Best Headphones & Earbuds for Skiing in 2023
Few things in life match the rush of hitting the slopes and speeding down the hill with your favorite tunes ringing in your ears. Also compelling? The serenity of nature during a chill cross-country ski session, especially as noise-canceling headphones provide even more peace. Either experience can take a step up when equipped with the right headphones or earbuds.
The tricky part? Sorting through so many headphone brands and models to determine which will accommodate both high-energy shred sessions and slower-paced outings. Thankfully there are plenty of fantastic wireless headphones available at every price point, plus resources to help you make the leap and invest in your own pair.
Below, we've highlighted some of the best, which boast excellent sound quality, hours of battery life, and sweat-resistant technology that will keep them safe from the hazards of winter. We will also reveal how custom audio skins and wraps can provide both the protection and personalization you crave.
Factors to Consider When Buying
Athletic-oriented headphones must be rugged enough to handle strenuous activities — but without sacrificing audio quality, battery life, or ease-of-use features. When shopping for headphones, there are several factors that must be considered:
- Sound quality: Skiers will probably be too busy staying upright to notice if their headphones don’t have studio-quality sound. But they will notice if their favorite music sounds washed out, high-pitched, or otherwise lacking.
- Durability. Some ski enthusiasts are accustomed to going head over heels after a nasty spill. If falls are likely, it's important to emphasize build quality and construction over other factors. Audio accessories like skins or wraps can help, but nothing beats headphones that are designed with durability at the forefront.
- Comfort and fit. High-quality headphones should fit perfectly, regardless of what helmet the user wears or whether ski outings call for goggles. Comfort is key when hitting the slopes or the trail, but when this is lacking, an otherwise exciting adventure can feel like a burden.
- Connectivity options. Bluetooth connectivity is the norm these days. Hands-free operation should be standard for the best ski helmet headphones. This is true even with several low-cost models.
- Battery life. This is perhaps the area with the most wiggle room, as some people only head out for an hour or two at a time. Some snowboarding and ski sessions may require headphones with hours of battery life.
- Weather resistance. Not all headphones have what it takes to stand up to the cold or, worse, precipitation. Hardcore headphones will remain functional in any weather situation.
Our Top Picks
Now that we've provided a basic overview of elements that play into quality headphones, it's time to dive into details. Below, we've highlighted a few of the best options for skiing in 2023:
Arguably the most popular earbuds in the world, Apple’s AirPods are a solid option for skiing and snowboarding. Ideally, they will be covered with a headband or other form of ear protection. Should the tiny, white buds pop out into a snow bank, it may be impossible to find them until spring — unless they are decked out in vibrant audio skins or wraps. With the AirPods, water-resistance is solid, as is, of course, the sound quality. At $99, these represent one of the best budget options.
Bose SoundSport Wireless Earbuds
Bose is known for great sound, so it should come as no surprise that the SoundSport earbuds deliver this in spades. The around-the-neck cord may not be ideal for all users, but it guarantees that these headphones will be easy to find if dropped in the snow. Again, however, Bose SoundSport skins and wraps are best for delivering peace of mind. These earbuds are available for about $180, which, for some, might seem like a steep price. Still, audiophiles who prize clear sound over anything else should keep these in mind.
JBL Tune Flex
Another fantastic option for snowboarding on a budget, JBL’s True Flex buds don’t excel in any one category but are solid all-around. The sound quality is decent enough to jam out on the slopes. With about eight hours of battery life and a snug fit for just $50, JBL has put together a compelling set of earphones for the budget skier or snowboarder.
Skullcandy Indy Evo True Wireless
Not to be outdone by JBL, Skullcandy comes in at an even lower price with the Indy Evo earbuds. Routinely on sale for $29, these are not the fanciest earbuds around, but they get the job done. They sport some unexpected features like voice assistant compatibility and crisp sound, so for many users, the Indy Evo earbuds are quite a steal.
Wildhorn Alta Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Designed for Wildhorn snowboarding helmets, these slickly designed headphones offer a wealth of hands-free features along with hours of playtime and high-quality sound. The only drawback? They really aren’t practical for use outside of skiing or snowboarding. Hardcore outdoor enthusiasts will be happy to spend $100 for these, but otherwise, it's best to look elsewhere for a more versatile model.
Unigear Bombing Ski Helmet Speakers
While not technically classified as headphones, Unigear’s fantastic ski helmet speakers should still be considered by serious skiing and snowboarding fans looking to enjoy some tunes. Perks include Siri voice assistant compatibility and glove-friendly controls. The price is also decent, given the quality: $79 for in-helmet speakers.
JZAQ Helmet Bluetooth Headset
JZAQ doesn’t have the same name recognition as Apple, Bose, or JBL, but notoriety and quality are not one and the same. This headset is impressive because it packs ultra-long battery life (almost fifty hours), IPX7 waterproof technology, and ultra-loud sound into a package that retails for under $30. The only compromise comes in the design, as it’s similar to other headsets made exclusively for use in helmets.
How to Use Headphones While Skiing
Skiing while listening to music can be a treat, but it’s not without challenges. Many users want to answer calls or skip songs, but not every headset can do that. Safety concerns should also be kept in mind, as big and bulky headphones could be an issue during an unexpected spill or crash.
Motorcycle helmet speakers (and those that specialize in providing ear-blasting volume) should be used in moderation. Not only is high decibel volume bad for the ears, but it can also block out important sounds in the environment — such as other skiers or snowboarders looking to avoid a collision.
How to Care for Skiing Headphones
After an intense session out on the slopes, it’s important to clean and care for earbuds or in-helmet speakers. Break out the cotton swabs and remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. Follow with a microfiber cloth and a dab of hydrogen peroxide.
Storing and charging headphones is also a must after they’ve been out in the cold. Keeping them in the trunk of a car or in a gear bag will quickly lead to a drained battery. Most earbuds include a charging case that can bring them back to full battery life in no time.
To add an extra layer of protection and some slick personalization, opt for a custom audio skin from Mighty Skins. These can help make your gear stand out from the crowd and will also ensure that earbuds are quickly located if they end up in a snowbank.
Protect Your Headphones with MightySkins
Regardless of your budget or activity level, there’s a pair of earbuds, headphones, or helmet speakers perfect for you. These will be even more enjoyable if they're decked out in the skins or wraps from MightySkins. Customizing is half the fun, so use the Create Your Own tool to add a little flair. Learn more about these and other exciting products.