Sunglasses might be on fleek for jib rats these days, but if you’ve ever tried riding powder in them (we have – don’t ask) you’ll know it’s a mug’s game. And you can add bad weather days, high-speed groomer blasting and riding kickers that require any kind of velocity to hit to that list of muggery.
No, the best bit of eyewear a man, woman or child can get for the multitude of conditions the mountains can throw your way are goggles. With a good pair strapped to your head you’ll be immune from weeping eyes while straightlining, and you can adapt when conditions change. There'll be no stray shafts of light trying to singe your retinas, you get a maximised field of view, your face will be warmer, and you can go full incognito G more easily. And all but the last one actually matter.
"The best bit of eyewear a man, woman and child can get for the multitude of conditions the mountains can throw your way are goggles"
Make sure the model you plump for has a good amount of ventilation to reduce the instances of fogging when you get the perilous condition known as ‘Big Sweaty Head’, and that the frame you settle for gives you the most unobstructed vision – certain models are bigger than others, just as certain people prefer their frames bigger than others. Another thing to bear in mind is many of the higher-priced models now offer solutions to make swapping lenses super easy, while some even have ones that automatically brighten or darken depending on cloud cover.
Know your budget, and get down to your local store to try a few pairs on that fall in your price range. Also be sure to check out our advice on how to choose your snowboard goggles. Here’s an appetiser of some of the best goggles for 2016/17 to get you started.
Scroll down to view all snowboard goggles, or skip to a particular brand using the links below
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi - click any image to enlarge
Production: Tom Copsey / Andrew Duthie / Tobias Grünwald / Sam Oetiker / Sami Tuoriniemi
Anon M2 Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Big, beautiful and techy as you like - the Anon M2 is a high-end option that ticks all the boxes.
The magnetic lens changing system is incredibly simple to use, and won't let you down even after the nastiest of slams.
Anon M3 Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
For those who prefer a framed look with a cylindrical lens, the Anon M3 is a top choice. Even before you get to the magnetic lens-changing system, these are the nuts.
The triple-density face foam is cosy, and the anti-fog lens works a treat too. Then when you need to change, it's a piece of cake.
Anon Mig Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Here's one for those who want top tech without going as far as buying something that costs almost as much as a new snowboard.
The Mig has a large, frameless look not unlike the M2, with an ultralight frame and snap-back strap. They're compatible with Anon's magnetic face mask system too.
Anon WM1 Women's Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
These female-specific frames come in two different sizes, so no matter what size your melon you'll get on famously with these.
They're compatible with just about any helmet you can find, and boast the ultra-rapid Magne-Tech lens changing system. The fleece lining on the foam is extra comfy too.
Dragon NFX2 Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
An instantly-recognisable cylindrical number, the Dragon NFX2.
With armoured venting and hypoallergenic-coated foam, it's little wonder this one's still so popular - and since it got its 'Swiftlock' upgrade, it's better than ever.
Dragon X2 Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Dragon's top frameless option also features the Swiftlock, so there's no need for fiddling about when you're on a mission.
The massive spherical lens offers an unparalleled field of vision, and keeps the fog at bay all the while.
Dragon X2s Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Feeling a bit (fish)bowled over by the X2? No problem - just grab these instead!
The X2s has all the same top features, but packed into a smaller frame. Despite the downsize, the peripheral vision it offers is still top-drawer, and the Swiftlock system couldn't be simpler.
Electric EG2-W Women's Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Electric Electrolite Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Part goggle, part gob-smacking feat of engineering, the Electric Electrolite is in a class of its own when it comes to weight.
They're even lighter than they look, and can handle just about anything. The price is a lot lower than you might expect too.
Giro Balance Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
New for 2016/17, the Giro Balance is all about peripheral vision. The 'Expansion View' design means that your field is even broader than what you'd usually get from a spherical lens.
The lenses themselves are made in copllaboration with camera manufacturers Zeiss, who know a thing or two about light, and they're coated with an anti-fog treatment to ensure you'll always have a clear view.
As Giro make top quality helmets too, you can get both for a seamlessly integrated fit.
Giro Blok Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
The Giro Blok wears its old-school cylindrical lens look proudly, but the tech on display is bang up to date. The large-size frame is lined with a three-layer foam, with a micro-fleece layer that keeps your face happy all day.
No matter which of the many, many lenses you choose, they're all 100% UV-resistant, as well as anti-fog coated.
The design seen here features Milo, mascot of The Descendents. Giro have joined forces with the sporadic Californian punk fiends on a series of collabs for 2016/17 with them, and another with surf legend Gerry Lopez.
