Safety first, but style always.


K2 Diversion 

Gear of the Year

The one thing that can’t be overemphasized when buying a helmet? Fit. A lid might be loaded with slick features and look cool as hell, but it can’t protect you if it’s sliding all over your head, and you’ll hate it if it’s tight as a vise. Also, make sure it plays nice with your goggles, unless you want to be plagued by gaper gap. For those reasons, we recommend you always try before you buy. And it helps to know where to start. We tested a dozen helmets this season, and the following seven stood out for their breathability, cus­tomizability, and style. At the very top of the pile sits the new Diversion. It’s a low-profile shape with a clever 360-degree fit system that ­allows for microadjustments even with mittens on. The gen­erous venting (23 channels!) let us rock the Diversion from opening day through spring-corn season. Plus, it mag­ically meshed with every pair of goggles we tested. In short: it’s a sleek workhorse that does everything well. 15.1 oz

Price $159

Buy Now


Scott Symbol 

Best For: Resort skiers who dabble in the backcountry. 

The Test: The only helmet you need. We loved ski-area features like the ample earflaps and headphone slots, which have an open membrane on the side to help you hear what’s going on around you (your buddies on the lift, other skiers above you, etc.). We killed the music as soon as we headed past the ropes, where we appreciated the lightweight build and 20 sizable vents. Like the Sweet Protection (opposite), it comes with a MIPS liner for an extra layer of armor during a fall. Testers’ only complaint: the fit dial was a bit small for gloved hands. 

The Verdict: The Goldilocks of helmets. Not too heavy, not too light, just right. 1.1 lbs 

Price $179

Buy Now



Salomon MTN Charge 

Best For: Those who earn their turns. 

The Test: At less than a pound, this helmet was created for the backcountry. Testers strapped it to their packs for skinning up, and some even kept it on during short bootpacks. Salomon cut a few corners to shed weight, ditching closures on the 12 vents and using a thin bungee as a goggle strap in back. The shell is filled with a foam that’s lighter than what’s in most lids. But it’s still certified to the same safety standards. All that adds up to a specialized animal that runs cold at the resort, without the comforts of a true cruiser. Note: a shallow-cut design had it sitting high on some testers’ heads. 

The Verdict: A lightweight lid with some decidedly uphill-friendly features. 15.5 oz

Price $180

Buy Now



Oakley Mod 5 

Best For: Weirdly shaped heads. 

The Test: The emphasis we put on fit? Well, this is the helmet you need if you have an oddly proportioned noggin. The lightweight, highly adjustable Boa system and large, removable earflaps let testers achieve snug comfort. “You can really ratchet it down without cutting off blood flow,” one noted. We also loved the swappable brim—choose large or small—which made the Mod 5 compatible with everything from ­giant goggles to small, svelte models. Our only issue was with the vents, which don’t close and tended to let in snow. But they did keep us happy come March. 

The Verdict: The most comfortable lid here. Best for those who run hot. 1.3 lbs 

Price $200 and up

Buy Now


Sweet Protection
(Sweet Protection)

Sweet Protection Rooster 

Best For: Ripping downhill. 

The Test: Imagine you’re shot out of a cannon with nothing but a tiny, much-too-firm mat to catch you. Better have the Rooster on your head. This handmade carbon lid (the heaviest one we tested) feels absolutely bomber, and it has more than ample coverage, extending almost to the neck in back. Plus, it’s got a MIPS liner, which is designed to reduce rotational forces on your brain in a crash. There’s no adjustable fit system; several of our testers complained that it hugged just a hair too tight. And there isn’t much venting, making it best for cold resort days. 

The Verdict: Your head case for the super-G time trial. But at this price, you better have a sponsor. 1.3 lbs

Price $550

Buy Now



Giro Zone MIPS 

Best For: Upping your steeze. 

The Test: We wear helmets to stay safe, but we also want them to complement the rest of our kit. With extended coverage in back, a low-profile design, and understated styling, the Zone delivers on both counts. It drops down almost to the neck, and extra material surrounds the ears to add protection. The MIPS liner comes standard, and it has 12 vents, although seven of them don’t close, making this lid best for warmer bluebird days. Bonus points for the anti-stink liner, built-in POV camera slot up front, and easy goggle integration. 

The Verdict: Those who always thought helmets were too ugly to wear are out of excuses. 1.1 lbs 

Price $200

Buy Now



POC Auric Cut 

Best For: Park rats. 

