“Adventure Gear Insider is reader supported. We may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase through links from this site. We get nothing if you don't like what we recommend and return it. Learn more

Smith Survey MIPS Ski Helmet with Visor – Test and Review

Sharing is caring!

Updated April 9th, 2024

Smith Survey MIPS review

Manufacturer and Model: Smith Survey MIPS
List Price: $320-$350


Summary

Helmet and visor combos are a new trend to hit the skiing world in the last few years. They offer a sleek integrated look. They are a better option than OTG goggles for many people that need to wear prescription glasses while skiing. The Smith Optics Survey MIPS is their helmet visor offering. It has chromopop lens technology along with Koroyd energy absorber. It works well for most skiing conditions. It does have a few weak spots such as sealing around the side of the lens.

What we liked:

  • Good field of view
  • Photochromic lens works well in most light conditions
  • Comfortable helmet and visor without much ear or nose pressure
  • Easy to wear with glasses
  • Very good ventilation to keep the lens and glasses fog free

What we didn’t like:

  • The side corners of the lens aren’t sealed against your face leading to the following 2 problems
  • Snow accumulates inside the lens during heavy snowfall and winds
  • Snow can fill up the lens if you fall in deep snow

Smith survey MIPS product image

Specifications

  • Lens Type – Birds Eye View Hybrid Cylindrical/Toric
  • Fit – Medium
  • Included Lens – 2
  • Interchangable Lens – Magnets & latches
  • Accessories – Hard case, goggle sock, microfiber bag

Smith Survey MIPS helmet and visor review and test

I have a friend who skis with a Giro Vue helmet and visor and swears by it. I have been curious to try one out since hearing all the good things about it. They are lighter weight than a separate helmet and goggle. They have better ventilation. They fit better over glasses if you need to wear OTG goggles. They have kind of a cool futuristic look if you want to look different on the slopes.

The downside is that the visor is big. It’s not convenient to carry extras with you in a coat pocket. When the light goes flat you are stuck with a daylight lens or vice versa. The lens doesn’t seal as well against your face.

Smith Optics provided us with a Survey MIPS to try out. We chose the photochromic visor option. We have skied with the I/O Mag and 4D Mag with photochromic lenses and like them a lot. They solve the problem of not being able to carry extra visors around. This is the lens we would recommend for anyone buying a helmet/visor combo.

Survey MIPS side view

1 – Price

The Smith Survey MIPS retails for $260. You can get it directly from Smith Optics or many outdoor retailers such as evo, Backcountry, Curated, and Amazon.

2 – Peripheral vision

The Survey has above average field of view. I can just barely see the bottom and sides of the lens while wearing it. It’s not quite as good as a Smith 4D Mag but it’s close.

3 – Smith Survey MIPS lens technology

The lenses of the Survey MIPS are what really make the goggles special. Let’s talk about the tech going into them.

Chromapop Lens – All the available lenses utilize Chromapop technology. This allows for better clarity and color refraction letting you see better. It works by filtering colors between blue and green and red and green. Your eyes naturally have a difficult time differentiating these wavelengths. Lenses are available in a variety of colors, finishes, and VLTs. Photochromic lenses are available as well.

4 – Available lens VLT range

The Survey MIPS has several available lenses.

  • 13% VLT Sun Platinum lens good for bright conditions.
  • 23-25% VLT Everyday red and green mirror lenses. These are good for partly cloudy, sunny, or slightly overcast conditions.
  • Photochromic Rose Flash lens with a VLT range of 30-50%
  • 89% Clear lens

5 – UV Protection

All Smith Optics ski goggles offer 100% UV protection from harmful UV rays.

Survey MIPS bright day

6 – Smith Survey Visor Frame

The Survey visor is designed to look more like a regular goggle lens than some of the other helmet and visor combos such as the Giro Vue. The lens is about the same size and shape as a Smith I/O Mag lens. The sides taper down after the lens. This makes it look more normal. This is also the biggest flaw in the Survey MIPS design.

The sides of the visor lens do not have any foam to seal them to your face. Our first ski day with the Survey was a high wind heavy snowfall day. Wind blowing across the helmet will blow snow into the visor and it accumulates along the bottom of the lens.

I took one good fall after hitting some wind ridges in the snow and taking some unintended air. The entire visor filled up with snow on the inside when I hit the snow.

Survey MIPS snowy day
Survey MIPS visor up

7 – Flat Light Performance

When the Survey lens was clear without snow inside it, the flat light performance was excellent. We have used a couple of goggles now with the Smith 30-50% photochromic lens. It’s one of our favorite flat light lenses on any goggle we have tried it with.

8 – Anti Fog Performance

We never had any fogging on the lens at all even with snow collecting in the bottom of the lens. There is really good airflow into and out of the visor which keeps it fog free even with a ton of moisture build up inside.

9 – Swappable visors

The visor on the Survey can be swapped by loosening 1 screw on each side of the helmet. You can do it with a coin or fingernail depending on how tight it is. It takes a couple of minutes to loosen the 2 screws and tighten them with the new visor. The visors are much larger than a regular goggle lens. They aren’t convenient to carry extras in your jacket pocket. This is why we recommend the photochromic lens option if you buy a Survey.

Survey MIPS lens off

10 – OTG Compatible

My friend who always skis with glasses on swears by the helmet visor combo since trying one. The Survey MIPS is OTG compatible. I have tried it while wearing my glasses. The visor lens easily flips up and down over my glasses. It has a lot of ventilation and does a good job of staying fog free and keeping your glasses fog free. My only real big complaint with it is that on heavy snow days, snow gets blown in the sides and accumulates inside the lens.

11 – Survey Helmet Features

The Survey helmet is roughly the equivalent of a Smith Mission MIPS helmet. It has MIPS as a standard feature.

The helmet is wide and comfortable. The size large Survey feels similar to a size large Mission. It feels larger than a Size XL Vantage which run small. I like how the helmet feels while wearing it.

Adjustable Vents

The helmet has adjustable vents with a single slider on the top rear of the helmet. The helmet has plenty of ventilation for cold up to warm days resort skiing.

Survey MIPS vents

Koroyd Energy Absorber

Smith replaces some of the EPP foam with Koroyd plastic honeycomb. Koroyd offers better energy absorption at lighter weights than EPP foam. They can also vent the helmet through the honeycomb which means they don’t need to cut large holes into the EPP foam for vents like a conventional helmet.

Audio compatible ear pads

The Survey helmet has audio compatible ear pads. There is a zipper pocket along the bottom of the ear pads that goes around the back of the helmet so you can install wireless speakers. The zipper is a bit stiff like most Smith helmets but it works.

See our guide to the best ski helmet speakers to learn more.

Removable lining

The helmet has a removable lining that you can take out for cleaning and drying off.

Survey MIPS liner

12 – Visor sock and helmet bag

The Survery MIPS comes with both a helmet bag and a visor sock. The visor sock covers the lens and keeps it protected when you’re walking around and unloading and loading your car. It’s a nice added accessory that will keep your visor scratch free for longer.

Survey MIPS visor sock
Survey MIPS helmet bag
Smith Survey MIPS helmet and visor
Smith survey MIPS product image

See Best Deals!

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

I like wearing the Survey MIPS in any condition except heavy snow and wind. I hate wearing it in those conditions because snow gets into the lens and builds up. If you avoid skiing in blizzard like conditions then the Smith Survey MIPS is a good helmet and visor. If you like skiing in any weather condition including white outs then you should look for something else.

Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.

ryan@lowbudgetadventurer.com

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment