If you’ve ever gone snowboarding, you recognize that wearing ski goggles is essential for your protection and safety. Most people find a mountain environment very unusual when it comes to wind, light, and weather conditions. Sunlight reflected off the snow can be too bright for your eyes.
Furthermore, UV rays can harm your eyes and eventually cause cataracts. Although sunglasses can provide UV protection, they are not recommended for extreme mountain sports like skiing or snowboarding. Here are some reasons ski goggles are necessary for winter sports.
Ski goggles offer complete UVA and UVB protection across the whole ultraviolet spectrum. Excessive high-intensity UV light exposure can harm your eyes in the short and long term. Snow blindness happens when your cornea becomes sunburned due to excessive UV light exposure.
At high altitudes, light exposure is ramped up, and the presence of snow multiplies the potency of the sun and its potential to induce temporary blindness. Ski goggles (with the proper tint) allow you to ski for many days without the risk of snow blindness or even long-term damage such as cataracts or other eye diseases.
While sunglasses offer UV protection, they are not as well-sealed around the edges as goggles, subjecting you to indirect light. Furthermore, the smaller frames cover less of your skin from UV damage, requiring you to remember to apply more sun cream to your face.
With a ski helmet and goggles combination and a pull-up neck warmer covering the lower part of your face, you only have to apply sun cream to your exposed nose area. Even during overcast days, UV rays bounce through the clouds, off the snow, and into the eyes, making ski goggles mandatory in almost all conditions.
Goggles provide excellent all-around protection and a better fit when combined with a ski helmet. All ski helmets have a back clip that secures the goggle strap, making it much less likely that your goggles will fall off while skiing or be lost throughout transport.
Combating the sun’s glare is perhaps the most difficult issue skiers face concerning visibility. Dark lens tinted goggles reduce reflected glare and allow you to ski on bright and sunny days without damaging or squinting your eyes.
Polarized or photochromic lenses, for example, are even more effective at reducing glare. Polarized ski goggles reduce the glare from the sun on snow and ice.
Overall, the benefits of enhanced vision outweigh any disadvantages of polarized lenses. Check before purchasing if your ski goggles are polarized.
Photochromic lenses, which detect how much UV light is present and automatically change the tint, are a more advanced feature. The main advantage is that these goggles are truly adaptive, allowing you to wear the same pair in all conditions while maintaining excellent visibility.
Ski goggles protect your eyes from injury or damage during a crash or collision. During a crash or accident, sharp objects, such as your skis or rocks, can smack you in the face and cause eye damage.
While ski goggles do not provide a force field, the additional protection provided by the lens is more impactful than wearing only sunglasses. Ski goggles over sunglasses protect a larger area of your face, and the foam padding around the edges also provides better protection.
Tree branches can be lethal at high speeds, so having a protective covering between your sensitive eyes and the outside world is a wise decision.
Ski goggles protect your face from extreme cold and shield you against the oncoming frigid mountain air. While the goggles have vents to prevent fogging, the size of the frame, foam padding, and large lens area keep wind and snow out of your eyes.
The insulated gap between the outside world and your face maintains a more comfortable temperature for your face and eyes. The movement of outside air and the wind will cause your eyes to water if you ski without goggles. Snow will accumulate on your eyelashes and strike your eye, significantly reducing your visibility.
When you’re on the mountain in the sun, you need not only glare reduction but also improved contrast to recognize dips in the slope before skiing over it. Ski goggles improve your vision by increasing the contrast between shadows and objects. Various color tints improve contrast in various situations.
Grey looks best in sunny (and partly cloudy) weather. Grey can be tinted very light or very dark to work in all conditions. Blue can be used in both bright and dark environments, depending on what it’s combined with.
Similarly, the tint strength in the preceding examples can make it less or more suitable for different conditions.
Overcast or Cloudy Weather
Persimmon, brown, and rose work well in the shade or when the sky is overcast.
Bronze, yellow, and orange work well together.
How to Prevent Goggles from Fogging Up
Investing in a quality pair of lenses that sit further away from your face and have excellent ventilation is the best way to keep your ski goggles from fogging up. The next best step is to keep snow away from the vents and not have the balaclava tucked inside, as this will trap moisture.
After breaking down what works for other people’s mountain experiences, here are the most important fog-free tips:
- Purchase high-quality goggles.
- Do not tuck your balaclava in.
- Avoid overheating.
- Keep your goggles away from your bare brow.
- Have two lenses available.
- Shake the snow away from the vents.
What to Stay Away From
- Low-cost sunglasses with ineffective anti-fog coatings
- Introducing water or hot air into your goggles
- Getting sweaty and hot
- Lack of a backup, even if it’s just a pair of sunglasses
- Snow obstructing your air vents
Despite what you might have experienced or heard, skiing all day without getting fogged up is possible. You should be fine if you have a soft dry cloth nearby, don’t overheat, and follow my advice above.
Modern ski goggles are compact and lightweight, allowing you to see more clearly and remain safe on the slopes. Investing in an excellent pair that will last for several seasons is a good idea. Look for ski goggles with anti-fogging features, high-quality lenses, and a tint that corresponds to your typical skiing conditions.
Ski goggles come in various sizes and shapes, from small to large. The best ski goggles are those that you don’t notice. A great fit is snug but not too tight around your face.