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As a new skier, you might be wondering if it’s really necessary to buy a pair of goggles. Here’s why the answer to that is ABSOLUTELY YES!
Goggles are an essential piece of kit and they help protect you from the cold, snow blindness, and UV damage & allow you to see better in all weather conditions from bright sun to heavy clouds.
Read on to learn more about the main benefits of a decent pair of ski goggles for your next ski trip.
1. UV Protection
Ski goggles provide 100% protection from harmful UV & UVB rays, across the entire ultraviolet spectrum. Too much exposure to high-intensity UV light can cause short-term & long-term damage to your eyes. Snow blindness occurs when your cornea becomes sunburnt through excessive exposure to UV light.
Light exposure is increased at high altitudes and the presence of snow magnifies the potency of the sun, and its potential to cause temporary blindness. Wearing ski goggles (with the correct tint) means you can ski for as many days as you wish without risk of snow blindness or long-term damage like cataracts or other eye diseases.
While sunglasses provide protection from UV, they are not sealed around the edges like goggles are, exposing you to indirect light. Moreover, the smaller frames protect less of your skin from UV damage and mean you have to remember put more sun cream over your face.
With a ski helmet & goggles combo, and a pull-up neck warmer that covers the lower part of your face – you only need to apply suncream over your exposed nose area. (More on how to prevent skier sunburn). Even on overcast days, UV bounces through the clouds and off the snow and into your eyes – which make ski goggles essential in almost all conditions.
2. Less Glare
Perhaps the biggest issue skiers face in terms of their visibility, is combating the sun’s glare. Goggles with dark lens tints minimize reflected glare and allow you to ski in bright and sunny days without squinting or damaging your eyes.
Advanced filters like polarised or photochromic lenses are even more effective at blocking glare. Polarised ski goggles reduce the bounce-back glare from the sunshine on sun and ice (some advise that because of this it may reduce your ability to spot patches of ice on the slope).
Overall from having used polarised lenses, I would say that the benefits of improved vision outweigh any negatives. Not all ski goggles are polarised so check before buying.
A more advanced feature is photochromic lenses which detect the amount of UV light present and change the tint automatically. The major benefit is that these goggles are truly adaptive and allow you to use the same pair of goggles in all conditions and still maintain excellent visibility.
3. More Contrast
Not only do you need glare reduced when you’re on the mountain in a sunny environment, but you also need improved contrast so that you can see dips in the slope before you ski over it.
Ski goggles enhance you’re what you see by providing greater contrast between objects and shadows. Different color tints improve your contrast in different conditions.
Bronze, Yellow & Orange works great.
Cloudy or Overcast Weather
Permission, Brown & Rose work well in the shade or more overcast conditions.
Grey works best in sunny (& some cloud) weather. Grey can be very light or dark in tint, to work in all opposite conditions. Blue can be adapted for both sun and dark conditions depending on what it is combined with. Similarly, the strength of the tint in the above examples can make it more or less suitable to different conditions.
Learn more about choosing the correct color tint for the right weather here. I go into depth about the different tints and show you how each lens tint looks.
4. Stay Warm
Ski goggles insulate your face against extreme cold and provide a shield for oncoming frigid mountain air. Whilst goggles do have vents to prevent fogging – the foam padding, size of the frame and large area of lens block wind and snow from reaching your eyes.
The insulated gap that sits between your face and the outside world keeps your face & eyes at a more comfortable temperature. When skiing without goggles, the movement of the wind and outside air will cause your eyes to water. Snow will collect on your eyelashes and hit your eye, reducing your visibility significantly.
Ski goggles protect you from hurting or damaging your eyes during a collision or crash. Blunt objects, your own skis or rocks can smack you in the face during a crash or accident and may lead to eye damage.
Whilst ski goggles are not a force field, the extra bit of protection from the lens is more effective than wearing just sunglasses. Not only is there a greater area of your face protected with ski goggles over sunglasses, but the foam padding around the edges provides better protection.
Tree branches can be deadly at speed and having a protective barrier between your delicate eyes and the outside world is a wise move.
6. Better Fit
Goggles provide great all-around protection and a superior fit when combined with a ski helmet. All ski helmets have a clip at the back that secures the goggle strap, which means your goggles are much less likely to come off while skiing or be lost during transport.
If you’re still undecided about buying a helmet. read my article on the topic: 5 Essential Reasons to Wear a Ski Helmet.
Do You Wear Glasses?
If you wear glasses there are few options. You can either wear your normal spectacles underneath larger goggles or special OTG “Over the Glasses” goggles that are bigger and won’t squash your face or bend your frame.
Another option is to buy spectacle inserts that fit at the front of normal goggles. While a third but popular option is to wear single-use contact lenses beneath your goggles.
I go into much more depth, compare the pros and cons and explain how to stay fog-free in my article: Skiing With Glasses: Ultimate Guide.
How to Stop Goggles Fogging Up?
This is an issue that plagues many skiers. The most important thing to remember is that not all goggles are equal. It’s better to save yourself hours of hassle by investing in a quality pair with a strong anti-fog lens. If you’re interested I wrote a whole guide to stop goggles fogging up.
Best Overall Ski Goggles
If you’re looking my overall pick for the best ski goggles – read my in-depth review for this season.
Best Ski Goggles for Kids?
Read my guide to kids ski goggles.
Best Ski Goggles for Low Light?
Read my full reviews here.
Modern ski goggles are lightweight, and robust and help you see better and stay safe on the mountain. It’s wise to invest in a good pair that will last for many seasons. Look for ski goggles that have quality lenses, anti-fogging features, and a lens tint that matches your usual ski conditions.
Ski goggles come in a range of shapes and sizes from kids to oversized. The perfect best ski goggles are the ones you don’t notice. A good fit is snug but doesn’t put undue pressure on your face.
If you want to know the most important features to look out for when you buy a new pair of ski goggles, check out my in-depth guide on the topic: Ski Goggles – Buyer’s Guide for Beginners. It explains why spherical are better than cylindrical lenses and the major reasons to choose a specific tint over another.