When trying to figure out the era of a particular photo or video clip, looking at the rider’s goggles can help to narrow it down a little (in the absence of more obvious giveaways like a neon jacket, XXXL-sized pants or Apocalypse snowboard, of course). For something so outwardly simple – strap, frame, lens – there’s been a surprising amount of variation over the years.
One minute it was sleek lenses that merely covered the eyes (a la James Bond), the next it was massive frames with chunky venting that were de rigeur. Then there was the ‘frameless’ revolution… and so on.
“The leading brands have entered into a lens-tech arms race of sorts, each in pursuit of the best possible visuals”
The good news is that as trends and go, goggle makers continue to improve the functionality of their wares. In the last couple of winters the leading brands have entered into a lens-tech arms race of sorts, each in pursuit of the best possible visuals whilst reducing eye fatigue. There’s no denying that the result is the best range of snowboard goggles in history.
Lens changing systems vary, but on the whole they too have come on in leaps and bounds. Magnets, levers and buttons can all be called upon to get you adapting to the changing conditions in seconds.
That’s a great feature, but more important is the ventilation system. The moisture that naturally escapes your skin needs somewhere to go, otherwise you’re in for some serious fogging. Good goggles should have enough vents to deal with this, as well as comfy foam that won’t irritate your skin.
Among the other features to look out for are anti-warp lenses that don’t get distorted as you change altitude, frame size (every head is different, after all) and helmet compatibility. If you rock a lid, the last thing you want is the dreaded ‘gaper gap’.
Which ones you go for will depend on various things, such as your preferred style of frame and lens, as well as your budget. The good news is that there’s so much to choose from, you’re bound to come across a model that suits you.
Here’s what’s dropping in 2017/18:
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