Eye protection is an essential part of kit for your trip to the snow. The snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s glare. So if you head up the mountain without them, not only will you be squinting a whole lot but you could also do your eyes some harm. Add to this the fact that ultraviolet radiation increases with altitude and you’d be mad to head of on a trip to the snow without some proper eye protection.
While you certainly can use regular sunglasses up on the mountain (provided they’re UV resistant), 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 and 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 sometimes have 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 of your new pair of sunglasses. Lenses come in a number of different shades and tints that are suited to specific light conditions.
Clear lenses and black lenses are at either end of the spectrum. Clear lenses are only suitable for night skiing, whereas black lenses block the maximum 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 snugly 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.
Some ski and snowboard glasses are designed with lens function and style as their main selling points and feature 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!