Traditionally snow sports helmets aren’t that hip. However the Smith Optics Vantage helmet is anything but traditional. This helmet has a sleek vented top with a stubby military-esque visor that gives it an unique look. The helmet is unisex, but Smith has specific color combos (like Shadow Purple Rivera & Charcoal Leila) that would likely be appreciated more by women.
The model we tested was a minimalistic matte “impossibly black” version that added to the design in an “addition-by-subtraction” type of format:
My previous (and only other) helmet was a shiny Giro 10 that will be referenced throughout the review. Also, I was (luckily) unable to test the effectiveness during trauma, so please reference the (excellent) user reviews on the helmet from others.
- X-Static Performance Lining
- 21 Vents
- Snapfit SL Ear Pads
- Removable Ultra-Light Goggle Lock
- Hybrid SL Shell Construction
- AirEvac 2 Ventilation
- Adjustable Boa Fit System
- Low-Profile Dual Regulator Adjustable Climate Control
We tested the Smith Vantage helmet out over multiple temperatures and conditions including the high 30’s and the low teens in order for an accurate review.
The matte black finish simply cannot be beaten. The shape, sleekness and simplicity makes the helmet stand out on the slopes. The helmet also feels sharper (in a good way) with tighter lines than the more bicycle helmet-like Giro models. The matte coating on this particular style took attention off the helmet giving it a powdery look, even in the sun:
The only issue was a half point docked for the subtle dark gray graphics on it. Frankly they weren’t needed — the black was more than suitable.
This helmet feels like a warm hug occurring on your head. The boa system makes sizing easy and the helmet really feels like it shrinks from all angles at once. This is hands down the best fitting system that we’ve ever seen.
When on your head, the helmet is unnoticeable. There are no pressure points, rattling or glaring issues. The strap is even comfortable. If you are looking for comfort, Smith has it covered with the Vantage.
The beauty of a good ski helmet is that it can adjust to the skiing conditions. The Smith Vantage does this – and more. The dual regulator adjustable climate control system is far and away better than competitors.
The vents can be opened across the front four vents (shown above,) across the back 8 vents — or any combination in-between. The varies that Smith offers will allow users to choosing the exact ventilation system that’s perfect for your conditions and skiing style. Bravo Smith, Bravo.
When unboxing the helmet, the biggest concern that I saw was the goggle strap lock. Coming from the Giro snap-style holder to Smith’s elastic-type lock. However, once I used the Smith lock I can say that i’ll never go back. It made locking goggles a super-easy, one handed process.
The only issue that I saw was that on one of the really cold nights and fast speeds the visor pushed some cold air to the area of skin above the goggles.
The biggest issue that we found with the Smith Optics Vantage helmet was the fact that the SL earpads worked quite well on blocking the cold. So well in fact that it blocked quite a bit of sound. When sitting on a chairlift it was tough to hear two people down at average conversation levels. The earpads were just as warm as Giro’s we’ve tested, but the patent leather made us yell “Huh!?” far more than usual.
A nice fix is to simply remove the earpads, although it may not work for those who ski hat-less on cold days.
- Fits Like a Glove!
- Seriously Stylish
- 21 Adjustable Vents Make this Helmet Perfect for any Conditions
- The Earpads Make Hearing Difficult