Choosing a Pair of Goggles for Skiing and Snowboarding

You might feel cool skiing in sunglasses, but you could be endangering yourself. Because you sweat when you ski and this sweat can collect as condensation on your glasses, you can seriously impair your vision. Not a good thing when you are coasting down a mountain at high speeds with other people and trees around.

Fortunately, optics makers like Smith, Scott and Electric make goggles that both help prevent snow blindness and do not fog up like regular sunglasses. Here are factors to consider when picking a pair:

1.) Ventilation
It’s important that ski goggles allow the water vapor from your sweat to escape. You will often see vents on the front and top of your goggles to facilitate this. Smith also makes a ventilated helmet which further prevents this condensation from collecting in your goggles.

2.) Lens Shape
As light passes through another medium (like a lens), it refracts, causing distortion. Many ski goggle makers curve the glass slightly in a spherical fashion to prevent this distortion. These goggles will cost more, but will allow you to see more clearly on the slopes.

3.) Durability
Just like any pair of glasses you put on, ski goggles can scratch. If you ski or board a lot or are rough with your gear, look for a pair with hard coating.

4.) Helmet Compatibility
Do you like wearing your goggles outside of your helmet instead of inside? Some goggles are meant to fit around a helmet.

5.) Size
Spy offers goggles for people with smaller faces. Kids should also not wear goggles meant for adults as they will fit much too loosely. If you wear glasses, be sure your goggles fit over them. You also want to make sure the strap will fit comfortably on your head.

6.) Lens Color
All About Vision has this great guide for choosing a lens color:
* In low light and fog, yellow, gold and amber lenses filter out blue light, emphasizing shadows in the snow so you can see bumps better. They also work well in moderate light.
* Rose lenses are excellent on low-light gray days. And they’re fun to wear.
* In bright light, dark tints (especially green) will keep your eyes more comfortable.
* Polarized lenses block reflected glare off the horizontal plane and are great when it’s bright out. But they may not be ideal near the end of the day when long shadows appear in the snow, because they are usually made with a darker tint than most sun lenses.
* Mirror (or “flash”) coatings will block some, but not a lot of glare. They are usually more of a cosmetic than a practical feature.
* For night riding and skiing, use only clear lenses.

Remember, the reflection of the sun on the snow is fierce. Always make sure to protect your eyes from UV rays while you are on the slopes.