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Best For: Fashion-Conscious Skiers The boys at Pret created a lid that has the features I want—adjustable venting, a comfy liner, a mini visor lid—without giving me the dreaded bobblehead look, thanks to a low-profile, ovular shape. I’ve worn it with performance (streamlined) Zeal goggles (pictured, along with a manly ice beard) and freestyle (oversized) K2 goggles and each fit seamlessly with the Cynic. It comes in three sizes that feel true to size, each with a rotary dial adjustment. In summary: Get the features you want and still look socially acceptable. $100; 14 oz.; prethelmets.com
Best For: Big Heads I haven’t done extensive research on the matter, but I’d be willing to bet one après beer that the guys at Bern are the only ones making XXXLs. Since I have a pretty big head (I wear a 7 ⅝ baseball cap), I, naturally, tested the largest option and was impressed to find out it was even a bit big. The extra room allowed me to wear a hood or beanie underneath, which I’ve never really been able to do comfortably. The built-in visor is the longest in the test—ideal for both hiding gaper gaps and blocking precip and sunshine. The top vents aren’t adjustable, but there’s a rotary dial adjustment in the liner. $100; 1 lb. 1 oz.; bernunlimited.com
Best For: Mountaineers Certified for both mountaineering and alpine skiing, this is the first helmet to effectively cross over from skiing to alpine pursuits. It looks a little different than your standard brain bucket, but that’s a small price to pay for goggle clips, a headlamp clip, and the most venting I’ve ever seen in a helmet—making it the clear choice for touring. The removable liner is super-cushy, but I liked wearing it over a beanie instead. Fit is dial-adjustable, too. $100; 15.2 oz.; mammut.ch
Interested in more than just helmets? Visit backpacker.com/backcountryskiing to get trips, skills, and, yes, more gear picks.