When you’re heading out for a fun day on the slopes, one of the most important pieces of equipment for safety and performance is a top-notch pair of goggles. Pro snowboarder and three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark agrees.
“If you can’t see properly, nothing else matters,” Clark says. In addition to keeping the snow and wind out of your eyes, goggles function like sunglasses, shielding your eyes from bright light and helping you see obstacles in the snow.
While fit is important for function (look for something that feels comfortable and snug on your face when you have your helmet on, Clark suggests), the lens is ultimately what keeps your vision clear and helps you deal with the elements. Check out these pro tips below to find the right pair of goggles for you, and stay on top of your game whether it’s a bluebird day or a white out. After all, “Weather conditions do change, and you want to make sure you get to use your lift ticket all day long,” Clark says.
A Bright, Sunny Day
Choose: A dark tint
“As you go up in altitude, the sun gets brighter and more intense and its reflection off the snow becomes an issue,” Clark says. “Lenses with a darker tint will help block out more of that light.”
This pair is heavily mirrored, so you’ll be able to see without a glare on even the sunniest days. Plus, the I/O 7 is an interchangeable lens series, so you get two googles in one, says Jon Raymer, the Category Manager of Goggles at Smith Optics.
A Snowy or Cloudy Day
Choose: A light tint
“When it snows, your depth perception can get tricky because when the sky matches the snow, everything becomes white, and you can get disoriented,” Clark says. “A light lens will let you get as much natural light as you can so you can see more texture.”
Also, make sure to brush off any snow or ice that settles on the top ledge of the frames, Clark says. Doing so will ensure that your goggles stay ventilated, preventing them from fogging up.
Oakley’s PRIZM technology is designed to block out “bad light,” referring to the wavelengths that prevent your eyes from distinguishing contrast in the snow, explanis Hans Arnesen, the Category Manager in the Global Goggles Category at Oakley. These rose-tinted lenses let you see more details in the snow clearly and also feature an anti-fog coating.
At night, you don’t need to worry about blocking light—just the wind and snow—so a clear lens works well.
We like: Bolle Adult Mojo Snow Goggles
These Bolle goggles have a double lens design that creates an extra seal of protection around your eyes.