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How To Buy Ski and Snowboard Goggles

Goggles used for skiing and snowboarding provide an all-important safety element to your mountain or halfpipe activity. It is important to purchase the right goggles for your type of activity and the anticipated weather conditions.

When choosing a pair of goggles, you should consider many features before making a purchase. The basic determining factors for both style and features in goggles are slope conditions and activity level. Look for models that offer full UV protection and will be compatible with your helmet.

Fit

  • Bring your helmet or favorite beanie to the store to get an accurate fit
  • Strap the goggles on snugly over your helmet or hat
  • The feel of the face foam should be consistent all the way around the goggle, without uncomfortable pressure points
  • There shouldn't be any gaps for air to flow through and dry out your eyes
  • Check to make sure your goggles are helmet compatible -- they fit securely on your face while you are wearing your helmet, without being stretched or bent to fit over or around the helmet

Frame Features

  • The goggle frames should be constructed from a flexible material
  • Look for frame vents (foam-covered holes) that allow air to flow through the goggles, keeping the lenses fog-free

Lens Features

  • 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

Lens Colors

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 for riding at night
  • Lemon (yellow) lenses are best for stormy conditions and overcast days. They increase contrast and brighten up the landscape
  • Vermillon (pink) lenses increase contrast in most conditions. This lens with a silver mirror is ideal for most riding conditions
  • Citrus (orange) lenses also increase contrast and are great for bright days. Choose an option with a mirror to get a darker lens for the brightest conditions
  • Purple lenses are good in low-light conditions such as overcast and snowy days, because they bring out shadows and contours in flat light
  • 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

Performance Tips

  • Always store your goggles in their protective pouch
  • Clean the outside of your goggle lenses with fresh water 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

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