Disclosure: Man Makes Fire is reader-supported. When you buy gear using retail links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work. Learn more.
The new Smith men’s Mission and women’s Mirage Snow Helmets offer excellent protection, fit, and styling at a midrange price point. The Mission and Mirage are essentially the same helmets but come in different color options for men and women.
Overall, we think the Smith Mission and Mirage offer one of the best overall price-to-value ratios in snow helmets for most recreational skiers or snowboarders. When it was time to upgrade from the entry-level Smith Holt, the Mission and Mirage caught our attention. Here’s why:
I’m a recreational skier, and our family has been slowly upgrading gear a piece at a time each season — which is a strategy Man Makes Fire recommends for most outdoor activities. The strategy is simple: Get into a new outdoor sport by renting, borrowing or buying entry-level gear . . . and once you are addicted, start upgrading based on your budget and skill levels.
I previously used the Smith Holt helmet. It’s a very good entry-level snow helmet, strong and durable as well as reasonably comfortable and warm. However, the shape and sizing makes it fit just a bit big. The Large is slightly too large for my head while the Medium is slightly too small. It’s not bad, but the Large ends up pushing down on the top of my goggles.
The Smith Mission, on the other hand, has a more streamlined shape that better fits my head. As near as I can tell, most of this fit is cosmetic with the exception of the brow of the helmet — it sits higher on my forehead so that goggles fit better on my face. In this respect, the Mission (and Mirage) have an overall shape that more closely matches Smith’s most expensive snow helmet designs.
Smith Mission and Mirage Snow Helmets Review: Lightweight Protection
The most notable benefit of the Smith Mission and Mirage is the weight — at just 16 ounces in the Medium, these snow helmets are very light. Turns out, I very much like the lightweight design.
Smith uses traditional EPS foam with a tough shell and Koroyd cylinder sections. The Koroyd sections are straw-like cylinders that are welded together. Upon impact, they crumple and absorb energy. In the Matte Black Mission helmet, the Koroyd material is a bright green that you can see through some of the vents. In other versions, it’s just a low-key gray.
Smith also uses its “Aerocore” construction, which is designed to channel airflow in and out of the helmet. The Mission and Mirage have 14 vents, 10 of which you can adjust from wide open to completely closed. Most of the winter, I keep the vents closed, but on spring skiing days, I expect I’ll open them up.
In addition to the Koroyd cylinders, the Smith Mission and Mirage also have a MIPS design option.
What Is ‘MIPS’ and Why Does It Matter?
MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. MIPS technology design basically uses a low-friction inner layer inside of a helmet. This inner layer can shift inside of the outer layer when you suffer a glancing blow to the head. For instance, if the outer layer catches for a split second, the inner layer will slide with your head inside of the outer layer shell. This slippage reduces the traumatic movement of your brain inside of your own head. Basically, a helmet with a MIPS design is generally a better helmet for action sports than those without it.
If you can afford a helmet with MIPS, spend a bit more and get a MIPS helmet.
The Smith Mission and Mirage Snow Helmets are excellent ski and snowboard helmets.
Smith Mission ski and snowboard helmet.
When it comes to the Smith Mission and Mirage Snow Helmets, there are two versions you can choose: without MIPS . . . or, for $30 more, the Mission with MIPS or the Mirage with MIPS. The MIPS version has a little yellow sticker on the shell behind the ear pads. The Mission and Mirage helmets we picked up at a local mountain town ski shop are non-MIPS. In retrospect, I wish the store had stocked the MIPS versions.
That said, the Smith Mission and Mirage is still a welcome upgrade over the Smith Holt, and it’s a near perfect compromise of cost and protection for most recreational skiers who rarely push themselves past the brink of their skill levels.
Smith Mission and Mirage Snow Helmets Review: Comfort and Fit
The interior padding is thoroughly decent but not plush. The ear pads are comfortable, as is the chin strap. The rear size dial adjustment works well.
As for sizing for online ordering, measure your head circumference over your ears and around your forehead. If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, use a string and then measure the length. Fit is spot on. Small is 51-55 centimeters, Medium is 55-59 cm and Large is 59-63 cm.
All-in-all, the Smith Mission for men and Mirage for women snow helmets are excellent midrange helmets. For most recreational skiers and snowboarders, the fit, finish and overall design offers a great price-to-value ratio. For faster and more adventurous skiers and boarders, the MIPS versions offer extra protection at a surprisingly great price point. Both are highly recommended.