Buying Guide for Ski Goggles
By Steve Kopitz
Ski goggles are an essential piece of ski and snowboard equipment. Goggles protect your eyes by creating a seamless wrap across your face to protect your eyes and face from the sun, wind and snow. No one wants to come home from a day in the mountains with sun spots, wind burn or frostbite. Whether sitting on a chairlift or charging the backcountry, the surrounding snow reflects the sun’s rays harshly meaning your eyes and face need protection. Aside from protecting you from the elements, goggles are also your face, or image, while you are skiing so it is also important for you to select ski goggles that will give you a sense of style.
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|Lens Type||Light Condition|
|Lens Shape||Lens Change|
|Goggle Care||Fog Prevention|
• Mens goggles can come in a variety of frame shapes, sizes and styles.
• Women’s specific goggles typically have a narrower and smaller frame for a better fit for a smaller female face.
• Kid’s goggles are designed for smaller faces and are usually equipped with simple, inexpensive lenses to improve their durability and keep them inexpensive.
Frame size of goggles can vary depending on the size of your head and face, or what kind of style and look that you are going after. In the past few seasons large or oversized framed goggles have become increasingly popular.
• Small Frame goggles have a smaller fit by being narrower, shorter and shallower than other frame sizes. They are designed for smaller faces or for skiers who are specifically looking for a smaller goggle design.
• Medium Frame goggles have a very average depth, width and height.
• Large Frame goggles have a very wide, tall and deep frame that best fit larger faces, or for skiers who are seeking that oversized goggle style.
• OTG Goggles are designed to have a deeper, taller and wider frame to accommodate skiers who choose to wear their prescription glasses underneath their goggles. Some OTG ski goggles can have additional anti-fog devices such as an electric fan.
There are different options to accommodate the light conditions you plan on skiing in as well as the lenses that best suits how you want to see the mountain.
• Polarized Lenses reduce the amount a glare from the sun and snow. The less glare that you have, the less your eyes will fatigue. Polarized Lenses do not sacrifice visibility in low light conditions.
• Photocromatic Lenses give you the most versatility out of one single lens. They can automatically lighten or darken depending on the light conditions. Photocromatic lenses offer you great visibility in all light conditions because they adjust with the exposure of UV radiation coming from the sun. The greater the sunlight, the darker the lens becomes; the less sunlight, the lighter the lens becomes.
• Mirrored Lenses can sometimes be called Chrome lenses. Mirrored lenses are slightly or fully reflective on the outside, and the mirrored coating blocks additional sunlight in bright or very light conditions. It can also help reduce glare by reflecting more light as well as allow less light through the lens. Since they allow less light through you will have less visibility on overcast days.
• Non-Mirrored Lenses do not have reflective properties so they will allow light to filter through the lens. Non-mirrored lenses are recommended for overcast days or night time. On sunny days they will allow sunlight through causing glare.
There is a lens offered for just about every light condition. The manufacturers VLT (Visual Light Transmission) refers to how much light enters the lens.
The higher the percentage the more light goes through the lens, the lower the percentage the less light filters through the lens.
The higher the percentage the better that lens will be for overcast or cloudy days, the lower the percentage the better that lens will be on sunny days.
The VLT Rating is shown on each individual lens for every lens we carry here at Skis.com, as well as an easy to read weather icon to help you shop.
The lens shape that you select may have an impact on your field of vision and the clarity of your peripheral vision.
• Spherical Lens goggles have a lens shape that matches the curvature of your eyes to give you a less distorted field of vision, more peripheral vision and a clearer sharper view. Spherical Lenses are more expensive but give you the best optics.
• Flat Lens goggles can also be called cylindrical lenses. They have a limited field of vision and your peripheral view may have minimal distortion. They are subject to more glare.
Light conditions may vary throughout the day. Sometimes light conditions can differ from one run to the next. Different lenses are created to accommodate these changing light conditions. When it comes to swapping out a lens, some frames make it easier than others.
Easy to change lenses are easily one of the biggest innovations in goggles in recent years is having goggles that easily allow you to swap out the lenses on-the-fly. Considering how important it is for you to have the correct lens, these goggles make a great investment. These are so easy to change, it can be done in a minute while sitting on a chairlift.
Moderately Difficult to Change Lenses are goggles that allow you to change lenses by snapping the tabs on the lens out of the frame and snapping in a new lens. In most cases the extra lenses are sold separately.
Not Changeable are lenses that are not swappable.
Venitlation on goggles helps control the climate inside the goggle. Every brand has different features to allow air to flow through the goggle to prevent moisture from building up inside which can minimize fogging. The greater the ventilation, the less likely your goggles will fog up.
• Low-Minimal ventilation These goggles may have a tendency to fog when not moving.
• Medium Ventilation goggles prevent fogging during low-to-moderate activity.
• High Ventilation goggles give you the maximum amount of ventilation to prevent your goggles from fogging
Some goggle have some really special features that will enhance your days on the mountain.
• Anti-Fog Fan goggles have a battery operated fan that is relatively low profile designed to keep the air moving across the top of the goggles and in-between the lenses to give you the ultimate tool in combating fogging. This works great in OTG goggles and for any skier who has major problems with fogging.
• GPS Yes some goggles have a GPS located inside them that allows you to calculate your speed, check your air time and track how many vertical feet you have skied in a given duration of time.
• Camera Some goggles are now outfitted with a HD camera that is located right on top of the goggle enabling you to capture a perfect point of view of what you are skiing and how great the pow is.
Ski goggles are susceptible to wear-and-tear such as scuffs, scratches and cracked lenses. In order for you to take good care of them here are a few basic rules for you to follow.
Always store your goggles in a protective pouch or goggle case. The easiest places for them to get scratched are in your vehicle or in your gear bag. By keeping them in a protective case, your lenses will continue to look great and remain scratch free.
When cleaning your lenses, only wipe the outside with a specific goggle or glasses cloth. Many ski/snowboard jackets have a cloth built into the jacket that is convenient and easy to use on the slopes. Never use a paper towel, napkin or toilet tissue, the wood fibers will scratch off the protective coating and scratch your lens. Even with a goggle cloth use a soft touch on mirrored lenses. If you rub too hard, you may rub the mirrored finish off.
Do not wipe the inside of your goggles. The inside lens is treated with an anti-fog coating so if you wipe that coating off, your goggles are almost certain to fog up. If snow or water gets into your goggles, shake them out first, then dab them with a goggle cloth… do not wipe them.
Fogged up goggles plague even the best skiers and snowboarders. If you can’t see you can’t ride. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay fog free.
• Do not wipe the inside of your goggles if moisture gets on the inside lens. The inside lens is treated with an anti-fog coating so if you wipe that coating off, your goggles are almost certain to fog up. If snow or water gets into your goggles, shake them out first, then dab them with a goggle cloth… do not wipe them.
• Check your vents. Many goggles have vents which can often become clogged with snow. When clogged, fresh air cannot filter through; this will result in foggy lenses.
• Never use glass cleaner on your goggles. Glass cleaner will take off your anti-fog coating.
• When you take your goggles off, keep them off of your forehead. When you put goggles on your hot and sweaty forehead they will fill up with hot, moist air making it more difficult to remain fog-free when you place them back over your eyes. Your best bet is to leave them on your face or on the brim of your helmet.
Now that you are a goggle expert, check out the variety of goggles we offer on skis.com and shop for the ones that are right for you.