Variant Brim

Variant Brim

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England, Mike

Skiing steep, rock-laden spring lines demands protection—and for optimal cranial coverage, you’ll want to join the masses and pick up a Smith Variant Brim. Despite this helmet’s widespread popularity, it was my first and so I rued the unwieldy plastic bucket that would soon sit atop my skull. I couldn’t have been more wrong—the Variant Brim was so lightweight and fit so well that I soon forgot it was even there. The injection-molded ABS hard shell felt like it could handle full-speed impact with a tree trunk, yet it was snug and comfortable on my noggin. Ample insulation kept my head warm on cold days, while Smith’s proprietary ventilation systems allowed plenty of circulation in warmer temps. A lifetime warranty and crash replacement program allayed any fears about the price tag. Most importantly, the Variant’s sleek, low-volume design didn’t make me look like one of those bulbous-headed alien invaders I laugh at from the chairlift. Available at Round House, Chalet Sports, Northern Lights, World Boards, Gallatin Alpine Sports, and Grizzly Outfitters. $160; smithoptics.com.

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