With such a glut of good snow helmets on the market, it’s tough to differentiate one from another. For the most part, it comes down to fit – which helmet is shaped most like your noggin? All things being equal, Giro put some features into the Range MIPS helmet that should put it at numero uno on your list.
Fit is paramount for helmets, both for comfort and safety. If a helmet is uncomfortable, you’re less likely to wear it. A helmet can’t save your brain if it’s sitting at home.
Giro Range MIPS features
But, good fit also means better protection. The goal of a helmet is to slow down the period of time over which your head absorbs and impact. Remember high school physics? Force = Mass x Acceleration? Nutshell version – to decrease the force your head takes in an impact, you can either decrease the mass or the acceleration. We don’t advocate drilling weight-saving holes in your head, so that leaves acceleration. Acceleration is a change in velocity over time. If you can double the amount of time it takes your head to stop in a crash, you chop the force in half. That’s what the foam in your helmet does. It increases the time it takes for your head to stop in a crash. Physics less over! (Thank goodness, right?)
The Giro Range also offers MIPS – Multi-Impact Protection System. It reduces rotational forces from impacts twisting your dome around. Same thing as above, but rotational instead of linear!
Most helmets with adjustable fit rely on a dial that tightens a band around your head. It snugs things up around your head, but it doesn’t take up the space between your head and the helmet. So, if you’re on the smaller side of a size range, you’ll have a gap between the foam and your skull. That gap has to close before the helmet starts to work!
This is where the Giro Range MIPS differentiates itself. Instead of the dial adjusting a thin band around your head, it brings the sides of the helmet closer to your skull. No gap = helmet immediately starts working on impact. Giro calls this ConformFit. If the Range fits your head shape, there is no better way to fine tune fit. Check out this video explanation from Giro and some pics showing the range of adjustment
The Range MIPS still has all of the features you’d usually expect from a top-end helmet. Vents are adjustable via a sliding knob on the top of the helmet. The Fidlock magnetic buckle on the chin strap makes strapping in a cinch and is much easier to open without removing gloves/mittens. Earpads are music compatible. The liner features X-static, anti-bacterial treatment to keep things from getting stinky. There’s a small visor with vents that align to suck air out of your goggles. And, it has a built-in GoPro mount so you don’t have to stick anything permanent onto your helmet.
Giro helmets tend to fit me well and the Range MIPS is no different. They fit a more oval head shape where other brands, Smith, for example, fit rounded heads better. Vents open and close easily and provide air without getting noisy. The GoPro mount is nice, but is difficult to use with the helmet on your head. You really need to insert the mount before donning your lid.
It’s been a while since I’ve been in a Giro helmet. Giro snow helmets have come a long way since they first introduced the Nine in 1999 (incidentally, also my first snow helmet). The Range MIPS is a top-shelf lid with great features, good comfort, and, in my opinion, the best fit system of anything on the market. Giro’s ConformFit really stands out. If the Range fits your head shape and it’s time for a new helmet, you should definitely consider it for the top spot on your list.
MSRP is $250. 2017 only brings new colors, so grab last year’s on sale.