Advice for Ski Goggles & Snowboard Goggles

Ski goggles and snowboard goggles provide an all-important safety element to your mountain or halfpipe activity. It is important to purchase the right snow goggles for your type of activity and the anticipated weather conditions. When choosing a pair of ski goggles or snowboard goggles, you should consider many features before making a purchase. The basic determining factors for both style and features in ski goggles and snowboard goggles are slope conditions and activity level. Look for models that offer full UV protection and will be compatible with your ski helmet / snowboard helmet.

Ski Goggle Fit

It is important for your ski goggle or snowboard goggle to be the right fit. The correct fit ensures minimal fogging up, better comfort, and better vision. If you’re looking at purchasing a snow goggle, we encourage you to bring your ski helmet / snowboard helmet or a favourite beanie to ensure an accurate fit. The snow goggle frame should be constructed from a flexible material.

    • Strap the ski goggle or snowboard goggle on snugly over your helmet or hat.
    • The goggle should sit evenly on your face with the face foam making consistent contact with your face all around the goggle.
    • There shouldn’t be any uncomfortable pressure points from the foam, nor any gaps between the foam and your face (gaps will allow air to flow through the goggle, drying out your eyes).
    • Check that your goggles are helmet compatible -- they should fit securely on your face while you are wearing your helmet, without being stretched or bent to fit over or around the helmet.

Snow Goggle Ventilation

A major issue with ski goggles and snowboard goggles is fogging up. To prevent this, make sure your ski goggle is well ventilated. For information on how to care for goggles when they fog up, see "Ski Goggle Care" below.

    • If your ski goggle has a frame, it is ideal if it has vents at the front of the lens – this ensures optimum air ventilation through the ski google.
    • Some framed snow goggles have adjustable vents which you can open and close, allowing you to close the vents if the weather is particularly windy.
    • Frameless goggles and semi-frameless goggles are very well ventilated without the need for vents at the front.
    • All of our Smith goggles and Giro goggles come with an Anti-Fog film that coats the inside of the lens to prevent fogging
    • Integrated ski goggle and ski helmet combinations from the same brand are specifically designed together to attain optimum ventilation.

Ski Goggle Lens Features

    • Double lenses prevent fogging and create a thermal barrier to keep you warm. 99% of good adults ski goggles out there are double lens. 
    • All of our lenses have 100% UV protection.
    • Cylindrical double lenses (curved flat lenses) provide good optics for a reasonable price
       - check out our goggles!
    • Spherical double lenses (spherical shaped lenses) provide superior optics with minimum distortion and fog-free vision
       - check out the Giro Onset goggle!
    • Polycarbonate lens material is generally the most durable.
    • The Anti-Fog film on all our Smith goggles and Giro goggles doubles as an anti-scratch coating! 

Snow Goggle Lens Colours & VLT

One factor to consider before buying a ski goggle or snowboard goggle is the colour of the lens and its VLT (Visible Light Transmittance). The goggle and goggle lens you choose should depend upon the weather conditions in which you’ll be skiing or snowboarding. The colour and VLT of a lens affect the tint in which you will see the mountain when wearing the goggle. For example, if you're wearing a goggle with a yellow lens, you will see everything with a yellow tint (regardless of whether it has a mirror finish).

As a general rule:

    • Clear lenses are best for extremely stormy conditions or for riding at night. These lenses are the least expensive.
    • Photochromic lenses can adapt to varying light conditions, enabling great performance in both bright-light and low-light conditions and everything in between. These lenses tend to be the most expensive.
    • Mirrored lenses cut the glare that reflects from snow or ice without necessarily blocking out a lot of light. For example, the Smith Sensor Mirror lens has a mirror finish and a VLT of 70% (see VLT section below).

VLT (Visible Light Transmittance)

More important than the tint of a lens is the VLT of the lens. Looking at the VLT of a lens is a good way of figuring out in which light conditions the lens will perform well. VLT measures the percentage of visible light that is let through the lens of a goggle. Therefore, the brighter the day, the lower the VLT needed (and so conversely for low-light days). Of course you do not want to go too far on either end of the VLT spectrum if you would like a ski or snowboard goggle which is good for varying light conditions on the mountain. That is where goggles with easily interchangable lenses or those that come with two sets of lenses are very practical

Here's a basic breakdown:

    • 75% and higher: ideal for riding in very stormy conditions and at night
    • 45-75%: good for low light conditions such as overcast days
    • 25-45%: good for mid-level light conditions such as partly cloudy days
    • 25% and lower: good for bright sunny days

For those who find themselves riding in various light conditions, we recommend ski goggles or snowboard goggles with interchangeable lenses.

Ski Goggle Care

    • Always store your snow goggles in their protective pouch (goggle bag) to stop them from scratching and protect the foam from excessive wear and tear. If you've lost yours, we sell these separately.
    • If you’re cleaning the outside of your goggle, use fresh water and a soft cloth such as the inside (the cleanest bit) of your goggle bag.
    • Try to never wipe the inside of your goggle lenses: it can eventually affect or scratch 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, or you could try drying them under a hand dryer in the bathrooms.
    • To keep your ski 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. If you take your 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. Also, make sure you are not breathing excessive air into your goggles via your neckwarmer or the collar of your ski jacket.
    • For longevity of your goggles, its best not to store or leave them in the drying room of your lodge. The heat from the room and then the cold from the outside will cause the materials to breakdown over time. Additionally, don't keep the goggles strap stretched over the helmet when storing them as over time this will cause the elastic in the goggle strap to lose its stretch and strength
    • Finally, ski goggle foam cannot be replaced. So take care of the foam as best you can. Once the foam disintegrates, its time to get a new pair of goggles!

OTG (over-the-glasses) Goggles

Giro Over-The-Glasses Goggle with ventilated mid-light lens

The most important thing to consider when you buy ski goggles is whether you will be able to see properly, especially if you wear corrective lenses.

                                      • For those who don't wear eyeglasses, regular ski goggles are a good choice. They are smaller and more compact than the goggles which fit over glasses. If you wear eyeglasses, OTG snow goggles are the best option.
                                      • If you plan on wearing glasses while skiing, remember to bring them with you to try on new snow goggles.
                                      • Keep in mind that even if If you are wearing contacts while ski goggle shopping, you may want to ski while wearing your glasses, on occasion. If that's the case, we recommend the larger-sized over-the-glasses goggles.
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