Another full day of riding is on the horizon, and you can’t wait.
You love every sensation about boarding. The crisp cold air rushing past you, the crunch of the snow under your boots, and the feeling of jibbing on the rail. You really do enjoy the warmer months, but nothing beats a day of riding.
Don’t forget the excitement of learning a new trick, or meeting up with friends for a brewski after!
Nothing can ruin a day of riding quicker than having your equipment break, or not work properly. We’ve all been there; a binding strap breaks or your goggles keep fogging up. You head to the ski shop to what you can do.
You learn that your goggles have had it, and you need to invest in a new pair. Well, crap. How are you supposed to know what the best snow goggles are? Is it worth the money?
Why Do I Need Snow Goggles?
You’ve been told that it’s time to invest in some goggles, but you aren’t convinced it’s worth the money. Goggles can be expensive! Here are some reasons why you should consider investing in new goggles.
Increased Contrast on the Snow
We’ve all been there; shredding snow and having a great run when all of a sudden thanks to the flat light we can’t see the elevation change right in front of us. Hello, face plant!
Having a quality pair of goggles will increase the contrast in lighting, which will allow you to see bumps in the slope ahead. This will help prevent an unneeded injury.
Reduced Glare from the Sun
On bright sunny days, it’s hard to see where you are going. The sun reflects off of the snow, creating almost a blinding effect. Not being able to see can create opportunities for accidents.
Not to mention the major headache you get after squinting all day. Investing in a pair of polarized goggles will not only protect your eyes from the sun, but it will protect you from an accident.
Protection from the Elements
There is nothing worse than taking a run at high speeds and being pelted in the eyeballs with snowflakes. Your eyes begin to water, and then you can’t see.
You try wiping the tears away, but your gloves don’t do much. Besides, who knows what kinds of germs are living on your gloves. They’ve been shoved in the bottom of your boot bag.
Wearing goggles will help protect your eyes from rain and snow, as well as from the wind and cold. They will make for a much more enjoyable ride.
How to Find the Best Snow Goggles
To find the best goggles for you, you first need to determine what kind of climate you will be boarding in most. This may seem strange but bear with us for a moment.
There are different types of lenses, different colors, and different VLT percentages. Knowing the type of climate, you will be riding in will help you determine which kind of goggle to choose.
With all snow sports equipment, technology has been able to advance the quality of it. Goggles are no different.
What Is VLT?
VLT is short for visual light transmission. Goggles measure this transmission in percentage, from 0% to 100%. The higher the percentage, the more light is let through the lens (which means that the lens is lighter). This type of lens is best in low light conditions
The lower the percentage, the lower amount of light will be let through (this means the lens will be darker). The darker lenses are great for those bright sunny days.
Why Does Color Matter?
Color plays a big roll in blocking out certain color spectrums in sunlight. This means less strain on your eyes and longer days riding. Your visibility will increase as well as your perception of detail and contrast, which will help you avoid an injury.
These lens colors lend themselves to a higher percentage VLT, which means they allow more light to come through. These colors are a great choice for overcast or partly cloudy days.
A yellow color lens is a great choice for an “all-around” snowboard goggle. The yellow filters out blue light, which means you can wear this color lens on a sunny day as well as on an overcast day.
Amber or orange goggle lenses are other great choices for an “all-around” snowboard goggle. These lens colors handle overcast conditions well, as well as partly cloudy or sunny days.
Orange lenses help to increase your ability to see in fog. They can reflect blue light, which creates better shadow definitions. This color lens is the best choice for all conditions.
Green lenses are a great choice for partly cloudy conditions. This color lens can help increase contrast, which means better depth perception. In lower light conditions, they help to increase the definition of an object.
Green lenses also help to reduce eye fatigue, as they help reduce glare and filter out light. This color lens is a great choice for brighter days as well as in lower light conditions.
Blue lenses are a great choice for riding in low light conditions. Blue lenses are typically paired with another color, to help create a better experience for the rider.
Blue paired with a bronze or copper tint, will be best for brighter days. These tints, mixed with the blue, will help to cut glare. A blue lens paired with a yellow tint will work great in low light conditions.
This is the color lens you will want for a day of park riding. The violet lens color helps to enhance your ability to see detail. You will be able to better see bumps, icy spots, and moguls (if you like to ski too).
