When purchasing equipment for the slopes, ski goggles are one of your most important purchases. Having appropriate clothing is certainly key, but if you are unable to see properly, your day of skiing can be devastated. Goggles, whether for skiing or snowboarding, protect your eyes from natural elements such as UV rays from sunlight, cold air and pelting snow.
When choosing ski goggles, you should consider your comfort, how well they fit, and the right amount of tint for various weather conditions. While some skiers would rather choose a single pair of goggles for all situations, the more avid skiers collect a number of goggles to use for specific conditions.
If you’ve ever visited a ski shop you know that there is a plethora of goggle colors available for purchase and it can be confusing to know which google is right for you. Though it may seem that they are used as an accessory or for a fashion statement, the array of lens colors actually serve different purposes. It is my hope that the following guide will aid you in choosing the best lenses to ensure your days are fun-filled regardless of the weather that Mother Nature may have in store!
When choosing ski goggles, it is important to note that there are only two types available. The first, cylindrical or flat lenses, curve horizontally but vertically, they remain flat. Of the two lens types, these tend to be less costly, but still offer decent protection. The second type is the spherical lens. Unlike the cylindrical lens, these curve horizontally and vertically so that they fit better around a skiers face and appears more rounded. Although both lens types provide the necessary eye protection, spherical lenses tend to allow increased peripheral vision because of their large viewing area. Additionally, they aid in reducing glare and distortion that cannot be avoided with cylindrical lenses, and because of added insulation and ventilation, they do not fog the way cylindrical lenses tend to do.
Besides these basic lens types, a buyer may choose to look for lenses with a number of added and/or customizable features. These include, but are not limited to anti-fog coatings, which help to further deter the potential of fogging; double lenses, which provide a more thermal fog barrier; or vents at the top, bottom, sides, or all three areas. Some goggles even come equipped with fans that are battery operated. These can be adjusted based on environment or if the user is active or sedentary at any given time.
As indicated above, some skiers prefer one common set of goggles. Most skiers opt for ski goggles with yellow lenses, as they are the most universal color and can be suitable for multiple scenarios. These, along with the family of orange lenses, which include amber and gold, are considered warm colors. They tend to improve contrast and intensify sharpness or clarity. This enables the user to get a better view of icy or bare patches, bumps, or other flaws in the terrain that could potentially be hazardous. This clarity is created because yellow lenses tend to suppress blue light, which increases precision and reflectivity, especially on foggier days. By masking blue light, glare is reduced, which leads to less eye strain and better focus. In general, goggles with yellow lenses, or those in the orange family, work quite well on both sunny and foggy days. However, there are better choices for those who desire the best skiing experience possible.
Blue Lens Goggles
Ski goggles with blue lenses are made to be worn where there is low or very little light. These have many of the same qualities as those in the yellow and orange family, however, it is more unambiguous. For those skiers with reduced red/green discernment, which is the broadest form of color blindness, and a number of individuals suffering from this ailment, tend to select blue tint lenses based on their individual color and light perceptions. On the whole, ski goggles with blue lenses, especially when combined with other colors, such as browns, coppers, and bronzes, dramatically decrease glare, and are a favorite of skiers who like the snow, itself to be more pronounced.
Like blue lens goggles, goggles with mirrored lenses, as well as polarized lenses, aid in reducing ultraviolet glare. In addition to this feature, however, these lenses offer increased amounts of ultraviolet protection. Where this protection is always beneficial, it is especially necessary when skiing in mountainous areas where the sunlight is reflected in unique and unanticipated ways, and where snow, ice and water can be easily camouflaged by the sunlight. These mirrored lens goggles are also a popular choice of skiers due to the fact that they can hide prescription glasses when fitted and worn correctly.
Replaceable Lens Goggles
Ski goggles with replacement lenses or interchangeable lenses are the best choice for those skiers that want the option of utilizing multiple lens colors for various light and weather conditions, but would like to keep the same frame. These goggles allow wearers to use a variety of colors and lens types, but as a rule, the yellow, orange, blue and darker hues tend to work well in varied light conditions, while clear lenses are more appropriate for nighttime usage. Replacement lens goggles allow a skier to quickly change lens throughout the day or evening according to weather, slope, and light conditions.
Ready to Purchase?
When shopping for ski goggles, know that your local ski shop, favorite online store or sporting goods store will have a wide variety of lenses and optimizations from which to choose. They will also have trained associates who will be able to assist you in your selection. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or take the amount of time you need to make an informed decision. Not only does your choice of goggles have an effect on your overall enjoyment, but more importantly, it effects your overall safety. This should be your main priority while skiing.