Table Of Contents

Best Ski and Snowboard Helmet for Backcountry Use and Ski Mountaineering

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Warmth 50% 50%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Safety Tech & Features 80% 80%
  • Goggle Compatibility 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Weight: 360 grams

Adjustment System: Custom dial adjustment system

Number of Vents: 20

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Goggle Attachment: Yes

Visor: Yes (brim)

Audio Compatibility: No

Price: $159.96-$199

What We Like: A True Ski Mountaineering Helmet, Ultralight, Well Ventilated

What We Don’t: Non-Closable Vents, Not for Everyone

The bulk of ski helmets in our review are decidedly made for the masses. That is not the case with the Salomon MTN Lab. The Salomon MTN Lab is a ski and snowboard helmet built for the backcountry. If you do the vast majority of your skiing on resorts via ski lifts, then you will likely be better served by other helmets on our list, but if you hit the slopes with a full avalanche kit and an ice ax more often than you do with a lift pass, then the Salomon MTN Lab is a ski and snowboard helmet made for you.

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Compare to Similar Products

See Our Best Ski & Snowboard Helmet Review 2020 HERE!

Smith Quantum MIPS

  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Warmth 100% 100%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech & Features 100% 100%
  • Goggle Compatibility 90% 90%
  • Weight 40% 40%

Pros

Class-Leading Safety

Top All-Around Performance

Cons

Heavy

Expensive

Weight: 623.69 grams

Adjustment System: BOA FS360 Fit System

Number of Vents: 22

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Google Attachment: Yes

Visor: No

Audio Compatibility: Yes

Giro Range MIPS

  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Warmth 100% 100%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech & Features 90% 90%
  • Goggle Compatibility 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Unparalleled Fit Adjustment

Goggle Compatibility

Cons

Expensive

Can Cause Ear Pain for Some Riders

Weight: 538.65 grams

Adjustment System: ConformFit technology

Number of Vents: 12 adjustable

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Goggle Attachment: Yes

Visor: Yes

Audio Compatibility: Yes

Giro Nine MIPS

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech & Features 70% 70%
  • Goggle Compatibility 70% 70%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Mips Tech

Warm

Light

Comfortable

Great Price to Performance Ratio

Cons

Non-Removable Earpads

Lower Tier In Form Fit System

Weight: 436 grams

Adjustment System: In-Form Fit System

Number of Vents: 14

Removable Ear Covers: No

Google Attachment: Yes

Visor: No

Audio Compatibility: No

Salomon MTN Lab Review

  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Warmth 50% 50%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Safety Tech & Features 80% 80%
  • Goggle Compatibility 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

A True Ski Mountaineering Helmet

Ultralight

Well Ventilated

Cons

Non-Closable Vents

Not for Everyone

Weight: 360 grams

Adjustment System: Custom dial adjustment system

Number of Vents: 20

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Goggle Attachment: Yes

Visor: Yes (brim)

Audio Compatibility: No

POC Auric Cut Backcountry Spin

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Warmth 90% 90%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech & Features 90% 90%
  • Goggle Compatibility 90% 90%
  • Weight 40% 40%

Pros

Cutting Edge Safety Tech

Warm

Well Ventilated

Cons

Heavy

Look is Not for Everyone

Weight: 585 grams

Adjustment System: 360-degree adjustment

Number of Vents: 10 adjustable

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Google Attachment: Yes

Visor: No

Audio Compatibility: Yes

Smith Variance

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech & Features 70% 70%
  • Goggle Compatibility 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Price to Performance Ratio

Warm

Comfortable

Cons

Lacks Safety Features of Top of the Line Smith Helmets

Weight: 538.65 grams

Adjustment System: BOA Fit System

Number of Vents: 18

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Google Attachment: Yes

Visor: No

Audio Compatibility: Yes

Smith Vantage MIPS

  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Warmth 90% 90%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech & Features 90% 90%
  • Goggle Compatibility 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%