Nike Khyber Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Available with either standard or auto-adjusting Transitions lenses, the Nike Khyber's water-repellant ventilation and coated lens keep fogging at bay from first lift to last.
It's also got outriggers that make it ideal for helmet users. If you like the sound of this, don't give the Khyber a pass.
Oakley Flight Deck XM Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
If you're looking for a frameless goggle that doesn't dominate your face, here's a fine option.
The Flight Deck XM is a unisex model for those who like to get their tech in a medium-sized package. The design seen here is Jamie Anderson's signature colourway.
Oakley Line Miner Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
The Line Miner enhances your peripheral vision by bringing the whole lens closer to your eyes - simple, but effective!
The cylindrical lens is encased in a fairly space-age-looking frame that's lightweight and fully resistant to the cold. It's also been designed to work seamlessly with a pair of prescription glasses, even with the closer lens.
For a bit of extra wedge you can get a Line Miner that's equipped with one of Oakley's PRIZM lenses, which offer a truly amazing level of clarity. You can also upgrade to a battery-powered option that uses a heat-cycle system to dispel fog.
Oakley Windjacket Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
If a pair of goggles and some sunnies got a bit carried away at at the office party, nine months later you'd get something not entirely unlike the Oakley Windjacket.
These are designed to be more versatile than your average goggle (Oakley even suggest you can wear these in "the apres ski scene"), but better for you than a pair of cheap sunnies. They'll definitely offer more protection from the wind, and there's a strap you can attach if you don't want them flying off your head when things get crazy.
We imagine these will be a bit Marmite, but one thing everyone can agree on is the quality of the PRIZM lens that comes as standard. If the neon's a bit much for you, then you'll be pleased to hear that it comes in other colours too.
Quiksilver Fenom Art Series Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
With goggles seemingly costing more and more each year, it's good to have an option like the Quiksilver Fenom Art Series.
You won't get the next-level tech found on some of its pricier rivals, but it does what it needs to do with minimal fuss. The spherical lens offers a great field of vision, with full UV protection and effective venting.
Throw in the fleece-lined face foam and you've got a great goggle at a terrific price.
Roxy Rockferry Women's Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Don't let the painter's-radio design fool you - these goggles have been precision-crafted in Italy to standards that will satisfy the most discerning rider.
The French vision masters at Christian Dalloz provide the spherical lens, which is both anti-fog and anti-distortion. As for the frame, it's a lightweight polyurethane with fleece-lined foam.
The strap is adjusted on the side, so if you rock a helmet then these won't interfere with your fit when worn underneath.
Smith I/O Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
With more than 50 years in the game, Smith know eyes better than most. The I/O is a modern classic that pioneered easy lens changing.
This year's version has features incredibly efficient anti-fog tech, as well as outriggers that make it perfect for helmet users.
Spy Ace Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
"Apply To Your Face For Instant Pleasure" say Spy about the Ace. Innuendo opportunities aside, this really is a top quality goggle
It uses an incredibly simple levering system that makes lens changes quick and easy. It comes with a spare as standard, and you can also opt for their 'Happy' lenses that offer even better clarity.
Moisture-wicking face foam and a grippy strap are among the other great features that make the Ace... well, ace.
Spy Doom Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
The Doom can handle the gloom, thanks to one of the quickest lens-changing systems around. It's also got moisture-wicking face foam and an unobstructed frameless design.
The 'Happy' lenses you can get for it are super technical, and are designed to actually improve your mood while you're on the mountain.
Von Zipper Cleaver Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
This classic-framed, cylindrical-lensed Cleaver is a no-nonsense model that puts performance above all else.
The frame is nice and flexible, even when it's well below freezing, and the face foam is not only super comfy but banishes sweat too. It's fully helmet-compatible too, with a dual adjustable strap.
As one of Von Zipper's heaviest hitters, it's no surprise to see Halldor Helgason get a signature colourway. There's over a dozen others from which you can choose as well.
Von Zipper Jetpack Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
Von Zipper are another brand pushing the boundaries of lens tech, and their own high-performance version (known as the Wildlife) can be found on their Jetpack goggles.
The extra clarity you get from the Wildlife will definitely get notice in this, as it's one of the biggest lenses around. Your peripheral vision is off the charts, but it's not so heavy or bulky that it'll impede on your day's riding.
Zeal Forecast Snowboard Goggles 2016-2017
The Forecast has been a popular model for a number of years, and there's been no need to change what already works so well.
The lens is built to last, with durable anti-fog coating and anti-scratch properties. Their mirror lenses are smudge-proof too, and it can also be kitted out with a photocromic lens (meaning one that adjusts to the conditions).