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Smith Vantage Helmet

Safe? Yup. Lightweight? Yup. Warm? Yup. The Smith Vantage Women’s Mips helmet checks plenty of boxes. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia


The Inertia

Back in the day, helmets weren’t the most popular choice out on the slopes – thinking about the things we used to do without one makes me shiver. With time, though, we learn from our mistakes, and now the opposite holds true. In the constant evolution of brain-saving technology, helmets are improving in leaps and bounds, becoming more comfortable, streamlined, lightweight, and chic.

These days, there’s no excuse to go skiing or snowboarding without a helmet – cool kids included. But with so many great ski and snowboard helmets on the market, where do you begin? Well, for the best in the industry you can head over to our Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets article, but if even that is too many options for you, it’s fairly easy to end the search right here as I found the Smith Vantage Women’s Mips to be the ideal blend of comfort, features, and protection. 

First Impressions of the Smith Vantage

Pros Cons
Loaded with features: MIPS, Zonal Koroyd, BOA 360 fit The air vents can slide open when pulling your hood up
Lightweight but with a bombproof feel Sizing can be tricky if you don’t know your exact head measurements
Incredibly comfortable, feels more like a hat than a helmet Pricey

As I opened the box, the first thing I noticed on the helmet was the interior padding that looked like a cross-section of a bundle of plastic straws – more on that later. As I pulled the helmet out, the weight (or lack thereof) was palpable. The Vantage felt snug and cozy once I put it on. After a few rides with it on in varied conditions, it exceeded my expectations: warm, solid, and my goggles stayed dry in the wet Pacific climate – the Vantage is legit.

Notable Features

a static product shot of the smith vantage mips women's ski and snowboard helmet

Being one of the ultimate tried-and-true helmets on the market for protecting your head from injury year after year, the Smith Vantage ranks high for safety. And that’s evident from the features. 

Those attention-grabbing straws I mentioned aren’t for sipping juice – It’s Zonal Koroyd, which helps keep your brain intact. On impact, these straws crumple, absorbing and dispersing energy – keeping your helmet light on your head while heavy on safety. It’s not something you really want to test in the field, but thankfully there is a ton of research behind it, if you’d like to learn more.

As well as the Koroyd, Smith’s Vantage has another trick up its sleeve when it comes to protection. Ever scratch your head in the lift line wondering what that little yellow sticker on the back of everyone’s helmet is? Well, it signifies that the helmet labeled as such uses MIPS technology to protect your head. Like a snow globe, our brain gets jumbled on impact. You can be wearing the thickest helmet, but your head won’t necessarily be protected from the jostle of a good fall. MIPS helps to absorb some of that shake, by rotating the helmet with the exterior surface so that the inside of your head doesn’t feel like it’s shaken up in a snowstorm.

The dual-regulator climate control allows you to fine-tune the airflow depending on the conditions. These vents kept me warm in freezing temps and let in a nice breeze in balmy spring sunshine with the adjustable front and back air vents (21 to be precise) and removable ear flaps. 

The adjustable BOA 360 fit system ensures a snug fit custom-made for any shape of head. Just twist and click for the ideal fit. Finally, the helmet works seamlessly with helmet audio systems like the Aleck, if you wish to get your groove on while skiing or riding. 

Drawbacks

It’s no secret that buying a critical piece of safety gear that needs a good fit to function – such as a helmet – can be tricky online. But it can be done. I highly recommend getting the fit right when you’re ready to add this invaluable piece of equipment to your kit – don’t guess your size, measure the circumference of your head with a tailor’s tape (rather than a string and measuring tape, like I did). According to the MIPS website, ‘A poor fit isn’t just uncomfortable; it can compromise safety.’ If you think that the convenience of buying online outweighs the pros of buying from a shop, just be sure to get the sizing right. If you’re not sure, check the return policy before you buy. 

a snowboarder riding down a snowy slope while testing out the smith vantage mips helmet

Testing out the Smith Vantage in stellar backcountry conditions. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

The Tester

I have been snowboarding for nearly 20 years. Most recently I lived in Whistler where I was able to live the dream – powdery pillows for breakfast became a common ritual. Now, as a new mama, I’ve dialed back the risk but still try to have fun as much as possible – going on adventures in the mountains with our new family is a common occurrence. But more than being a snowboarder, I understand the importance of a safe head. A passion of mine is helping others recover from head trauma. I’m a certified teacher of LoveYourBrain yoga, a program designed by snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his foundation to help others recover from traumatic brain injuries. So I take these things very seriously, as we all should.

Final Thoughts

The peace of mind you’ll get when investing in the Smith Vantage Mips is worth the price tag. If there’s any piece of equipment to keep fresh as technology advances, it’s your helmet. Concussions run rampant on the slopes, so we should all do what we can to mitigate those risks. And when it comes to brain protection, The Smith Vantage Helmet packs a punch, while maintaining style and comfort. I couldn’t recommend this helmet more. 

Check Price on Smith

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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