The Smith Vantage helmet is one of the most dominant models for snowboarders and skiers in the market today. We’re flooded with many helmets out there, albeit for a reason — these things come in different shapes, sizes, personalities, safety mechanisms, advanced technology and more. Although a lot of snow gear brands tend to push out new models, styles and technology each new winter year, this particular helmet has continuously stood the test of time for quite a few reasons. Alongside the addition of the MIPS technology in a lot of these Vantage options now, you’ve got in our opinion one of the most complete helmets in the game right now. Let’s get into the Vantage a little bit more and see what it has to offer.
Main features of the Smith Vantage helmet
- Available in multiple color styles
- Hybrid SL construction
- Aerocore construction
- 21 vents built-in
- Adjustable climate control
- Available with MIPS safety system
- Adjustable fit system (BOA FS360)
- Performance lining (nanosilver)
- Snapfit earpads (SL2)
- AirEvac 2 ventilation
- Removable goggle lock
- Compatible with many helmet audio systems
Overall helmet build
When you’re paying that amount of money, we’ll hope that we get a supreme build for not only a great look but ultimately a safe and sturdy fit. For one, a favorite part of ours when it comes to the Smith Vantage is the construction. The “Hybrid SL” term means that the helmet is made of two different types of shells. Smith combined both their popular ‘ABS construction‘ (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene — simply put, a very tough thermoplastic) and ‘In-Mold technology’ (a popular helmet construction with a light weight, well-vented build that blends a foam interior liner with a hard exterior shell) to create this ‘Hybrid’ construction we’re seeing today. This is some fancy wording for sure, so keep it simple — Smith decided to combine two of the most popular types of helmet constructions into one. This makes it not only more expensive but most importantly, more protected and confident when you ride in case there’s a fall. It’s two times the protection as a lot of other helmets out there (at least older models).
This thing is super high-end, and they made sure to include some of their top Smith helmet technology in this one. Next up, how’s the venting? For one, you have 21 vents total (which you can adjust to your liking). We also have this Aerocore construction (this Smith video explains it well) that increases the airflow in your helmet, improve temperature regulation as well as help impact resistance all at the same time. How? A special material they used in the creation called “Koroyd” that can absorb some energy upon impact. It also lets more vents be placed in and around the helmet lining without giving up comfort and protection.
Additional helmet features
Another big part of the Smith Vantage we love is the fit system. Smith coins this particular technology as “BOA FS360”, which is the best of the best in terms of their different types of custom fit tech in helmets. As opposed to just a little strap in the back like other helmets, this has an entire fitting system that surrounds your head inside of the helmet (a 360 degree halo design). To put im simply, you twist a little knob in the back and the entire 360 degree system forms to your head both in a forward as well as lateral fit. It’s also on the fly — you can literally do this while you’re on the lift or even riding (if you dare move those arms). This is extremely convenient and one of our favorite features of this thing.
Lastly, let’s talk MIPS. If you weren’t aware of this technology, it stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. We’re starting to see this technology more and more in newer helmets (for a reason, research has shown the effectiveness of this). What it does is reduce “rotational forces” to the brain when there’s impact. This means that when we fall and hit our head at certain angles, our heads rotate with the helmet which causes further damage to our noggins. MIPS stops this by allowing a small amount of rotational occur in between the outer shell and MIPS layer. Why not? It’s just a few more bucks for the styles that come with this protection technology, and we highly recommend it if you can afford it.
The Smith Vantage. vs helmet competitors
Since we’re nearing that over $100+ price range (retail, at least), we’ve got a big pool of helmets to keep in mind here when we compare and contrast. To keep it convenient, we’ll focus on only helmets with the higher price-range since we’re assuming you’ll be interesting in high-end helmets today. A few other heavy hitters in the helmet game we think give the Vantage a run for its money is probably either the Anon Prime (Burton’s brand) or the Oakley Mod5 — both are viable helmets and are true competitors with the same type of advanced build and features.
If you do want to compare some more models before making your buy, be sure to read our best snow helmet guide since we’ve included 10 in there to give you some choices (yes, the Vantage made it in there!)
The final word on the Smith Vantage helmet
All in all, the Smith Vantage helmet is one of the best out there, period. As you can see, this particular helmet is the sum of its parts; whether it’s the materials they used for the little things, the extra design tweaks they made to keep comfort and airflow secure, as well as the advanced protection mechanisms they incorporated (like combining two completely different types of helmet constructions). Smith really paid attention to the fine details here to make an overall outstanding piece of protection here.
As we’ve highlighted previously in this review, the overall technology, specs, and safety really make this thing worth the investment if you’re able to scrounge up at least $100+ in cash. To us, a helmet is an investment and isn’t something you just dispose of year after year — it’s a piece of snow gear you’ll most likely keep for numerous years, or at least as many years as you can before it breaks down on you (or if you bang it up enough after a while). That’s why we hear of a lot of snowboarders and skiers save up a chunk of their budget specifically for their helmet. The entire Smith brand to us has really made a name for themselves, not only in the goggle game but helmet realm as well.
This is definitely not a snow helmet for those saving money — it’s a work of art for those who want the best of the best and are willing to spend a decent chunk of change on one of the most important parts of buying snowboard and ski gear — protecting that precious head of yours (we only get one, after all). You’re getting what you pay for.