Smith Variant Brim Helmet Sets Standard for Snowsport Helmet in 2011

Looking to protect your noggin while heading down the slopes this year? Alpine Shop‘s snowsport buyer, Jake White, wanted to give you a look at one of the best options out there for you in 2011.

I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about one of the best-fitting ski or snowboard helmets on the market this year, the Smith Variant Brim. When shopping for protective headwear designated for alpine conditions certain features give you peace of mind and this helmet has all of them. First and foremost, it needs to be extremely comfortable. If it’s not, you’ll take it off at every opportunity. The helmet also needs to have a great adjustment system to be able to custom-fit to your head, as it needs to fit as tight as it can without creating pressure points. Another important feature is venting. Helmets in most cases replace any type of hat you would use to keep your head warm and being able to let some air in without taking it off can be a beautiful thing.

The Variant has one of the best “out of the box” fits I’ve ever experienced. It uses Smith’s hybrid shell construction which has proven to be the best way to fuse the inner and outer materials of the helmet together. (It is not an easy thing for these companies to do without compromising the feel of the helmet.)

The company has also contracted Boa Cable Technologies for the sizing/adjustment system. This gives the fit system greater capabilities to adapt to your noggin by increasing the number of contact points the size-ring draws from, not to mention it’s hard to get more durable than a Boa Cable.

The air flow/venting system for this helmet is outstanding and one of a kind.  The vents are on the tops and sides of the helmet with a switch for each of the two regions that operate individually.  Each side has three positions:  open, half-way and closed. That equals a ton of cooling/warming options for you while you’re on the slopes.

By integrating these features, Smith has, in my opinion, mastered the equation involved in making a helmet. Whether its replacing that old one that doesn’t fit like you want it to, or buying your first helmet, Smith has made it an easy choice.

–Jake White