They feel huge, some of them look quite spacy and sometimes you wonder if the person behind them can see anything through these colorful glass lenses. But why do the lenses have to be so colorful? Is it just design or is it function?
We have collected the most important facts about ski goggles, so that you have a better overview of the different functions when shopping. Of course, appearance is important, but it is crucial to have the right lenses on your nose!
Ski Goggles not only complete the outfit and are a fashion accessory, they also effectively protect our eyes from external influences. To ensure that the protection is really there, all Ski Goggles are tested according to the EN 174 standard.
First, the light transmission (light transmittance) in the visible range is determined. The classification is made into the following filter categories:
- Level 0 = 80-100% light transmittance
- Level 1 = 43-80% light transmittance
- Level 2 = 18-43% light transmittance
- Level 3 = 8-18% light transmittance
- Level 4 = 3-8% light transmittance
The glasses are also subject to strict requirements for protection against UV radiation.
Especially on the mountain this is very important. In addition to UVA, UVB and UVC protection, the goggles should therefore also protect against the dangerous blue light.
The lenses continue to be tested for their mechanical strength. Especially in case of a fall, ski poles and other objects can quickly become a danger. It is therefore important that the lens provides adequate protection, does not break and does not detach from the frame. Furthermore, the lenses must not have any distorting effect and must be water and snow tight.
The lenses are primarily distinguished between cylindrical and spherical lenses. These are single or double curved. Spherical lenses have a better appearance, but their purchase price is also much higher.
Only those who have a clear view in all lighting conditions can set their swings precisely and avoid possible obstacles. That’s why there is a suitable tint for the most diverse weather conditions to enhance contrasts and support the eye in its perception. While dark tints such as black, grey and brown are suitable for sunny conditions, blue, purple, red and pink are suitable for slightly cloudy skies. Only when the conditions are really bad and fog and snowfall reduce visibility one should turn to yellow, orange or even transparent lenses. However, you can also infer the purpose of use from the filter category:
- Category 0 for heavy clouds and night skiing
- Category 1 for changing light and weather conditions
- Category 2 for sunny days with low cloudiness
- Category 3 for mainly sunshine
- Category 4 for bright sunshine and glaciers
Polarized lenses in the ski goggles also prevent the glare effect, which is further intensified by the surface of the snow. Depth perception is improved, making it easier to detect irregularities in the snow.
LENSE CHANGING SYSTEM
It is not uncommon to have fog with snowfall in the morning and bright sunshine and blue skies in the afternoon. If you don’t want extra glasses for different light conditions, you should look around at manufacturers who offer an interchangeable system. With most manufacturers it is sufficient to simply press out the lens and replace it with a different tint. Uvex offers with its Take-Off System an equally easy to handle solution: With the help of a mini-magnet, which is attached to both sides of the frame, the dark magnetic lens is simply fixed to the base lens of the ski goggles. If you want even more comfort, you should go for the glasses with Zebra or Cameleon lenses from Julbo. These lenses are self-tinting and change their protection level within approx. 20 seconds depending on the incidence of light.
With the meanwhile huge selection of sizes and shapes, the field of view also differs from model to model. It is therefore advisable to try out different shapes to get a feeling for the correct view.
Oakley and Smith Optics show that “a little bit more is allowed” with their high-end glasses Airwave and I/O Recon. Here, information such as speed, slope, altitude and temperature are projected directly into the field of view by means of a complex prism technology and the glasses display the current cell phone playlist and incoming calls or SMS via Bluetooth.
Who is not familiar with it: During a rapid downhill run or in spring you start sweating and in the lift you get cold again. Just like a good ski helmet, the ski goggles must therefore always provide a pleasant climate. Various ventilation inlets ensure an exchange of air, let warm air escape and dissipate the wind accordingly.
Since the wind does not cool during short breaks on the piste and the body heat causes the goggles to mist up, so-called antifog coatings are another quality feature of good ski goggles. This is the only way to always have a clear view – even in adverse weather conditions.
There are also ski goggles that have been specially developed for people who wear glasses (OTG – over the glass) and can be worn over corrective glasses. They are slightly larger in size and usually have lateral cut-outs in the foam so that the temples of the goggles can find their place. Julbo also offers so-called “Optic Clips”, which are fitted directly by the optician with the individual vision and then clipped into the ski goggles.
A crucial factor to pay attention to is the helmet compatibility. The frame of the ski goggles should fit into the recess of the helmet and be flush with the face. The gap between goggles and helmet should not be too large. Silicone strips on the inside of the band prevent slipping and provide a secure hold. Ideally, you should choose the same manufacturer for both goggles and helmet.
THE AGONY OF CHOICE
If the ski goggles are not comfortable or do not fit optimally, then it is not the right one – no matter how beautiful the design is. When trying on the goggles, you should therefore pay attention to a few points to find out which goggles fit: To do this, shake your head vigorously in all directions. The lenses should not slip or press uncomfortably. It has proven to be a good idea to wear the lenses for a few minutes to test them, since only with time do possible pressure points become apparent. Furthermore, the headband should be flexible and easy to adjust.
THE RIGHT CARE
If the inside of the window is wet, never rub with a cloth or gloves, as this will destroy the anti-fog coating and the lens will become matt. It is better to tap the glasses out and let them dry. If you want to continue driving, you can dab the lens dry with a fuzz-free cloth if necessary. For this purpose, the usually supplied spectacle bag is suitable.