It’s essential to wear the correct eyewear on the mountain to avoid the risk of snow blindness. Compared to sunglasses, goggles offer maximum protection from the elements, and choosing the right pair is about combining comfort and style with practicality.
The first thing to note is size. Womens goggles are typically smaller than guys, and within each of these categories there is a huge variety of shapes. It’s important to select a pair that suits your own face type – if you have a larger head then avoid compact styles that might be uncomfortable and limit your peripheral vision.
These days, almost all goggles come with a double lens, which reduces fogging. If you’re shopping on a budget however, then double check, since single lenses are far less effective.
There are two fundamental types of lens to choose from: spherical and cylindrical.
Cylindrical lenses curve around the frame horizontally, but are flat from top to bottom. They are simpler to manufacture and therefore cheaper, but still offer good performance and are arguably more stylish.
Spherical lenses are a little more high tech, curving both horizontally and vertically, like a bubble. This has three advantages: increased peripheral vision, reduced glare, and less distortion at the edges of the lens. Spherical lenses are therefore more expensive, but it’s always worth checking if the style and fit work for you.
In the past few years, so-called frameless goggles have also become popular. The lens clips straight onto the front rather than under a rim, providing increased peripheral vision and a clean look. The downside is that the lens is a little less protected from falls than a traditional frame.
A crucial factor, whatever type of lens you opt for, is ventilation. When air flows freely through the goggles it reduces their capacity to fog, so look for a pair with plenty of foam or plastic vents.
When the visibility changes, it’s important to be able to change the lens. This is easier to do with some brands than others, so keep an eye out for quick release mechanisms – like Anon's magnetic system show above. Some models will even come with a spare lens (usually low light) to help clinch the deal.
If you already own a helmet then it’s a good idea to check your chosen goggles are a good fit for it. The strap should easily fit around it and they should feel comfortable around the edge.
Finally, whether you wear a helmet or a beanie, silicon strips on the back of the strap will help keep your goggles secure.
For tips on choosing the right lens tint, see our next episode.
Ready to buy? Check out the latest snowboard goggles at Surfdome.