Reference the entire comparison review here:
The winners are:
Editors's Choice: Smith Vantage
The Smith Vantage earned OutdoorGearLab's highest honor award for its impeccable features, light weight, and its versatile, comfortable fit. It uses a Boa system to achieve proper tension and fit, has vents that open and close, and it has removable ear pieces for temperature regulation when it gets warm and sunny. Test editor Jediah Porter writes that the svelte visored style of the Vantage is appealing to skiers and snowboarders across a wide range of age and ability. This helmet is one of the most expensive models tested, but Porter and his team think the pricetag is worth it for the streamlined performance.
Best Buy Award: Bern Baker HardHat
The Bern Baker HardHat won the Best Buy award since it is inexpensive, plays to a youthful skater-inspired style, and is very warm. It is the heaviest of the test group, which may be undesirable to some, and Porter notes that the helmet does not have any official safety certifications while all the other tested helmets do. Regardless, during the performance evaluation this helmet was found to be an all-around excellent design and presented a good value for a buyer.
Top Pick Award for Backcountry Use: Giro Montane
This ultra lightweight model earned an award for the specialized application of carrying into the backcountry on tours. Porter states that it weighs one-quarter of the average helmet in his review, so the lightness of this foam model stands out. Skiers heading into the backcountry typically aim to carry as little weight as possible, so owning a lightweight helmet means that they are more likely to bring a helmet into the backcountry with them. Additionally, the Giro Montane includes a feature called the Trip Clip which makes attaching the helmet to a backpack during a skin much easier. This was not found to be the most stylish of the tested helmets, but for this particular use it was found to be the best.
The overall review explains the plusses and minuses of each of the tested models and is accompanied by a buying advice article that lists the important factors to consider when purchasing a snowsports helmet. One of the primary decisions that needs to be made is if the customer even wants to wear a helmet on the slopes. This topic is under fiery public debate, but the review author feels that helmets do add at least some degree of safety, and at the very least are statistically becoming increasingly popular to wear while skiing lift-accessed terrain.
In the buying advice article, lead test editor Jediah Porter notes that different brands tend to fit different shaped heads better. Porter states that most heads fall somewhere on the spectrum between a round oval and a long oval shape, and if an ill-fitting helmet is chosen, it results in discomfort for the wearer. Through his testing experience, Porter found that Giro helmets are best suited to long-oval heads and Smith helmets are most comfortable on heads that are round-oval.
OutdoorGearLab, LLC, based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, creates the world’s best outdoor gear reviews through detailed comparison reviews. The website, www.outdoorgearlab.com, is a free resource for outdoors enthusiasts who participate in activities such as skiing, snowboarding, running, climbing, biking, hiking, backpacking, and camping. The review editors perform thorough head-to-head tests of popular outdoor gear and apparel in different categories, then publish the results in comprehensive reviews illustrated with photos. Each model is scored across a range of weighted metrics relevant to that product's category, then competing products are ranked, and awards are given to top performing, highest scoring designs.