If you want style points, The Rage is for you. Its sleek design will turn fellow skiers’ heads. while its lightweight, well-ventilated shell will keep your own head happy. This season, Boeri has improved the liner, which is made of temperature-regulating Outlast and has a removable neck and ear piece. The Rage’s price is toward the upper end of what you’ll pay for a freeride helmet, but what’s a few bucks for comfort’s sake?
Though it’s in Briko’s Freeride line, the Cross Over belies the company’s racing roots. The aerodynamic design screams “speed,” and the adjustable airflow system keeps you cool as you do your best Daron Rahlves impressions. The earflaps and liner aren’t removable, but they are made of a fabric designed to wick away moisture. For further comfort, the inner liner conforms to your head to eliminate pressure points.
With the Nine.9, Giro has worked out the kinks from last year’s nearly perfect Nine model. The earpieces now snap on and off, eliminating the not-so-reliable Velcro (just make sure they’re fully snapped to avoid accidental removals). The removable plugs for the 12 giant vents seal better than last year’s, and a new goggle loop adds style. The lightweight Nine.9 looks and feels more like a bike helmet than one made for the slopes, but an ASTM stamp of approval will assure you otherwise.
The lightweight Cut is Leedom’s most ventilated model, with airflow channels and seven adjustable vents that pull air through the helmet. Its goggle-retention system works seamlessly with Leedom-brand goggles, but not with brands that have a plastic clasp in the back. The Cut meets the ASTM safety standard and is engineered, like all Leedom helmets, to meet the Snell standard, the most stringent available.
Winter-sports giant Salomon is a newcomer to the helmet scene, but its rookie-season offerings are impressive. Take the Mavericks: Its pipe-inspired design ranks it high on the style scale, and its Autofit foam conforms to your head, doing away with pressure points. The Mavericks’ 10 vents are small, but they do let hot air escape-an especially helpful feature when someone cuts you off in the liftline.
If its protective foam does all its makers claim, the ASTM-approved W is revolutionary. Zorbium foam has been shown to work at a wider range of speeds and absorb twice the impact energy of the EPS and EPP foams used in most helmets. W’s 16 adjustable vents and a removable neck and ear liner let you adapt to weather’s whims. It’s one of the heavier helmets we tried, but W promises a lighter model later this season.