Helmets 2003


Cool as the Other Side of the Pillow

The air conditioning system of the Briko Forerunner Special ($159) is, well, quite special. Controlled by an adjustable vent, three air channels cool the interior of the helmet while driving heat out. Side air channels cool either side of the head and allow for better hearing. An anti-microbial liner wicks away any moisture, which is then evaporated by the aerator system.


For the Harley Crowd
A leather helmet? No, this is not a museum piece-not yet anyway. The Ovo Bomber ($120) blends durable black leather with stamped aluminum-a combination that looks simultaneously futuristic and retro. A soft, breathable and washable liner and a two-year replacement guarantee show it offers substance to match its considerable flash. ovousa.com

Protect Your Pie Hole
Salomon's skiercross - inspired Crossmax ($329) offers great protection for your noggin, but its built-in chin guard will also keep your pearly whites out of harm's way. It's on the heavy side, but still ideal for racers or hardcore skiers seeking maximum protection. Autofit Coolmax foam helps keep this sizable lid from getting hot and stinky. Hearing is somewhat impaired, but up to industry standards. Sure it's pricey, but so is dental work. salomonsports.com

No Complaints Here
Boeri created the Axis Performance ($140) especially for those who have complained of helmets being too hot or too heavy. This minimalist helmet is lightweight and features an Outlast temperature-regulating liner. A passive airflow venting system helps push heat off your dome as you zip down the hill. boeriusa.com

Value-Added, Value-Priced
Hunting for bargains when safety is a factor isn't always wise. But the Acerbis Razor Grinta ($99) is an inexpensively priced helmet offering loads of value, protection and performance. Vents are minimal, but it has a reliable polypropylene shell with simple but effective goggle-retention clips on both sides. Most important, it doesn't skimp on safety. acerbisusa.com

Light and Luscious
K2's top-of-the-line Ultramatic ($129) offers superior breathability (thanks to an adjustable 12-vent circulation system) and is by far the lightest model we reviewed (11.9 ounces). It looks and feels like a bike helmet but is designed for high-energy skiers who tend to work up a sweat. Removable earflaps and an adjustable strap system add to the comfort level. k2skis.com


Smith Variant

A New Generation of Helmet

Smith's Variant uses hybrid construction to blend aesthetics and protection