K2 Virtue Helmet with Audio Review
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K2 Skis makes helmets; great helmets. If you’re a gear head who loves riding to your own soundtrack, you’ll love the K2 Virtue helmet. I’ve been testing this helmet and it’s audio integration. I think it’s a sharp piece of apparel/gear. Everyone should wear a helmet, but I know that a lot of people don’t because helmets can be ugly, bulky or heavy. I can sympathize with all of that. For a while helmets were really geared towards ski racers or they were at the complete opposite end of the spectrum and had very skate-inspired designs. It took awhile for companies to start meeting in the middle to produce stylish, performance options like the K2 Virtue helmet.
K2 Virtue Helmet Fit
I have a laundry list of things I look for in a helmet; warmth, ventilation, light weight, low profile design, but most importantly—fit. Can I wear this all day in place of a beanie and still be comfortable? I highly encourage people to try on helmets before they buy them, every design is so different.
Generally I wear a medium size helmet but to be completely honest I have have a lot of hair that can skew me into a bigger size. A medium in most helmets is a pretty snug fit for me and the K2 Virtue is the same. If you’re on the fence between medium and large, you might want to go big or at least try it on before you buy as there is no extra padding in the Virtue that can be removed to make more room for a big head. I found this out because I probably should have been wearing a size up. I had mild pressure points around my temples even when I loosened the 360 K2dialed Fit system as much as I could.
The compatibility of the K2 Virtue helmet with K2’s Captura Pro googles was seamless. The two matched perfectly leaving zero gap so I experienced no wind inducing brain freeze. In general I like having the small brim on the helmet to deflect snow from sitting on the top of my goggles (and eventually melting into my eyes) so the brim on the K2 Virtue helmet was a plus.
This helmet is very light weight (430g). You will forget you’re wearing it which is always a great litmus test for snow gear.
The K2 Virtue Helmet is in its next generation of their K2dialed Fit System. The 360 K2dialed fit is similar to a Boa system which adjusts the fit of the helmet to your head with a web design that is integrated into the textile liner. This creates a customized fit for your head with easy one-hand adjustments you can even make on the lift in mittens.
The K2 Virtue Helmet feature’s a Dual Active Matrix Venting system which consists of two separate venting options; one at the front and one on the crown of your head. I mainly used the crown vent for general riding and only opened the front vent when the sun started beating down on me while I was riding the lift.
Virtue Helmet Sound System
K2 uses Level 3 Baseline Audio in their helmets. The earphones are built into the ear flaps on the K2 Virtue helmet so even if you’re not listening to music you won’t have to dork around with removing the audio inserts. If you start your day with a group and then transition to some solo turns you just have to plug into the auxiliary near the back of the helmet.
The sound quality on the K2 Virtue helmet is pretty exceptional. Because the audio is part of the helmet’s design the sounds is concentrated in the right areas and audio inserts firmly in place. A fall will not impair your sounds effects. The clarity of the sounds is pretty incredible, along with your ability to take a call while wearing the helmet (but try to avoid doing that on the lift around other people—it is not appreciated).
Final Thoughts on the K2 Virtue Helmet
The K2 Virtue Helmet meets most of my needs except for the slight pressure I felt on my temples—should have gone up a size bigger. The audio integration through the ear flaps is awesome and I really think this is the way to go if tunes are part of your riding ritual.
In short, the K2 Virtue will make a beanie wearing snowboarder or skier into a helmet convert. The K2 Virtue helmet comes in black or white. For more information or to purchase check out www.backcountry.com or www.amazon.com/k2 and enjoy the ride.