The Test: Lots of helmets built around EPS foam are one-and-done—crash hard and you have to replace them. That’s not the case with the Auric, which uses an ABS shell plus a multi-impact foam made for people who like the halfpipe or terrain park and wipe out more frequently. POC keeps things extra snug (for better security if you take a banger) with a 360-degree closure system borrowed from its mountain-bike line that tightens from all sides instead of just at the back. Loosen it all the way and the helmet’s plenty roomy enough to wear over a thick beanie and goggles. 

The Verdict: Smart safety technology in a slick package. 1.2 lbs

Price $180

Buy Now


The Best Goggles of 2017

Alpine optics have made huge leaps. Enjoy the view. ​ (Smith Optics) Smith I/O with ChromaPop Gear of the Year The truth is, goggle lenses have always been interchangeable. It just used to be a pain in the ass to wrestle them into the frame. Then, eight years ago, Smith introduced an easy lens-swapping design and offered condition-specific hues—storm day, bright sun, and flat light—to boost performance, revolutionizing the market. The first iteration had a panoramic field of view, a sharp spherical lens, a comfy fit (thanks to three layers of foam), and a supple, articulating frame. ­Today every major manufacturer

Read More

The Best Sunglasses of 2017

Fear not these fashion-forward frames. The best sporty-shades makers are showing new style. (Rudy Project) Rudy Project Momentum Best For: Making the Scene  Rudy gets all King Midas (mirrored gold lenses, gold-dusty frames) with this louche design. If you can handle it, you’ll revel in the view through lenses with great clarity and pop—amazing, considering they’re not polarized, which can make things look blah. The features aren’t about actually playing: comfort, coverage, and security are abundant. Price $175 Buy Now (Bollé) Bollé Highwood Best For: Days on the Water These shades seem almost sharklike, with gill-slit vents at the hinges. Deeply tinted gray lenses

Read More

The Best Winter Camping Gear of 2017

Snowy nights require serious weaponry. (Mystery Ranch) Mystery Ranch Pitch 55 Pack At 55 liters, this is the largest option in Mystery Ranch’s climbing line. It swallowed everything we needed for a long weekend. Bonus points for features like the external crampon pocket and pick guard for ice axes. Price $250 Buy Now (SOG) SOG Reactor Multitool Inside this Kit Kat–size unit are burly pliers, a stainless-steel blade, a quarter-inch bit driver, and seven other critical tools to get you through all your camp chores. Price $64 Buy Now (Primus) Primus Winter Gas Canister  When temps dip south of freezing, most canister stoves

Read More

The Best Packs of 2017

Seven packs to keep you adventuring, and safe, in the snow. (mammut archive I Ansichtsache AG) Mammut Ultralight Removable Airbag 3.0  Gear of the Year Over the past few years, winter backpacks have undergone a design renaissance, getting lighter and more comfortable while offering new features. Much of the creative energy has come from a surge in the development of airbags—bladders that inflate in an avalanche and float you to safety. They are proven lifesavers, and many backcountry enthusiasts have smartly adopted them as a standard tool. The holdouts complain that they’re too heavy, complicated, and expensive, arguments that are largely

Read More

The Best Gloves of 2017

Your paws deserve the best. (Outdoor Research) Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Why spend five bills on electric gloves? To play longer when the mercury drops. A heating surface covers 70 percent of the Capstone (twice the area of most other models), and the lithium-ion batteries deliver up to eight hours of cook time on low. When the juice runs out and it’s above freezing, the soft-shell material is all you need.  Price $500 Buy Now (Give'r) Give’r 4-Season Think ski-patrol glove straight from DARPA. Originally tested by crews deicing planes at the Jackson Hole airport, the Give’r lets you do everything

Read More

The Best Snow Safety Tools of 2017

The ski world is going all in on high-tech safety gear, packing more features into smaller packages.  (Mammut) Mammut Carbon 240 Light Probe When there’s trouble, you need a probe that snaps together fast. The seven-foot-ten Mammut Carbon 240 assembles in under three seconds and weighs just 6.5 ounces, allowing it to fulfill its other most important duty—disappearing when not in use. Price $80 Buy Now (Black Diamond) Black Diamond Razor Carbon Pro Poles  You shouldn’t wear normal pole straps in the backcountry. If you’re caught in a slide or take a fall in deep pow, they can anchor you facedown in

Read More