How to Choose Snow and Ski Goggles
The right pair of goggles will eliminate glare and provide excellent eye and face protection for any rider during various weather conditions.
On clear days, goggles can cut the harsh glare caused by the reflection of the sun off of snow and ice and provide a barrier against dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays. In inclement weather, they can block sleet, snow and biting winds from pelting the sensitive eye area of your face and causing you to squint.
Ultraviolet (UV) Protection and Safety Standards:
Skiers and riders are especially at risk to UV rays. The wide expanse of snow that blankets the slopes provides the perfect reflecting board for UV rays to do damage to your eyes.
It's important to choose a pair of goggles that block out 100% of UV rays and to wear your pair in all types of lighting conditions.
If goggles are listed as passing the ANSI Z87.1 Impact Standard Test, the goggles will have completed and passed an impact test where a 1" diameter ball is dropped from 50" onto the front of the goggles. This is a commonly used test in ensuring maximum safety while on the slopes.
There are a few attributes to consider when purchasing a pair of skiing or snowboarding goggles: the first, lens shape—cylindrical or spherical.
- Lens curves from left-to-right across your face
- Lens surface is vertically flat
- Lower in price, but flatness can sometimes cause unwanted glare in brighter weather conditions
- Lens curves from left-to-right both horizontally and vertically across your face
- Better peripheral vision, less distortion and less glare than flat lenses but often higher prices
- Snow sport eyewear equipment is constructed with polycarbonate lenses
- Lighter weight material than glass allowing for a more comfortable fit
- Coating on goggles that is suited for back-woods terrain and high-brush areas
- Prevents scratching and increases longevity of the equipment
Visible Light Transmission (VLT)
- Low VLT number will mean less eye fatigue on sunny days
- High VLT number means better color and depth perception on low-lighting conditions
- Reduces glare in bright light
- Allows you to switch lens types during different weather conditions
- Convenient and easy-to-use; you won't have to purchase another pair of goggles for various weather conditions, rather just different lenses
Fogging can be anything from an annoyance to a serious safety hazard that can obscure your vision. Manufacturers are continually creating new strategies to help prevent fogging. Here is a list of some common anti-fogging technologies available:
- Higher-end goggles will have small, built-in fans to circulate air through the goggles and prevent fogging
- Wider vents allow for better air flow
- Wider vents will allow more cold air in and your face will get colder in lower temperatures
- Reduces fog
- Trap a layer of air between two lenses, creating an additional barrier to moisture
- Applied directly to the inside surface of the lenses that prevents heavy fogging
Goggles are generally available in two sizes, adult and children.
Focus on which type of straps and buckles can be adjusted to easily fit your face. Your goggles should be secure enough to create a good seal that will keep out moisture and cold. Other fit considerations include:
- Most goggles are compatible with helmets
- Foam pads keep the goggles from pinching against your face
- Manufacturers also offer models that are specifically sized for women
- Look for specially made OTG, or "over the glasses" goggles that are specifically designed to fit over your prescription glasses.
- Make sure that the OTG goggles you select offer adequate venting