Pros

Most of the Features of the Quantum at a Lower Price

Cons

Lacks the Ultra-Premium Protection of the Quantum

Weight: 501.8 grams

Adjustment System: BOA FS360 Fit System

Number of Vents: 18

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Goggle Attachment: Yes

Visor: No 

Audio Compatibility: Yes

Oakley Mod5 MIPS

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Warmth 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech & Features 70% 70%
  • Goggle Compatibility 90% 90%
  • Weight 40% 40%

Pros

Modular Brim System

BOARetention System

Comfortable

Cons

Cold Earpads

Average Ventilation

Poor Quality of Goggle Clip

Weight: 601 grams

Adjustment System: BOA 270 fit system

Number of Vents: 11 on MIPS helmet

Removable Ear Covers: Yes

Goggle Attachment: Yes

Visor: Yes 

Audio Compatibility: No

Comfort and Fit

The Salomon MTN Lab backcountry ski and snowboard helmet favors oval shaped heads, not unlike the standard Giro fit. It is also not quite as deep as most snow helmets, so riders with taller heads might want to size up.

The earpads of the Salomon MTN Lab are attached to its fairly minimal liner, which is not as plush as other helmet liners, but saves weight and will keep you warm without causing you to overheat while climbing or skinning up the mountain.

Warmth

As we noted in the above section, the Salomon MTN Lab’s liner is more minimal and cooler than most, but it is made to keep you warm enough at high speeds, without causing you to overheat while working hard at low speeds. This is a balance that most ski and snowboard helmets need not achieve.

In the same vein, the large vents of the Salomon MTN Lab do not close, and this is the one area where we felt the helmet might have been better served by straying from its ultralight, minimalist style.

Ventilation

As you might expect of a helmet that scores below average in the warmth category, the Salomon MTN Lab shines in the ventilation category. Boasting a full 20 vents, the Salomon MTN Lab is by far the best-ventilated helmet in our review, and this should come as no surprise since it is a helmet that is meant to perform just as well while climbing as while skiing or snowboarding.

Furthermore, while the liner of the Salomon MTN Lab is fairly minimal, to begin with, the helmet also comes with a second “summer” liner which is even more breathable and trades the earflaps for a sweatband.

Safety Tech and Additional Features

For years, those who climbed mountains to ride down them were forced to choose between a ski helmet that offered inferior protection and performance while climbing the mountain, or a climbing helmet that offered greatly reduced coverage around the sides and back, which is where impact frequently occurs in high-speed ski and snowboard crashes.

The Salomon MTN Lab solves this problem by exceeding ratings for both ski and mountaineering helmets. It is this ability to double, from both a safety and comfort standpoint, as a ski helmet and a climbing helmet that makes the Salomon MTN Lab the perfect helmet for backcountry riders and ski mountaineers.

The Salomon MTN Lab also features headlamp mounting hooks, a staple of climbing helmets, for alpine starts.

Goggle Compatibility

As a more minimal helmet, there is no trouble getting larger-framed goggles under the Salomon MTN Lab’s brim, nor does it tend to leave an obnoxious gap between smaller framed goggles and your head. If goggle compatibility is your top priority, then there are better helmets for you, but you could not say that there is anything wrong with the MTN Lab’s goggle integration either.

Weight

As with ventilation, the Salomon MTN Lab backcountry ski and snowboard helmet is a superstar in this category. At 360g, it is the lightest helmet in our review and by a pretty wide margin. While we don’t generally have an ultralight mentality, we can certainly appreciate its advantages for those who spend more time going up than going down.

The Bottom Line

If you have ever reached for your ski helmet, then reached for your climbing helmet, and then hit the mountain for a day of ski mountaineering or backcountry riding in your mountain bike helmet as a less than stellar compromise, then the Salomon MTN Lab was made for you. While riders who are not hardcore backcountry enthusiasts will be better served by other helmets on our list, with prices as low as $159.99, the Salomon MTN Lab might be worth investing in as a second helmet just for those days when you hit the backcountry in search of fresh pow.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!