Goggles - Features and Functions Explained

June 12, 2015
Goggles - Features and Functions Explained

Snow goggles are designed to protect the wearer from the glare of the sun and from small flakes of snow that fly into the rider’s face from the surface of the slope. An adjustable elasticated strap allows the goggles to be used both in conjunction with and without a snow helmet. Snow helmets will have mounts that keep the strap of your goggles secured to the back of the helmet stopping the strap from slipping down.

Snow goggles are made from a range of composite materials, usually flexible plastic, elastic and a foam lining where the goggles form a seal against your face. Goggles come in a range of brands, styles, sizes and colours.

If you need to wear prescription glasses while you are skiing or snowboarding there are a range of manufacturers offering ‘over the glasses’ options.

The Lens

The lens is one of the most important parts of your snow goggles. When choosing your new goggles it is important to take into account the kind of conditions you are predominately going to be skiing or snowboarding in.

Goggles come in two kinds: single and dual lens construction.

Single lens goggles tend to be cheaper, as they don’t provide the anti-fog benefits of dual lens technology. Robert Earl Smith invented and patented the first pair of dual lens ski goggles. This dual lens design stops condensation from forming on the inside layer of the lens as it creates an insulating layer that helps the goggle to regulate the temperature between the outside environment and the little microclimate between the lens and your face. This greatly reduces fog and allows the rider to see even when they get hot from tearing tracks in the snow.

Lenses are available in two different shapes, spherical and flat. Spherical lenses perform better in most conditions as they amplify your field of view giving you greater peripheral vision and are better at filtering UV light and glare.

Lenses come in a huge range of coloured tints. Every lens colour is suited to a different condition, for example clear lenses should only be used at night, and red or green chrome tinted lenses perform well in very bright conditions as they help cut glare reducing eye fatigue during prolonged skiing on a sunny day.

Higher-end models are capable of swapping lenses enabling the rider to quickly adjust to the light conditions during their day on the mountain. The most expensive and the most advanced form of lenses are photocromatic lenses. Photocromatic lenses automatically adjust to the change in light, turning clear in low light (or while indoors) and steadily growing darker as the light intensifies.

It is important to look after the lens on your goggles by keeping them clean using a specially designed polishing cloth, and by storing them in their carry bag or better yet, in a hard case.

The Fit

Before you go and buy the coolest looking pair of goggles you can find, it’s a good idea to try them on first. Make sure to also try them on with either the hat or the helmet you are going to be wearing, or both.

Your new goggles should fit snuggly to your face without causing any undue pressure. If you are wearing them over a helmet, make sure there is absolutely no space between the top of your goggles and the helmet’s edge. This gap will serve to suck air in against your forehead quickly causing brain-freeze and windburn.

Check there is no space between the edge of the goggles and your cheekbones as well otherwise that anti-fog feature won’t be any use at all.

A good pair of goggles can make all the difference to your day up on the mountain. They help you see better, reduce eye fatigue and the risk of snow blindness. They also have the added benefit of covering quite a large portion of your face protecting it from the wind and keeping you warm so you can shred for longer.

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