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Ski Goggle Buying Guide:

Ski goggles are a sometimes overlooked, but massively important part of any skiers winter wardrobe. Protecting the eyes from harmful rays should be a priority for both skiers and snowboarders, but ski goggles are equally important when just enjoying a holiday in the mountains. Often chosen to compliment an outfit or match with an existing helmet, choosing the right goggle should be more than just a consideration on colour and pattern. Ensuring a good fit should be the priority, with many technical features added to ensure the best levels of visibility and protection.

Ski Goggles / Snowboard Goggles

Many skiers try to make do with a pair of sunglasses, and although this is sufficient for a stroll après ski, it simply won't offer the required protection when skiing or snowboarding. The sun's rays are harmful to the eyes and therefore protecting from these rays is the main role of any goggle. As the altitude increases the stronger the UV light becomes, and the more harmful this can be. Snow is also highly reflective and therefore this intensifies the brightness. Goggles play another vital role on the mountains, offering a physical barrier between the eye and any foreign objects, including snow. Sunglasses will not stop snow from entering around the eye, and therefore the full face seal of the goggle is the better choice in this environment.

Goggles are designed to be worn is the challenging conditions found on the slopes, and therefore not only function superbly in the bright sunny conditions all skiers hope for, but equally well in the challenging low light environment that can often plague every mountain day. Flat light is among the trickiest of conditions on the slopes. Visibility and contrast are dramatically reduced by the snow, or low cloud cover, making the horizon seemingly disappear from site. Hazards become more hidden and the terrain instantly becomes that much more dangerous. The right selection of goggle and lens at this stage makes all the difference. Category 1 and 2 Lenses offer a far higher level of light transmission. These goggles are often worn in brighter conditions, but we would strongly advise against this. The lens is crafted to enhance low light levels, and therefore in bright conditions can actually make it harder to see.

It doesn't matter which brand you choose all our goggles offer full protection from UVA and UVB light. UVA is the lower energy light but penetrates more deeply than UVB. UVB is stronger and is the light which causes most damage to the eyes. One thing you must be careful of is snow blindness. This can be thought of like sun burn of the eyes, and much like sunburn only shows after the event, with symptoms including stinging eyes and an increased production of tears.

Lens Suitability and Category Ratings

Very bright and sunny conditions

Lens to use: Category 4 with a lower light transmission.
Very dark tint, for use in exceptional levels of strong sunlight

Bright conditions

Lens to use: Category 3
Dark tint, for use in strong sunlight, including light which is reflected off water and snow.

Variable conditions

Lens to use: Category 2
These lenses are suitable for most light conditions except the very brightest and very dull days. They are very versatile and the most popular lens.

Low light and snow conditions

Lens to use: Category 0-1 with a much higher light transmission.
Light tint, perfect for very low light conditions.

Key Technologies

Polarized Lens

A polarizer is an optical filter that passes light of a specific polarization and blocks waves of other polarizations. On the slopes this translates to a removal of glare, reduction in reflections and a clearer crisper viewing experience. The eyes can focus on the main features without the distractions of other light sources catching the eye.

Photochromic lenses

Photochromic lenses change colour instantly in reaction to the light they absorb. In the brightest conditions they block the equivalent of a category 3 lens, but when the conditions turn a little more tricky the lens can perform in line with a category 1 lens.

OTG (Over the glasses)

Many people have a need to wear a prescription glass under their goggles, and these goggles have been designed with exactly that in mind. With a slightly more spacious fit in front of the eye, and foam cut outs at the sides for the arms, you can slip these goggles on over your prescription glasses and ski with complete clarity.


Preventing your goggles from fogging up inside is essential to maintain visibility, so venting around the goggle ensures your goggles stay clear. As you work harder your face is a source of heat, and inside the restricted airflow of a goggle this can quickly fog up a glass. Make sure your goggles are teamed up with a corresponding helmet, as the airflow channels are often choreographed to work in unison, giving ventilation though the helmet and across the face.

Double Lens

Working like double glazing for the eyes, a double lens offers a thermal barrier between the cold dry outside conditions and the warm humid conditions inside the goggle. This barrier prevents fogging up and the risk of ice freezing on the inside lens.

Helmet and Goggle Integration

When goggles are worn with a helmet, it's essential that the fit is not affected by the helmet. All our goggle straps, regardless of brand, are fully adjustable to compliment the helmet being worn. The straps will extend right over the top, but the frame must also allow for this extra width. The hinges at the side of the goggles are known as outriggers, and these help to widen the goggle when a helmet is being work to allow the goggles to sit flush to the face.

Cylindrical or Spherical

With two differing types of lens shape to choose from the decision can often be a daunting one. The traditional style that appears ‘flat' is a cylindrical lens. It is generally curved to give the best fit around the face. With advancement in manufacturing methods and technologies lenses have now been able to be crafted and shaped to both vertically and horizontally creating a spherical lens. The spherical lens produces better optical clarity as the theory is it is shaped like the human eye so will allow for less distortion and therefore a better field of view.

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Surfanic International Ltd