How to Prevent Ski Goggles Fogging Up

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Are your ski goggles fogging up? It’s not only annoying but dangerous for your ability to ski or snowboard safely down the mountain.

The best way to prevent ski goggles from fogging up is to invest in a quality pair of spherical lenses that sit further from your face and have excellent ventilation. The next best thing is to keep snow off the vents and not have your balaclava tucked up inside or moisture will get trapped.  

The problem

It’s cold, the snow is falling and the wind is blowing. You’re carving up some fresh lines and then out of the blue, your vision starts getting all blurry. You can’t see a thing, so you take your goggles off and wipe them with your gloves and now its even worse – smeared water droplets.

So you sigh and then decided to take your goggles off your face and put them on your forehead and ski down the rest of the slope with cold squinting eyes taking on high-speed projectiles of snow every few seconds.

Sound familiar? Time to banish goggle fog forever so you don’t have to suffer this scenario over and over again.

The science

Fogging occurs when water vapor inside your goggles condense into droplets of water and build-up on the surface of the lens, reflecting light and obscuring your vision.

Water vapor condenses into condensation when the more humid and warmer air on the inside of the lenses comes into contact with the cold lens. When the difference in temperature is too high, your goggles will get foggy.

ski goggle fog science
When warm air meets cold.

Top tips to stop foggy goggles

After countless hours of research, distilling what works for others as well as my own experience on the mountain; here is my most important wisdom for staying fog-free.

#1 Invest in a quality pair of goggles

I know it’s probably not what you want to hear. Especially if you’ve just bought a pair, but the truth is ski goggles are not made equal. Some goggles are prone to fog up, while others are incredibly fog-less no matter the conditions.

I know from experience, I’ve used cheap ski goggles and expensive ski goggles and it’s true there is a difference. Not all cheap ski goggles are bad, but many don’t have very good anti-fog coatings and efficient vents.

Your best bet when buying goggles is to pay attention to the reviews as well as looking out for these key features:

Spherical lenses: are larger which gives you a greater field of view and also sit further away from your face which makes them much less likely to fog up (more space for heat to dissipate and lens surface further from your the warm of your face.).

Double-layered lenses: some cheap goggles have a single rather than a double layer lens which creates a thermal barrier and acts as a powerful anti-fog mechanism.

Ventilation: Goggles with good ventilation fog up less because warm air can escape more easily, keeping the temperature stable enough so that warm air won’t condense onto the lens.

Anti-fog coatings: While most goggles promise anti-fog, they don’t all deliver. Mid-high end goggles tend to have better coatings that help prevent condensation from forming and water droplets are more likely to run off rather than stick. Unfortunately, there is no anti-fog rating to determine this when buying goggles.

Oakley Men's Flight Deck
Oakley Men’s Flight Deck – Check Price on Amazon.

P.S I wrote a free 4,000+ word buyers guide to ski goggles.

#2 Don’t overheat

As we’ve learned it’s internal body heat that comes up from our clothing and out from our face that warms the air inside the ski goggles and causes vapor to condense, so the best thing we can do is not overheat.

Clearly, you need to stay warm on the mountain, but there is no need to be sweating. Skiing and snowboarding is a physically intense activity, so even when it’s freezing outside – it’s easy to overheat, sweat and release vapor up and out towards out goggles.

#3 Don’t tuck in your balaclava

ski goggles fog

Neck warmers, balaclavas or gaiters are great to keep warm but don’t tuck them inside your goggles as moisture and hot air will travel up from your mouth and into the bottom of your goggles, increasing the likelihood of fogging issues. If it’s really cold out, tuck the smallest amount of material possible to cover your nose, but not so that it sits completely between the foam padding.

#4 Keep your goggles off your bare forehead

Putting your goggles onto your hat or helmet is fine, but if your goggles site directly on your forehead, the heat will likely cause them to fog up.

It’s better to put them inside your jacket pocket. The internal heat on both sides of the lens will also help to clear any condensation that has built up.

#5 Shake snow from the vents

If it’s snowing heavily, or you’ve whipped up some powder over yourself, snow can easily settle on the top or stick to the bottom of your google without you realizing.

