Goggle lenses come in a variety of tints to suit different weather conditions. It’s a great idea to carry at least one spare lens should the visibility change or you take a bad crash that leaves your first one frozen.
When you buy a new pair of goggles, it will usually come fitted with a moderately dark tint - a lens like this cuts out a fair amount of light thanks to its reflective coating, and can be used in mixed conditions including patchy sun and clouds.
Removing the lens is a simple matter of starting in one corner and pulling out the clips that keep it in place around the frame. Other systems – like Anon’s magnetic lenses – are even easier.
The first kind of spare you might want to consider is a low-light lens – in fact many brands will include one as standard. Low light lenses are typically rose, green or yellow. They're super bright but unlike clear lenses – which are only really designed for night riding – they protect you from glare and offer more definition in a whiteout. These should be your choice for those tree runs when it’s still snowing hard.
For cloudy days when it’s not actually snowing, a lens like the yellow/blue chrome combo pictured below still makes the most of the available light. The soft mirror effect in this case is actually a coating on the back of the lens, and is designed to prevent light reflecting back into your eyes.
In perfect bluebird conditions snow blindness becomes a genuine risk, so it’s time to think about a more heavily mirrored or perhaps polarized lens. A grey tint will cut out the majority of both direct sunlight and reflected light from the snow. Polarized versions reduce glare further by only letting light penetrate the lens from one direction – a bit like a venetian blind.
The downside of mirrored lenses is that they can scratch easily and therefore require careful looking after. A super dark tint like the black one above actually offers even more sun protection without the delicate coating, but should be saved for the brightest of days.
Having selected your lens, pop it back in the frame – if it’s a traditional system rather than quick release, start at the nose piece and work your way around.
Whatever tint you opt for, it’s always best to clean your lens using the microfibre bag in which your goggles came.