pull and push into place, but lock in firmly and provide an effective seal against wind. They also provide housing for Skullcandy’s helmet audio systems (sold separately) and have a simple Velcro fastened channel to house wires, so you can keep them neatly tucked away instead of getting all tangled up.
Shown here in the Guerrilla Black colourway, the outer shell features top vents which draw air through the helmet to keep you cool, and a removable goggle clip at the back to complete another clean design.
Bern Watts Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
Bern’s Watts helmet is now a long standing favourite. Available in tonnes of variations depending on your needs, its characteristic peaked design will be familiar to many - from the snowdome to the mountain to the streets, you'll see them everywhere.
- PRICE: £90
Part of this is due to the fact that there are so many different versions of the Watts lid going. The snow range last season included six, with Hard Hat, EPS and Carbon shells to choose from, as well as options for different audio systems.
Bern’s 'Sink Fit' provides a helmet that’ll surround your head nicely, and an adjustable crank on the back helps you customise things once you’ve selected the right basic size. The liner system is interchangeable too, so if you’re looking for a lid to use from January deep days to slushy park laps, simply get your hands on a summer liner and you’ll be ready to go.
Giro Ledge MIPS Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
MIPS (multi-direction impact protection system) helmets are pushing new technology to limit the after-effects of angled crashes on the brain – and Giro is just one of the companies that is starting to incorporate it into their helmet line.
- PRICE: £75
The Giro Ledge this year comes with a MIPS layer between the lining and foam padding to help minimise the effect of rotational forces, and with or without ear pads, it certainly feels like one of the most head-hugging fits we’ve tried.
A small (removable and adjustable) elastic strap at the base of the skull is key to this, as well as a fairly deep sink-fit over the brow – you definitely won’t be worried about gaper gaps if you get one that fits well. We tried this on with Giro’s Contact goggles, and we can see why they pitch their goggles and helmets as a pair; they were about as seamless as it gets.
The Ledge is low profile with plenty of ventilation, and comes in a range of clean classic colours.
K2 Stash Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
Coming in with a clean shell and neutral colours, the K2 Stash helmet is a worthy investment. It’s bicycle and snowboard certified, so you won’t find yourself brushing off the cobwebs when autumn comes around, as chances are it’ll never go into summer storage in the first place.
- PRICE: £100
Feature-wise it’s built on an Injection Molded shell with vents above the eyebrow and up top to keep air circulating, and a 360 dialled fit system that hugs your head in all the right places, regardless of the shape of your noggin.
Bonus bits include a removable liner, magnetic goggle clip that snaps shut with ease, and audio compatible low-profile earpads that you can clip out when you don’t need extra warmth.
Lazer Dissent MIPS Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
The Lazer Dissent MIPS is an extremely versatile peaked lid that’s got plenty of features.
- PRICE: £140
As the name suggests, it’s another lid that utilises the Multi-direction Impact Protection System to limit the effects of all knocks and crashes, and in the Dissent this is combined with a lightweight injection-moulded shell.
Thanks to Lazer’s Rollsys system, you can also custom fit the helmet to your head while you’re wearing it; and there’s even an external sliding switch that allows you to open and close the top vents.
The ear pads easily clip out and have space for an audio system as well as clips to keep your wires in order. Then the peak itself is removable with an Allen key if you want to remove that too. Finally, a large pull-tab on the back proves handy for clipping goggles in and out when you’re wearing gloves.
Quiksilver Skylab 2.0 Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
Scoring high on the comfort scale, the faux-fur-lined Quiksilver Skylab 2.0 is the reincarnation of a favourite from years gone by.
- PRICE: £80
Originally designed with the aid of Travis Rice, it’s got a lightweight in-mould construction with EPS shock absorber foam throughout, and an extra EVA piece behind the visor that helps with airflow. To strike the right breathability balance, there are subtle vents in the front and top as well as mesh points in the liner, which can also be removed altogether.
The click-wheel adjustment system in the back helps you dial in your fit, and the removable earpads can house an audio system if that’s your thing.
As an added bonus, Quik have also employed Fidlock’s magnetic auto-fastening buckle on the Sherpa chin pad, which makes single handed fastening (and unfastening) as easy as possible.
Roxy Avery Women's Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
Roxy’s Avery is a stripped back fixed-fit ladies’ helmet, so you’re going to want to make sure that the size is perfect for you before you go ahead and buy. It closely resembles the Quiksilver Skylab 2.0 in silhouette, and offers the same in-mould protection, minus the EVA visor piece.
- PRICE: £60
What this means, however, is that it is exceptionally light without sacrificing comfort. The faux-fur/mesh on the earpads and lining will hug your head on colder days, and can be removed if it all gets too toasty.
This year the Avery is just one of the Roxy items sporting the zig-zag grey and orange colourway, so if you want to match up your gear it’s all there for the taking.
Shred Slam Cap Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
The Shred Slam Cap may appear simple from the outside, but rest assured that there’s plenty of tech going on under the hood. They’ve combined in-mould design with their NOSHOCK honeycomb structure and EPS foam to give it additional strength, and to spread the effects of an impact around the shell.
- PRICE: £140
The lid comes with two antibacterial, odour-reducing liners, so you can choose between skeleton padding or a full skull cap, and there’s even two stick-on comfort pads if you feel you need them.
The adjustable, removable click-wheel headband doubles as an attachment point for the ear pad system, which is audio system compatible; and extras like a small external switch to open and close vents prove handy – even if they are a little bit stiff to adjust on the move.
As Shred split their sizing for this two ways (between XS-M and M-XL), a little bit of extra caution with sizes is advised for those that sit in the middle ground. Our tester technically came in at the top of the XS-M scale, and found that it fit well but only once the fitting system arms had been snapped into the right position.
Smith Vantage Snowboard Helmet 2015-2016
The Vantage sits at the top of the brand’s considerable helmet range, packed with tech to give you a safe and comfortable ride whatever the conditions.
- PRICE: £170
Its Hybrid SL construction features stronger honeycombed Aerocore material on top which has allowed Smith to lower the profile without reducing safety, and on top you’ll find two switches that’ll allow you top open and close different zones on the 21 vents.
If you’re following the progress of MIPS in enhancing safety against rotational impacts, you’ll be pleased to hear that certain colour ways of the Vantage are available with that technology too; and a 360 degree adjustable Boa will ensure the best fit to limit the repercussions of impact too.
Final additions like antibacterial nanosilver lining, a removable goggle lock, and snap-on, audio compatible ear-pads round off the complete package that you’d expect from a lid at this price point.