Size Tested: Medium (55.5-59 cm)
Color: Matte Turbulence / Blue
Stated Weight: 438 g
Blister’s Measured Weight (shell): 432 g
- MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System
- Hybrid Construction – Durable Hard Shell; Ventilated Upper; Lightweight In-Mold Lower & Sidewalls
- Low-profile design
- In Form 2 Fit System, Vertical Tuning
- Thermostat Control Adjustable Venting
- POV Camera Mount included
- Fidlock Magnetic Buckle Closure
- XT2 Anti-Odor Protection
- Compatible With Aftermarket Giro Audio Systems by Outdoor Tech
- Seamless Compatibility With All Giro Goggles
Test Locations: Taos, NM; Grand Targhee, Teton Pass, Togwotee Pass, WY
Days Tested: 8
For the 16/17 season, Giro is expanding their snow helmet lineup with the all-new Zone MIPS and Ledge MIPS. We’ll be taking both to New Zealand in a couple weeks, but I was able to get some time in the Zone MIPS at the end of last season, so I’ll be delivering my initial impressions here, and then Brian Lindahl will follow up with his review when we return from the southern hemisphere.
The Zone joins the Giro Range that I reviewed last year at the top of the totem pole for Giro’s snow helmets, and its $200 price tag reflects that.
I opted to review the Zone in a size Medium, even though at 59 cm, my head is close to the top end of its adjustment range, because I tend to take the liner out of most of my helmets and instead use them in conjunction with either a hat, or a hooded face mask.
With the liner in, my head fit snugly with just a little room to adjust the helmet bigger. Without the liner, I fell much closer to the middle of the adjustment range.
The Zone has a nice, slightly oval shape that fits my (slightly oval) head well. The fit felt very similar to every other Giro I’ve worn in the past.
The Zone has a size knob on the back that’s easy to adjust, even on the fly and while wearing gloves.
The Zone has what Giro calls Hybrid Construction — the top of the helmet is a more durable hard shell construction, while it has a lighter in-mold lower shell and sidewalls. Giro says this allows them to make the helmet lighter without sacrificing durability or safety. Even so, at 432 g without the liner, the Zone is by no means an exceptionally light helmet.
The Zone has a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) layer, which is basically a low-friction layer in the helmet that allows it to move independently of your head in the event of a rotational impact. While the armchair scientists are still arguing about how much safer MIPS actually makes a helmet, it’s simple, light, and compelling enough that I much prefer MIPS helmets over the standard variety. (For more on MIPS and Giro’s use of it, check out our podcast conversation with Giro’s Director of R&D, Rob Wesson.)
The Zone has a total of 11 vents, and the four on the top of the helmet can be opened and closed with the sliding switch on top of the helmet. I tend to run hot, so I left the vents open for the duration of my test, and I found that the Zone vented adequately. It’s not as airy as something like the Salomon MTN Lab helmet, but I found that it vented much better than the Range MIPS. Brian opens and closes his vents a lot more than I do, so he’ll weigh in with more information here.
The Zone uses a nice, breathable liner that attaches to the MIPS layer with velcro patches. The one annoying thing about these patches is that the hook side is on the MIPS layer, so if you do use the helmet without a liner, you’ll need to throw tape over them to keep them from sticking to your hat and goggle straps.
The Zone’s ear flaps have pouches for speakers, and they click securely into the shell. I really appreciate this, since I’ve dealt with too many helmets where the ear flaps have a tendency to slide out.
The Zone has a simple elastic cord and plastic hook goggle strap that works well and is easy to remove. It also uses a Fidlock magnetic buckle. After using a few helmets with this system, I’ve come to really like it, since I can open and close it with one hand easier than a normal buckle system.
The Zone also comes standard with Giro’s removable GoPro mount. It clips securely into the front of the helmet, and if you decide not to ski with your camera, it comes off easily without leaving a mount stuck to the shell.
NEXT: Goggle Compatibility, Performance, Etc.