The best ski goggles should be invisible… Well, not quite. But you want to forget they’re there. You want a seamless fit between your practice and the gear. In order to achieve that effortless feel, prior research is a must. But in the high-end world of VLTs and tints, it can seem like nailing the fall line is the easy bit. What’s really essential? And how can you ensure the goggles match your needs? |
In this guide, I outline the critical factors to bear in mind when buying new goggles. My aim is to make the whole experience as smooth as that first descent, when you hit the slopes and your skis start to sing!
Do You Really Need Them?
Goggles are as vital to the skier’s arsenal as the skis themselves. When you’re travelling at high speed in harsh conditions, it’s paramount that your eyes are protected from wind, snow and ice. Moreover, the risk of snow blindness lurks behind that iconic scene of white snow and blue sky, adorned with ice-dusted pine trees. Snow blindness is damage to the eye caused by the sun’s glare that’s reflected off the snow. It’s a painful and serious condition, which is why you need ski goggles to block out UV rays. But make sure that you select a model which provides 100% protection – nothing less will do.
As with a camera or telescope, the most important part of any goggles is the lens. Here’s a brief rundown of lens lingo.
Cylindrical or Spherical: Cylindrical lenses are curved on the horizontal, but flat on the vertical. Spherical lenses, by contrast, are curved on both the horizontal and the vertical, which provides a wider field of vision and greater anti-fog capabilities. Which one you go for might depend on budget, as spherical tends to be more expensive. (Though if budget is no issue, then how about an in-built camera, GPS and music system, as available in some models?!)
Tints and VLT: Coloured lenses aren’t just for show. They’re inherently linked to performance, with different light conditions requiring different tints. To understand tints, you need to understand Visible Light Transmission (VLT). This is a percentage indicator of how much light makes it through the lens, helping you choose which tint will work for you. Basically, the lower the light conditions, the higher the VLT needs to be. So yellow tints, which have a high VLT (60-80%), optimize visibility in overcast conditions, whereas black tints work best in bright sunlight, as they reduce glare.
Switch Them Up: Part of the thrill of skiing is the changeability of conditions on the slopes – and you don’t want to be limited to one location only. If you want the flexibility of skiing at dawn and dusk, in Austria and Australia, then many goggles have detachable lenses, so you can switch between types. Just make sure that the mechanism is robust and simple to operate on the go.
Different brands work to different specifications, so it’s vital to read the details of each individual model carefully. Similarly, although wearing goggles has the potential to reduce your risk of having an accident, it’s essential to invest in a winter sports insurance that covers you in case of an eventuality. If you’re serious about hitting the slopes, only winter sports insurance has the power to bestow complete peace of mind.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual, family, business and winter sports insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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