Eye protection is an essential part of kit for your trip to the snow. While you certainly can use regular sunglasses up on the mountain, sunglasses designed specifically for skiing and snowboarding will perform much better in a range of alpine conditions.
Sunglasses designed for the snow are lighter, more flexible, stronger fit your face more closely than regular sunglasses so as to reduce fogging on the inside of the lens. They come in a huge range of styles and colours with lens tints to suit various light conditions.
Skiing and snowboarding sunglasses will sometime use an adjustable strap rather than regular arms to keep them secure to your head while you are bouncing around on the snow. Sunglasses are available with dual and even triple lens technology. What this does is creates a pocket of air between the lenses that allows for a more even change in temperature from the air outside to the air trapped between your face and the lens. This stops the lens from fogging up as you warm up and enables you to see clearly while you are carving lines down the slope.
The lens is the most important component on your new pair of sunglasses. Lenses come in a number of different shades and tints that are suited to specific light conditions. The glare from the light bouncing off the snow is incredibly damaging to your eyes if experienced for an extended period of time. It can even lead to snow blindness if your eyes aren’t protected from UV rays. Tints are designed to do this while allowing different levels of light to pass through helping you to see in varying degrees of light and shade.
Clear lenses and black lenses are at either end of the spectrum. Clear lenses are only suitable for night time skiing, whereas black lenses block the most amount of light and are therefore only used in extremely bright, sunny weather.
Yellow and gold lenses perform well in low light, whereas chrome red and chrome green are better suited to bright days. Check with your retailer to find out which lens rating best suits your riding conditions before buying.
Lenses at the top of the range are capable of changing tint with the change in light in your environment. These ‘photocromatic lenses’ allow you to see well in all conditions, from indoor artificial lighting to the extremely harsh glare experienced at high altitudes when the sun is at its peak.
You can even have your sunglasses fitted with prescription lenses so that you don’t have to worry about wearing contacts while you ski or board!
Your skiing or snowboarding sunglasses should fit nice and snug against your face. Some are designed in a similar way to ski goggles in that they stop the air from getting between the lens and your eye protecting them from snow and debris. Dual lens technology helps reduce the fogging that occurs when the air between your face and the glasses warms up and the addition of vents allows a small amount of air to clear your goggles while you are in motion.
Other ski and snowboard glasses are designed with lens function and style as their main selling points featuring a more urban profile that doesn't require vents to clear fogging as they don't fit so close to your face. When buying your sunglasses make sure that they are comfortable and don’t put any uneven pressure on your eyes or head. Make sure they look good, and you’re ready to go!