Want to protect your noggin, not roast it? Don't despair. Brain buckets are no longer the weighty, sweat-promoting bulbs you might have tried in years past. Check out the three standouts below, which passed our grueling warm-weather hike-and-ski-really-really-hard test.
Best Overall Protection
If your gig is dropping cliffs or hitting the biggest terrain park features, the Fuse is your lid. Giro's in-mold technology fuses a tough outer shell to a padded, impact-absorbing liner, providing solid protection without weighing you down. Sixteen ventilation holes can be opened and closed on the fly for easy thermostat control while hiking or charging the bumps. Remove the earflaps (they're attached with Velcro) when things get toasty.
Details: 410 grams; $160; 800-456-2355, giro.com
The lightest-weight, lowest-profile helmet tested, the Ultramatic is a good choice if you're looking for comfort and protection but won't be throwing Seth Morrison-style air (he skis with a mouthpiece, after all). Unlike most ski helmets, K2's LiteCap construction uses an ultrathin plastic composite instead of thick plastic shell material. The aggressive venting system uses 12 air channels, a snap-in liner, and removable earflaps, allowing for quick and easy temperature management.
Details: 380 grams; $130; 800-426-1617, k2helmets.com
No-Nonsense Pro Model
With a motocross pedigree, the Stomper is the heaviest of the helmets reviewed here. It's also the only one that can be ordered with a custom paint job (shown: Winter Combat). The full-time A/C-the vents are always open-is a good thing (fewer movable parts to fuss with when you're hiking for corn) and a bad thing (when it's dumping, your head gets wet). The earflaps are not removable, but they are lined with a wicking fabric to keep sweat away from your face.
Details: 430 grams; $109 and up (depending on paint job); 800-223-4448, acerbisusa.com
Even on warm, sunny days, helmets work better with goggles than with sunglasses-that is, assuming you own the right pair. The best, like the new Oakley Wisdom, have sweat-wicking face foam and distortion-free elliptical lenses. With a streamlined lens shape and interchangeable strap connection, the Wisdom mates well with all the helmets tested.
Details: $135; 800-439-1431, oakley.com