Nod your head back and forth or take them off and give them a good shake to remove any snow that might be stopping heat from escaping.

skier smiling
Photo by John Johnston

#5 No smudges

If you faceplant into a bank of snow, or you get some spots of drops on your lens, avoid the temptation to stroke it off with your fingers. Your glove or finger will only smear it and make it worse.

Not only that, but dirt particles attract more condensation and the goggle will then be more likely to fog up. Always have the small soft cloth inside your jacket that came with the goggle – and use that to dab the lens (rather than wipe). Make sure it’s dry as a wet cloth will make smear just like your finger.

If your goggle is seriously covered in snow, then you’ll need to shake, dab and wait for them to dry off. You can weight a) Swap to a backup pair of goggles that you would normally use in different light condition (if you’re that well prepared), b) allow them to dry on your forehead or c) use a hand dryer at the toilet.

#6 Have two lenses

While this is a more expensive option, it’s worth having two pairs of goggles or one pair of goggles with interchangeable lenses. Not only is having two lenses going to give you maximum visibility across a range of weather conditions it will also give you a spare google to use while the other dries off or de-fogs.

The reason why two lenses are better than one is that different googles block out more or less light depending on the VLT (visible light transmission). Lenses that block out more light have a lower VLT and are better for bright sunny days while lenses that have a higher VLT let in more light and are great for cloudy days with flat light or to wear in the evening shade.

While a google with a mid-range VLT will work fine for most conditions it won’t provide optimum clarity of vision. Two lenses give you more flexibility to ski or snowboard throughout the day no matter whether it rains or shines.

Alongside VLT, different lenses have different tint colors that exaggerate certain colors and block our others. This helps to improve definition and contrast across the light spectrum, from bright to flat light. In low visibility, the definition becomes paramount as the sky and ground start to blend together.

My top pick is the Smith I/OX with ChromoPop which are top of the range goggles that always come with two pairs of lenses. Check Price on Amazon

Smith Optics I/OX Goggle – Check Price on Amazon

Let’s recap:

✅Invest in quality googles
✅Don’t overheat.
✅Don’t tuck in your balaclava
✅Keep your goggles off your bare forehead
✅Shake snow from the vents
✅Have two lenses

What to avoid:

❌Cheap google with ineffective anti-fog coatings
❌Getting hot and sweaty.
❌Sending moisture or hot air into your goggles
❌Having snow block your air vents
❌Not having a backup, even if it’s a pair of sunglasses.

fog-free ski lens
Your author on the first run of the day. Sierra Neveda

How to stop fogging while wearing glasses?

inserts
Inserts reduce fogging compared with wearing standard spectacles.

If you’re wearing glasses beneath your goggles then fogging is likely to be more of an issue simply because you have two lenses to deal with.

Because glasses sit closer to your face and typically don’t have any anti-fog coatings, they are much more likely to fog up.

You’ll need to be more cautious about overheating and keeping your vents clear. Having large, wide spherical goggles becomes more of a priority and will help prevent your frames from getting bent out of shape – look for OTG ‘Over the Glasses’ googles.

Another option is to use glasses inserts instead of your regular frames. These are armless lenses that work with any pair of goggles and will give you a wider field of vision. They also sit further forward and away from your face, which means fogging becomes less likely.

I wrote a whole guide to skiing with glasses. Check it out, it goes into much more depth and gives you solid practical advice. 

Best Overall Ski Goggles.

If you’re looking my overall pick for the best ski goggles – read my in-depth review for this season.

ski goggles

Best ski goggles for low light?

Read my full reviews here

Best ski goggles for kids?

Read my guide to kids ski goggles

Final thoughts

Despite what you might hear or have experienced, it’s possible to ski all day and not get fog up. As long as you don’t overheat, have a dry soft cloth to hand and follow my advice above you should be fine.

Enjoy the fresh mountain air and stay safe.

Author: Simon Naylor

Hi – I’m Simon, I started NewToSki.com to write about everything I wish someone had told me when I started learning to ski.