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Multisport Skills

The 3 Best Ski Helmets For $100

The best skiing helmets are equal parts warm, breathable, and streamlined—but you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get one. Our backcountry skiing expert rounded up the best brain buckets for an easy $100. Money in the bank!

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Pret Cynic

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

Bern Watts

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

Mammut Alpine Rider

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.