Good day! A week or two ago I promised to help choose the proper goggles and lenses to get the most from your time on the Mountain. Here goes…

Goggles are a very important piece of equipment and shouldn’t be under-valued. After all, being able to see is fairly important. As a person who has suffered through burnt corneas from skiing in the extreme cold without the proper eyewear, goggles will also offer basic protection from both the wind and cold. Beyond these basic features, choosing the right goggle and lens can get rather technical.

Let’s first look at the different types of lenses; (1) cylindrical lenses and (2) spherical lenses. If budget is the name of the game for you, you are looking for cylindrical lenses. Cylindrical lenses curve horizontally yet not vertically. These lenses offer a lower price point while offering overall decent performance.
Spherical lenses curve both horizontally and vertically, providing a bubble look to the goggles. Spherical lenses offer a number of advantages over cylindrical lenses; such as, greater surface area improves peripheral vision, additional curving also reduces goggle glare and distortion, and because the goggles are further removed from your face and the cold temperatures, spherical lenses tend to fog up less, a common frustration among snow sport participants.

Now we’ll move on to lens colour and tints. Most manufactures will produce a goggle lens suitable for a wide range of winter weather conditions. But let’s say it is snowing out, foggy, overcast or even night skiing. These conditions are all considered low-light conditions and would be best met with a yellow, rose, or even blue lens. On days the sun is beaming on the mountain, your preference should be a lens focused on keeping the light out, such as black, grey, even gold, and often have mirrored lenses.

Realistically, how many goggles should you own? Do you really need a pair for each weather condition? Not exactly – if you are a fair-weather skier/rider, generally out on sunny days, you would probably be fine with one pair of goggles with a darker lens. However, if you are a serious mountain participant, one pair might not cut it, unless of course you invest in a pair with multiple lenses you are able to swap in and out. Interchangeable lens systems can be more expensive, as convenience typically comes at a higher price. But this price may well be worth it, when you consider the alternative is carrying around a second pair of goggles, adding to the bulk you are carrying.

As the saying goes and I’ve said it before, “you get what you pay for”, goggles are no different. Manufacturers will apply additional features, improving their overall quality. The majority of lenses will provide UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays. The higher the elevation you are conquering, the more intense the sun and the greater need for quality UV protection. Double lenses and anti-fog coatings reduce the goggle’s tendency to fog up on you; mirrored lenses and polarized lenses reflect light and reduce glare and thus increase visibility. And finally something to consider is ventilation. The majority of goggles have some sort of ventilation built in. Sometimes over-looked is making sure your goggles and helmet are a compatible pair, meaning your helmet does not interfere with the ventilation of your goggles.

So as you see, there are many factors to be considered when purchasing a new set of goggles, and not just whether they match your helmet and outfit. I suppose it would be nice of me to share with you some popular brands; Scott, Giro, K2, Smith, Oakley, and more.

That concludes today’s tutorial - With any luck, you now know a little more than you did before reading this ;-)

As Submitted to the Kings County Record

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