This lens color is a great choice for low to mid light conditions. Violet will help you maintain your natural perception of color.
Black or dark gray lenses are the best choices for bright conditions. This color lens blocks out the most light and will not change your perception of color. This type of lens should not be worn at night, or in flat light conditions.
If you want to get fancy with your lenses, try the photochromatic lens. These lenses darken according to the condition you are riding in. The darkening transition is smooth and allows for accurate perception of detail regardless of condition.
Tips for Choosing the Best Snow Goggles
Once you determine which conditions you will be boarding in regularly, you will be able to choose the best color lens. Lens color isn’t the only thing you should take into consideration.
We’ve pulled together 5 tips to help you choose the best snow goggle.
1. Look at the Reviews
Other boarders and skiers have gone before you and purchased goggles.
Take advantage of what they have learned. Read reviews to get a better idea of the quality of the goggles before pulling the trigger.
In fact, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Reading reviews will help you save time. You can look at multiple different brands, all from the comfort of your couch at home. Reading reviews will ensure that you pick the best goggle, avoiding further time spent returning a product you don’t like.
2. Does the Goggle Have a Good Anti-Fog System?
Pay attention to the ventilation system on the pair of goggles you are looking at.
There is nothing worse than having a pair of goggles fog up on you. It doesn’t matter how great of a lens a pair of goggles have if you can’t see anything out of them!
The ventilation system will help keep your goggles from fogging up. Make sure to look at the lens shape as well. Spherical or cylindrical lenses help prevent fogging as there is more room between your face and the lens. This means more airflow and decreased fogging.
3. Try Goggles on Before Purchasing Them
Trying on the goggles before purchasing them will allow you to answer some very important questions. Comfort is subject to each person, so reading reviews won’t necessarily tell you if a certain type of goggle will be comfortable for you.
Questions you should be asking are:
- Does this pair of goggles have a good field of vision?
- Does this pair of goggles feel comfortable on my face?
- Is this pair of goggles easy to breathe it?
- How does this pair of goggles fit over the bridge of my nose?
- Will this goggle strap stay in place around my helmet?
- Is the frame material flexible?
There are plenty of goggle options out there, so you don’t need to settle for something that isn’t comfortable.
4. Ease of Use
Many goggles have interchangeable lenses, but you will want to choose one that is easy to use. From the Smith I/O to the Oakley Airbrake XL, you have quality choices out there.
We recommend an interchangeable magnetic system. These tend to be easier to use. You don’t have to struggle to get the lens to fit into the frame.
You will also want to pay attention to how easy the strap adjusts on your goggles. Does it extend easily to fit over your helmet? We always recommend you to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet helps reduce injury by 35%.
A pair of goggles needs to have a high level of durability. If you are going to invest your money into a piece of equipment, you don’t want it to fall apart after a few uses.
Goggles are going to be abused with repeated use, and extreme fluctuations in weather conditions. Going from extreme cold to the heat of a building can cause weakness in some plastics.
Long-term durability may be difficult to evaluate, but you can look for obvious weak spots in construction. If reviews are consistently talking about things like scratched lenses or the quick loss of strap elasticity, keep looking.
Keep in mind some people may not take great care of their equipment. If they throw their goggles in their boot bag without a cover over the lenses, they are bound to get scratched.
Which Goggle Brands Are the Best?
Based on the above criteria, there are a couple of brands that you should be looking at first. These brands are SMITH, Oakley, and Anon.
SMITH Optics originally began in 1965 and over the past 54 years has continued to revolutionize the technology used in sports eyewear. SMITH has always been dedicated to creating products that empower explorers and thrill seekers with peak performance gear.
Like SMITH, Oakley, Inc. has been around for the last few decades as well. Created in 1975, Oakley began as a company that created motocross and BMX gear. In 1983 Oakley began selling ski goggles and has since pioneers new technology to create a better product.
Anon Optics is a sub-brand of Burton Snowboards. Burton has been around since 1977, and like the other two brands, has continued to grow, learn, and master the art of creating superior equipment.
Purchasing the Best Snow Goggles
You’ve been given a lot of information to help you make the most informed decision on what pair of goggles to purchase. Keep in mind you don’t always have to buy the most expensive pair.
Some great options, like the Smith Squad ChromaPop, can be found for less than $100. The best snow goggles aren’t always the most expensive ones.
For more great reads on riding, check out our blog!