Expert Review: Smith Level MIPS Helmet · 2021

This review is my honest opinion of the helmet, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2020.

A snowboarder wearing the Smith Level Helmet in the Liberty Bowl of Big Sky.

Smith Level Helmet in the Liberty Bowl of Big Sky. All photos courtesy of Rhett Dalton

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the helmet, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2020.

My Take

The Smith Level MIPS Helmet is a great helmet offering multi-directional impact protection with a soft tricot lining for warmth, keeping my head warm. Its adjustable dial fit-sizing adjustment provides a custom fit for my big head while also allowing comfort to all skill levels.

Three skiers with helmets pose for a photo. There is a chairlift in the background.

From the peak of Steamboat

About the gear

  • Model: 2021 Smith Level MIPS Black
  • Size: Large

About me

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170 lbs
  • Head circumference: 62 cm
  • Goggles: Smith Skyline & Oakley Flight Tracker
  • Experience: 23 years of skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought this helmet: October 2020
  • Days tested: 50+ days
  • Where I’ve used it: Utah - Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Park City; Ohio - Snow trails; Montana - Big Sky; Colorado - Steamboat, Winter Park; New York - White Face; Oregon - Mt. Bachelor
  • How I’ve used it: Resort skiing, big mountain, backcountry

How it performs

Adjustability
4/5
Comfort
5/5
Durability
5/5
Protection
5/5
Ventilation
4/5
Warmth
5/5

What I was looking for

This was my first helmet. I was tired of renting when I traveled out West and was hoping to find one that was comfortable, warm, protective, but also affordable. I wanted a helmet that had MIPS technology for multi-directional impact protection but was also sleek and simple, so as to not be a huge change from skiing without a helmet for most of my life.

Two skiers both with helmets and goggles on pose for a photo with snowy mountains in the background.

From the peak of Alta

Why I chose this gear

I wanted a black helmet and didn't need anything flashy. I wanted it to be sleek, not be a major adjustment from skiing without a helmet, and include the correct protection (MIPS) at a reasonable price. As I was comparing options against the GIRO Jackson MIPS, this helmet seemed to offer the style I was looking for at a perfect price point. I love all my gear from Smith and knew I wouldn’t be disappointed sticking with the brand.

Front of the Smith Holt Helmet.

Sleek front with chin strap

Back of the Smith Level MIPS Helmet.

Goggle strap and Adjustable Dial

What I love about it

  • Protection: The combination of the MIPS technology, Aerocore construction with Koroyd and customizable dial-fit really feel like this helmet offers the highest protection possible in absorbing impacts.
  • Comfort: It is extremely comfortable, and I honestly look forward to putting on my helmet every time. The padded chin strap is another nice addition for that extra comfort.
  • Sizing: Fits true to size, with small, medium, and large options. I didn’t have trouble finding my size, and it seemed like all sizes were in stock when I looked.
  • Fit system: The VaporFIt Adjustable Fit system on this helmet helps make it feel like it is molded perfectly to my head. It has a rotary dial adjustment with integrated elastic to provide a customized, secure fit for each rider.
  • Liner: The liner is super soft, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I sweat a lot, so I am always concerned about the impact the extra moisture will have on my liner. The XT2 sweat-wicking performance lining does a great job of keeping my head dry and getting the moisture out. I’ve been very happy with the liner’s durability over multiple seasons.
  • Breathability: It’s great having the option with the regulator adjustable climate control to open/close vents to regulate the airflow needed. Easy to toggle too, no need to take my gloves off. The AirEvac Ventilation system does great at keeping warm/wet air away from my goggles to avoid any fogging.
  • Goggle compatibility: The goggle strap fits well in the clip on the back. The elastic strap provides a secure lock to keep the goggles on my helmet.
  • Weight: It’s a really light helmet, doesn’t feel like I am weighed down one bit.
  • Quality of Materials: I am impressed with the quality of the materials. The interior has a soft, almost velvety texture that feels luxurious. The full complement of great tech specs combined creates a high level of overall quality from the liner to the shell.
  • Style: I love the look of this helmet. It's classic and sporty. Plenty of color options if you are looking to make some noise.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Ear pads: The fabric on the ear pads is a bit rougher and denser than the liner. This is expected for a helmet but is a noticeable difference. Can be a bit hard to hear through them due to how thick they are.
  • Built-in features: This helmet doesn’t offer any built-in features, so if you are looking for a GoPro mount or internal audio system you will need to look elsewhere.
  • Durability: The helmet feels extremely durable. I’ve had a few crashes that have left some small scratches, but nothing too major. It has made multiple trips and always held up well.
Two skiers on a chairlift. One is giving a thumbs up.

In the Mineral Basin

Favorite moment with this gear

While skiing down an access trail this year at Big Sky, a buddy of mine was not paying attention and clipped over the front of my skis, popping my ski and sending me off the trail, over a 5 ft drop and a forest of trees. After taking the plunge and bouncing off some trees, I did a quick damage assessment. Luckily, outside of being full of adrenaline, a bit shaky, and embarrassed…everything was intact. I took off my helmet and there were pine twigs, smeared mud, and tree parts along with some scratches, but no damage. It had fulfilled its primary function of protecting me, which was appreciated.

Value for the money vs. other options

This helmet offers great MIPS protection and tech to keep skiers and boarders safe and warm at a respectable price point. This helmet is 100% worth the price compared to other options like the Smith Level that don’t offer MIPS or against similar Giro Models offering MIPS like the Jackson.

Final verdict

I could not be happier with the Smith Level MIPS Helmet. It has been battle-tested and kept me safe and checked all the boxes for what I was looking for.

Selling Smith on Curated.com
Smith Level MIPS Helmet
From $199.99
Ski Expert Rhett Dalton
5.0
Rhett Dalton
Ski Expert
Rhett here! How can I help?
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Written By
Avid skier since age 8. Love a good blue bird day. That said, prefer large storms dumping fresh powder. Groomers can be satisfying, but find me in the trees or the back bowls. Frequent traveler to Big Sky, but Snowbird still has my heart as my favorite. Apres ski expert, when I'm not on a lift or sh...

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