Updated November 17th, 2023
Warm and lightweight full featured helmet for resort or backcountry skiing
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- Smith Vantage MIPS Ski Helmet Review and Test
- The Smith Vantage vs the Smith Nexus and Smith Level
- The Verdict
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The Smith Vantage MIPS ski helmet is one of the best high performance ski helmets out there. It no longer sits as the flagship in Smith Optic’s ski helmet range. It gives you an incredible feature list with 90% of what their top end Nexus gives you at a much lower cost. It has dual zone adjustable ventilation, lightweight Koryd construction, and MIPS. Let’s take a look at what makes the Smith Vantage MIPS ski helmet so good.
What we liked:
- Koroyd honeycomb construction for better energy absorption and improved venting
- 22 vents with adjustable front and rear zones
- Goggle defog vents
- Anti-microbial helmet lining
- Available with MIPS
- Lightweight at 1 lb 2 oz
- Comes with a helmet storage bag
- Audio compatible ear pads
- Helmet bag included
What we didn’t like:
- Higher cost
- Ear pads are difficult to remove
- Sizes run small
- Construction – Hybrid in-mold with Zonal Koroyd honeycomb
- MIPS – Yes, Optional
- Weight – 1 lbs 2 oz
- Ventilation – Adjustable, dual zone
- Goggle Defog Vents – Yes
- Audio Compatible – Yes
Smith Vantage MIPS Ski Helmet Review and Test
I have been a long time fan of Smith Optics ski gear. I used Smith IO7 goggles with a Variance helmet for years. They always produce innovative, safe helmets with some of the best goggle lenses available. I chose a Smith Vantage MIPS to replace my aging Variance helmet. The Vantage has so many good features it is tough to consider their top end Nexus helmet.
We purchased the Smith Vantage MIPS helmet on our own. Whether we purchased something or a vendor gave it to us, we’ll give you all the good and bad in our review.
The Smith Vantage retails for $270. It is available both with or without MIPS but the price is the same either way. Always go for the MIPS version. A helmet bag is also included for that price.
MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System
The Vantage is available in a MIPS or non-MIPS version. MIPS is a layer in the helmet under the EPS foam and Koryd energy absorber that allows the helmet exterior shell to rotate relative to your head. This means that for an angled impact such as a glancing blow, the helmet shell will rotate without forcing your head to rotate. This reduces the forces going into your head and spine reducing your risk of injury. Learn more about MIPS here.
The Vantage helmet is certified to almost every applicable certification out there from the US and Europe. Here is a list of certifications. ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 CLASS B, CPSC, CE EN1078
My size XL Vantage weighs in at 1 lb 2 oz. It matches the 1 lbs 2 oz weight published by Smith.
The Vantage helmet uses hybrid construction. It uses a Zonal Koroyd honeycomb energy absorber over the top of your head. It uses a standard EPS foam liner with in-mold construction around the sides of your head.
The Koroyd plastic honeycomb provides better energy absorption than standard EPS foam. It also weighs less. You can vent the helmet through the honeycomb channels. You don’t need to cut holes in the energy absorbing liner when you use honeycomb.
One of the few advantages the more expensive Smith Nexus helmet has is full koroyd construction instead of hybrid construction. More of a good thing is better.
XT2 antimicrobial lining
The Vantage uses an anti-microbial removable lining to keep the funk out of your ski helmet. It is held in with a few velcro patches and is easy to remove. It’s a mesh material with a bit of neoprene feel around the edges. It doesn’t use a fuzzy fleece feeling material.
BOA helmet fit system
A BOA fit system is used to adjust the sizing. The dial is smooth and it works well. The BOA dial is behind enough padding that you don’t feel it on the back of your neck. No complaints about how the size adjuster works on this helmet.
Dual zone adjustable venting
The Vantage has adjustable front and rear vents. The 2 vent sets can be opened and closed separately. There are 2 sliders on top of the helmet for adjusting the vents. The goggle also has some fixed open vents in the back of the helmet.
I count 22 vents on the helmet. It has a lot of vent area compared to most other helmets. We haven’t found a warm ski day yet where we thought the helmet was too hot with all the vents open.
AirEvac goggle anti-fog vents
It has 2 AirEvac goggle defog vents on the front of the helmet. These work great at keeping your goggles free of fog. They work best with Smith goggles but will work okay with almost any brand of ski goggle.
Audio Compatible Removable ear pads
The Smith Vantage has a 1 piece removable ear bad that runs across the back of the helmet. It has a zipper that you can open to install Bluetooth helmet speakers. The ear pads are removable but not easy to remove. You have to unhook the BOA size adjuster from both sides of the helmet because it runs through the ear pads. This is my biggest complaint with a lot of Smith helmets. No one else makes you remove the size adjuster to get the ear pads out.
The Vantage earpads have a zipper that runs across the back so that you can add helmet speakers. The zipper runs left to right which is opposite most other ski helmets.
See our guide to the best ski helmet speakers to learn more.
There are 2 pieces of foam inside the ear pads you can take out when installing speakers. The ear pads will still feel thin with speakers in them. We did find that the zipper to get access to the speakers is a little stiff and doesn’t open and close smoothly. I’d rather have velcro for this.
The helmet has a small brim that will cover most large profile ski goggles. It has enough character lines and vent holes to give it a dynamic appearance. It looks more styled than a plane dome skater style helmet. It doesn’t have anything that makes it look like the styling was overdone. It is just a good looking ski helmet.
The helmet is available in sizes Small, Medium, Large and X-Large. The MIPS version of the helmet sizes small. I am wearing the XL which doesn’t feel that much larger than the Large I tried on. Smith helmets have a bit more angled forehead than the Oakley Mod5. The Vantage is on the snug side on my forehead but otherwise very comfortable.
There is no round contour version of the helmet currently available. They produced round contour fit Vantages in the past and you can still find them at Smith and other places. I have not seen a MIPS round contour Vantage anywhere.
Goggle compatibility will be the best with Smith Optics Goggles. It fits really well with Smith 4D Mag goggles we have been using while skiing with it. We found it works well with Oakley, Outdoor Master, and Anon goggles too. The brim is wide enough to cover the top of larger profile goggles like Smith 4D and I/O XL. The helmet has an elastic cord goggle retainer in the back. This is my preferred goggle retention type. It’s the easiest one to hook and unhook with no chance of the goggles slipping out by accident.
The Smith Vantage vs the Smith Nexus and Smith Level
The Smith Nexus and Level are the helmet above and below the Vantage in the Smith lineup. The helmets all have a similar look freeride look with a small brim to cover the top of your ski goggles. They have a similar dynamic look with character lines and vents.
Smith Nexus MIPS
Smith Level MIPS
- Smith Nexus MIPS – The Smith Nexus retails for $325 or about $55 more than the Vantage. There are 2 main differences between Nexus and Vantage. It has full Koroyd construction. It has a magnetic fidlock buckle. It weighs about an ounce more than the Vantage.
- Smith Level MIPS – The Smith Level MIPS retails for $220 or $50 less than the Vantage. It also has hybrid Koroyd construction. It loses the dual zone venting that the Vantage has. It weighs about an once more than the Vantage.
Smith Vantage MIPS Ski Helmet
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The Smith Vantage MIPS ski helmet is an excellent helmet for resort skiing or some touring or backcountry work. It has a ton of adjustable vents. The Koroyd hybrid construction makes it safer and lighter. If you are looking for a new ski or snowboard helmet, you should check it out.
See our Ski Helmet Gear Guide to see our best ski helmet picks.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.