Heather is a mom of three (kid No. 1 is 17, kid No. 2 is 15 and kid No. 3 is 10 — but that’s just a chronological list, not in order of “favourites,” because that changes daily, she says!) She’s also got three fur babies and works full time. She’s a wife to “Chops,” who works like a crazy person, so Heather runs the house! She’s a die-hard Diet Coke lover and notes that she would be thrilled to have a permanent IV of the stuff attached.
When Mommy Gearest asked me to provide a guest review of Bollé’s ski helmet and goggles, I was excited! I have been skiing since I was nine years old. And since I have a ski helmet and goggles that my husband bought me a few years ago that I LOVE, I was interested to see how the Bollé helmet and goggles would compare. There are two separate reviews below.
[Editor’s note: Since I also received the same Bollé ski helmet, and similar goggles, I will weigh in below as well in Heather’s review.]
Bollé Ski Helmet
First of all, the helmet was purple — my favourite colour — so I loved the way it looked right away. It also has great turquoise accents that are really pretty and a cool pattern on the back of the helmet that’s unique.
The helmet fit pretty well. You can adjust it using both the chin strap and a knob/dial at the back of the helmet to get as close to a custom fit possible. It’s called “Click-to-Fit” and it really works, which makes it easier if you have to change what’s under your helmet as conditions change from weekend to weekend or even during the same day.
I wore a balaclava skiing (it was cold!) when I used the helmet the first time, but it does have fleece-lined ear flaps that keeps your ears warm even without one on milder days.
There is also adjustable ventilation on the top of the Bollé helmet that’s easy to set with the slider if you do get too warm. And the fleece ear pieces can come off too.
There are a few things and really cool additional features on the Bollé helmet worth noting. First is the price. For a very technical helmet — a light, hybrid polycarbonate shell with ABS injection and major shock absorption —the Bollé Synergy ski helmet is value-priced at US$99.99. It stands up incredibly well to my CDN$210 Smith helmet all things considered. I paid around the same (CDN$129) for my basic Saloman helmet, which doesn’t have a sizing dial, or any particularly cool features.
Both the ear flaps and the helmet liner are removable for machine washing. That’s especially nice if most of your ski season is warmer and you don’t wear a liner or balaclava. Because sweat = gross after months of skiing.
I like that there’s a QR code inside that, when scanned, provides critical and emergency contact information in the event that you’re too injured to provide it yourself. See my GAFFE on this same thing, though, below.
The optional audio kit (called “Wired Chips,” from a company called Outdoor Technology, about US$40) is all kinds of awesome. The speakers are a bit bigger and thicker than I was expecting, but they fit into the ear flaps really well and produce quality sound. Plus, they can be wireless or wired when the rechargeable battery runs out, which is awesome. And because they have a built-in mic, you can even accept phone calls via Bluetooth connectivity! This is a great feature that I just don’t have in my other helmets.]
I found the helmet bulky. I felt like a giant bobblehead when I first started wearing it. After skiing for a while I didn’t notice as much anymore but that was my initial reaction. [Editor’s note: I agree that the helmet is a bit more bobblehead-ish than my other helmets, but I truly only noticed because of Heather’s initial observation.]
I mentioned that I had worn a balaclava when I used the helmet and I’m glad that I did because after comparing to my other helmet the ear flaps would not have even touched my ears (my other helmet is the same size as the Bollé). I tried to adjust the chin strap to pull the ear flaps closer to my head but they are stiff and don’t really move.
A smaller size or different style would likely solve this ear flap issue, had Heather been offered an opportunity to visit a showroom and try on a variety of helmets. In my experience, every helmet doesn’t work for every head — even when the sizing is the same on the box. My medium-sized Bollé helmet fits just as snugly and nicely as my Saloman and Smith ski helmets.
And I don’t personally have any issues at all with the ear flaps. In fact, I find they fit over my ears really well both with and without a balaclava underneath. And I’ve even used two weights of balaclavas under my helmet, with no issues getting a great fit.
What I do consider a GAFFE with this Bollé ski helmet is the chin strap; once you set the sizing, it doesn’t seem to “stick” consistently, So it loosens from time to time and needs to be readjusted. I haven’t had this happen with either of my other helmets and it can be frustrating.
Although I like the concept of the QR code for emergency info, how many smartphones are equipped with QR code scanners anymore? Do people intuitively know that there are free apps that can be downloaded to read QR codes if they found it in the helmet? Would someone know to check the inside of a helmet for a QR code in an emergency situation? Two thoughts: first, maybe it makes more sense for Bollé to create a sticker that can be applied to the helmet’s interior to provide this information without needing a scanner, or have a small instruction sticker with the QR code in place of the annoying sizing sticker on the back of the helmet instead that reads “SCAN ME IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.”]
[Editor’s note: I would probably give the helmet a 4/5 rating based on the additional functions that I have been able to test over time that Heather has not and the fact that I personally really like the overall fit.]
Bollé Ski Goggles
The goggles were beauties; the Duchess model comes in many different styles, and mine have a great wood-grain-like pattern with the same turquoise accents as my helmet. The lenses have that awesome reflective look — like a rainbow. I am a big believer in looking good while you’re skiing, and the Bollé helmet and googles together make a very nice-looking combo.
I love the way these goggles fit! They fit my face nicely. [Editor’s note: the Duchess style is made specifically for a woman’s smaller face, so if you typically have a larger head/frame, you may find them a bit too small so be sure to try them in person before ordering. I was unable to fit my eyeglasses under this particular style, so keep that in mind too. However, with contact lenses in place, I find my Duchess ski goggles give me a very good, wide view of the hill with good, though not perfect, peripheral vision.]
These goggles are very clear and I am able to see any dips and icy areas while skiing. They’re easily adjustable so that you can get a nice fit inside your helmet and they even cover that small part of exposed skin on your forehead. [Editor’s note: the lenses in my version of the Duchess goggle from Bollé go a step farther than Heather’s and are both photochromic and polarized, which both really help discern icy patches and adjust to various light conditions. I love the way the lenses function. It’s also important to note here that Heather’s experience with the “covering of exposed forehead skin” is likely due in large part to wearing Bollé goggles and a Bollé helmet together, as they are designed to offer that perfect, seamless fit. You may not find your Bollé goggles do this if you don’t pair them with a Bollé helmet.]
The only gaffe is that my husband will not be happy that I’m trading in the goggles that he bought me for these Bollé goggles!
I would like just a little more lens on the periphery.
And I’d like some more slack in the headband. I have a relatively small head and I’ve let the band out as much as it will go to get it to fit around my helmet. When I needed to use my Bollé goggles for snowmobiling, they had to go under the rental helmet instead of over, as I’ve done before with my Marker goggles.
Price-wise, my version of the Duchess goggles are US$169.99 and for that price, I would have expected them to come with a hardshell case AND a softshell cover. No hard case in sight. This is a miss on Bollé’s part, because it’s otherwise a premium product.]
[Editor’s note: I would probably give the goggles a 4/5 rating, upping it to a 4.5/5 had they come with a hardshell case.]