HomeTactical & SurvivalSki Helmet for Any Temp: Anon Merak WaveCel Review

Ski Helmet for Any Temp: Anon Merak WaveCel Review

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Unless you ski or snowboard only on mild-temperature days, a helmet with an adaptable ventilation system is a must. The Anon Merak WaveCel ski and snowboard helmet has a venting system with 19 total vents and features that keep you at a comfortable temperature no matter the conditions — think cushy, wind-blocking ear pads, a one-handed buckle, and superb breathability.

Plus, the Merak has Anon’s WaveCel technology, which helps with shock absorption and protects against rotational impacts. Although I didn’t crash-test the Merak, it did fare well on multiple days of riding at Colorado resorts in various weather conditions.

In short: The Anon Merak WaveCel ($320) is a ski and snowboard helmet with all the details you need to stay comfortable in a myriad of conditions on the mountain, including adjustable vents, a buckle that works with mittens, and a small brim for goggle compatibility. It is a pricey helmet but extremely versatile with 19 vents.

Also, check out our GearJunkie Ski Helmets buyer’s guide to see our top picks for this category.

  • Weight
    16.9 ounces
  • Protection
    WaveCel
  • Number of vents
    19 total; 8 adjustable
  • Features
    Fidlock magnetic buckle, dial-fit system, fleece liner
  • Size range
    S to XL

  • Good ventilation system

  • Easy-to-use Fidlock magnetic buckle

  • Ear pads are very easy to remove


  • Runs small

  • Poor goggle retainer clip

Anon Merak WaveCel Helmet Review

When I first tried on this helmet, I could tell that it was more than just a basic helmet with good protection. It has a sleek yet detailed design and design details that are easy to use. The helmet feels good when trying it on before heading out on the slopes.

To test the Merak, I wore it for a few days this season in various conditions. It was windy and cold at Eldora Mountain Ski Resort, mild temps with light snow at Copper Mountain, and warm spring conditions at Breckinridge Resort. At the end of the season, I was sold on this helmet as an all-around top choice for various conditions and all-day comfort.

I had yet to visibly see an Anon helmet with the brand’s WaveCel safety technology, but it’s fully visible on the Anon Merak. It looks similar to Koroyd technology in that you can see it inside the helmet. The material is a bright green material with a wavy texture, and it feels like hard plastic that is stiff to the touch (no, you can’t feel it on your scalp when you put on the helmet).

Anon explains WaveCel as hundreds of interconnected shock absorbers that aim to reduce direct impact forces and rotational forces. I (thankfully) didn’t have any hard landings with head bonks. But the construction of the WaveCel in conjunction with the hybrid shell (Endura-shell and in-mold shell) does make the helmet seem pretty solid.

I did drop the helmet on concrete, and though it got a few small marks, there were no major dents or dings. The Merak meets the CE 1077B and ASTM 2040 impact-rating standards, which are the European and American standards for recreational snow sports helmets, respectively.

Fit and Feel

When in hand, the helmet feels heavy and clunky. While riding, it didn’t feel heavy necessarily, but did feel just the slightest bit cumbersome when looking uphill or turning my head a lot while cruising through tight trees.

Surprisingly, it’s on the lighter to medium side as far as helmets go — 16.9 ounces — as most others we have tested weigh 17 ounces or more.

I had no pressure points or headaches when wearing it for the entire day. Instead, it felt more comfortable than other Anon helmets I have tested in the past.

The quick-drying fleece liner isn’t super-soft. But it does offer a lightweight, thin pad that protects your head from wires or other plastic parts poking through when you need to use the dial-fit system to tighten the fit.

I wore the Merak with the Anon M4S goggles and the Anon MFI face mask, which attaches to the bottom of the goggles via an integrated magnetic strip. Although I absolutely love the MFI facemasks and MFI Fleece Helmet Hoods (you get complete face coverage, which makes blizzards and windy days seem like no big deal), I did find that my goggles fogged up on days that it was snowing.

So, although the Anon goggles fit seamlessly with the Anon helmet and hood, the goggles were not my favorite. Thankfully, the helmet still fits smoothly with three other goggles I tested with the helmet: the Smith Squad Mag, Giro Article II, and Zeal Cloudfall. I found that the Merak was best paired with the Zeal goggles.

There is a small brim on Merak, so that was helpful to get a snug fit with various goggles. Regardless of the frame I chose, I didn’t experience a gap between the top of the goggles and the bottom of the helmet.

Warmth and Breathability

With plenty of vents, the Merak is a versatile helmet for any condition. There are two vents on the front, five on the back, two on each side, and eight on top that are adjustable.

The vents are integrated into the helmet’s design and style for a clean but detailed look. With 19 vents in total, I felt comfortable no matter the conditions.

If I was working hard or it was 30 degrees and sunny, I easily opened the vents without taking the helmet off or removing my mittens. If it was starting to snow and get windy, the closed vents kept my head warm while airflow, and thus breathability, were still possible with the other open vents.

The ear pads are very cushioned, though the fleece is not the softest. I didn’t find hearing to be a problem on the slopes, but it was noticeably hindered when wearing the helmet and chatting with friends during a break inside.

When doing an additional indoors test for wind with a blow dryer, I could feel no wind coming through the two front vents and just the slightest near my earlobes.

Details and Ease of Use

The Merak is an expensive helmet, but it has design details that make it easy to use even with mittens on. It has a Fidlock magnetic buckle and a grippy BOA dial for changing the internal fit harness. There’s an effortless slide on the top of the helmet that opens or closes the top eight vents.

I was able to operate the entire helmet while wearing the women’s Baist Mitt, a thicker mitten. The buckle and fit-dial were easy to use with mittens on. The slide tab on top for the vents was a little small to operate, but once I found it, the slider easily moved.

The goggle retainer isn’t great: It’s a hard clip with a slender opening at the bottom. When I secured the goggles and shook the helmet a few times to see how quickly they flew off, they went flying after two shakes. A rigid clip also makes it difficult to attach a goggle like the Smith Squad Mag, which connects in the back with a large plastic buckle right where the retainer clip is.

The ear pads are easy to remove and reinsert and are compatible with audio accessories.

Critiques

Overall, the main complaint with the Merak is its price. There are other helmets on the market that have similar protective technology and the same features but are less than $300.

One thing to note about sizing is that WaveCel helmets run a bit small, so choose the larger option if you are between sizes.

Conclusion

The Anon Merak WaveCel ski and snowboard helmet provides top-tier safety technology and all the bells and whistles you want in your go-to helmet for the season. It uses WaveCel technology, which comprises small shock absorbers to protect your head from direct and rotational impacts. 

In addition to top safety protection, the Merak’s design details are first-rate. That resume includes eight adjustable vents (plus 11 more fixed vents) to tailor warmth and breathability for any condition. I really appreciate the BOA Fit System, which ensures a secure fit around my head. You definitely pay for the quality and WaveCel tech at $320 — but the comfort won’t disappoint.

We tested the best backcountry skis of 2024 with options for every budget. Top picks include Voile, Black Crows, Scott, and more!

For the 2024/25 ski season, Nordica is updating two of its most popular all-mountain skis — the Enforcer and the Santa Ana. Now, they’re more playful, powerful, and versatile than ever.



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