I needed a helmet I could wear the entire day, and use on the uphill without suffering a monsoon of sweat. The most protective hardhats, with their thick shells and minimal vents, do neither for me. So I compromised. The Petzl Meteor is certified to CE EN 12492, the mountaineering helmet standard. That’s without the addition of the snowsports standard. I’m ok with that, so long as the climbing helmet shields the back of my head and appears thick and well made.
Meteor checks. Construction is the classic build of crushable foam laminated to a thin, semi-sacrificial shell. The exterior is strong enough to repel casual damage (though you’ll need to pack carefully in airline luggage). The uncomplicated harness system is appealing. You do the head girth adjustment with a click and slide band at the rear. This inadvertently cinched my scalp like DEA agent ratcheting a handcuff wire-tie — the resulting headache was one for the pill bottle. But the agent had confiscated it! The usual solution: Adjust, then add duct tape.
I overall like this helm, only comet-tail burning issue being the chin buckle. Meteor uses a clever magnetic assist buckle, but it’s not bi-directional. If you twist the chin strap and face one-half of the buckle backward it won’t engage correctly. Moreover, the buckle might do fake news with the magnet, which will lightly hold together if you don’t have much tension on it. Most helmets have bi-direction buckles that embed like a meteorite no matter what their trajectory. Why is this important? In the extreme, you will fiddle with buckles, perhaps in the dark, with gloves on, gnawed by the hoar frosted hounds of winter. This little magnetic toy helps not. Mods, you ask? The Meteor buckle is not easy to swap. I probably won’t. I’ll use the Meteor for most of my adventures, but would probably choose something else for journeys where gloved hands are life, such as Alaskan epics.
Weight: 246 grams, size M/L.
Color: A pleasant light gray, though with poor avalanche visibility. Add a sticker or two.
Goggle and headlamp mounting: The usual, bungee at the rear, pair of clips at the front.
Ventilation: Monster, carry a helmet cover for weather.
WildSnow summer bonus surfing: Did you know the biggest meteorite ever found, The Hoba, resides in Namibia and weighs about 60 tons? Ah, the joys of research. Apparently it’s some sort of cosmic foam that’s not exactly low mass.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.