How To Buy Ski and Snowboard Goggles
Goggles serve several purposes. They keep the rain and snow out of your eyes while boarding, they protect you from getting frozen lashes or dried out eyes, they may block harmful UV rays, they can protect your eyes from tree branches or debris in the snow and, depending on the lens type, either reduce light or increase light contrast.
When buying goggles there are several things you need to consider. This guide will help you find the goggles that are right for you.
• Bring whatever headgear you wear on the hill to the shop with you. Whether it is a helmet, beanie or mask, you want to make sure your goggles will fit comfortably with it.
• Try on the goggles properly. Most helmets are made for goggles to go around the outside or fit underneath, but not all goggle shapes are accommodating to every helmet. The fit is NOT universal so try before you buy.
• Make sure the goggle fits your face. Some companies make special goggles for different faces. For example, Asian-appropriate goggles have extra foam to accommodate a smaller nose bridge.
• Make sure there are no gaps and that the goggles allow air flow.
• Be sure everything fits comfortably and works well. Remember, you may be wearing this setup for hours at a time. If something is uncomfortable after 5 minutes, it will not be good for a full day of boarding.
• Goggles should be flexible, but strong. Cheap and flimsy goggles won’t survive an impact, but overly rigid goggles will not conform well to your face.
• Make sure the goggles are in good shape. All the foam should be attached and not coming off of the frame.
• Double lenses prevent fogging and create a thermal barrier to keep you warm.
• Cylindrical double lenses provide good optics for a reasonable price.
• Spherical double lenses provide superior optics and fog-free vision.
• Polycarbonate lens material is generally the most durable.
• Look for an anti-scratch/anti-fog coating on the lenses.
• Always store your goggles in their protective pouch.
• Clean the outside of your goggle lenses with fresh water or lens cleaner and a soft cloth.
• Never wipe the inside of your goggle lenses; it can affect the anti-fog coating. If you get snow or ice inside your goggles, shake them out to remove the snow, then put them back on and keep riding. As you ride, the lenses will air-dry
• To keep your goggles from fogging, keep them on your face. There is a dynamic balance between the cold dry air outside your goggles and the warm moist air inside, managed by the thermal barrier that the double lens creates. When you take the goggles off your head while waiting in line or on the lift, they will likely fog up when you put them back on. The best way to get rid of this minor fog is to keep riding; the airflow will dissipate the moisture
A mirror coating on the lens won't affect the color through which you are looking. For example, a pink lens may have a silver or blue mirror coating, but it is still a pink lens and will filter light accordingly.
– Clear lenses are best for extremely stormy conditions or night time boarding. They serve very little purpose during the day.
• Lemon (yellow)
– Yellow lenses are best for stormy conditions and overcast days. They increase contrast and brighten the landscape. They will work at night as well.
• Vermillon (pink, rose)
– Pink lenses increase contrast as well and will be good for overcast and stormy conditions. They also work at night. Pink lenses with a silver mirror are the best all-around lens you can find. They will work in almost any condition.
• Citrus (orange, persimmon)
– Orange lenses increase contrast, but work better on bright days. An orange lens with a dark mirror is a good choice for daytime riding or when the conditions are brightest.
• Bronze (brown, amber)
– Brown lenses are a good all-around lens choice. While they will increase contrast to an extent, they primarily block light. They are not recommended for night riding.
– Purple lenses are best in low-light conditions and overcast days, but not night riding. They darken shadows, but do not brighten light areas. Instead, they highlight the contours of bright spots.
• Black (jet, gray, smoke)
– These are the darkest of lenses. With a mirror, they are good for bright conditions. They do not alter color so they will not change contrast. For this reason, they are not recommended for night riding.
• Modulator or photochromic lenses change from a light pink/orange to a dark pink/orange depending upon the light conditions. They are a very light, high-contrast color for stormy weather and dark enough for the brightest days
• Polarized goggle lenses can cut the glare that reflects from snow or ice
You can find a great list of the color spectrum used in goggles here.
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