Ski goggles or sunglasses are an essential piece of kit for any winter sport whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned skier or snowboarder.
Eyewear is important for protecting your eyes from the sun and snow glare. At high altitude UV rays are stronger (as there is less atmosphere to filter them) and the sun’s reflection off the snow is much brighter. Ski goggles and sunglasses also provide protection from falling snow and wind when whizzing down the slopes.
The choice between wearing ski goggles or sunglasses for skiing will more often than not depend on the conditions.
Sunglasses are well suited if it is sunny and the conditions are good. Goggles will however provide better coverage all round protecting your eyes from the wind as well as bright light. If it is cloudy, foggy or snowy goggles will offer better protection than sunglasses.
For this reason it is recommended that you always take goggles on a ski trip so you are prepared for all conditions. Whether you pack sunglasses as well will be a matter of personal preference. Many skiers and snowboarders like to wear sunglasses when the weather is fair and switch to ski goggles if the conditions deteriorate (it is a good idea to carry both with you as weather conditions can change quickly and frequently).
Many people find that as ski goggles fit closer to the face they are also inherently warmer than sunglasses, important if it will be particularly cold.
Goggles and sunglasses are both given a UV filter category. The main purpose of sun glare filters is to protect the eyes from harmful solar radiation such as UV. Try to choose ski goggles or sunglasses with a minimum filter category of 3 to ensure your eyes are suitably protected on the slopes. A filter category of 2 is suitable for kids as a filter category 3 can impede their vision in low light.
Mountain Warehouse ski goggles and sunglasses offer 100% protection from UVA, UVB and UVC rays cutting out most glare from the sun and snow.
Polarised lenses will reduce the glare from light reflected from the surface of the snow, whilst increasing contrast. This prevents your vision from being strained and impaired. Polarised lenses may not be suitable for use in low light as they can make things appear darker than they are.
The colour of the lens also needs to be taken into consideration. Dark lenses, such as grey, dark brown or mirrored, are best for bright, sunny conditions. Pink, yellow or green lens are suited for days where there is poor visibility. Amber lenses are particularly helpful for depth perception, making bumps and different surfaces easier to distinguish.
Goggle lenses can be cylindrical or spherical. A spherical, or curved, lens will provide better peripheral vision and mean less distortion. Goggles with spherical lenses will often be more expensive than those with cylindrical lenses.
If you wear contact lenses you may find that sunglasses do not offer enough protection to prevent your lenses from drying out. If you choose to wear glasses, opposed to contact lenses, opt for ski goggles that are a size bigger to accommodate the glasses whilst still offering you protection from the sun.
Condensation can occur as warm air (your breath) condenses on the colder surface of goggles and sunglasses. Sunglasses will tend to fog up more than goggles.
Goggles will have a ventilated frame which means there’s an air vent and the top and bottom of the frames to allow air to flow through. Ventilated frames and anti-fog treatment will help prevent the lenses from fogging up. Double layered lenses act as another barrier to internal fogging.
If ski goggles are fitted correctly they should not fog up. Make sure they fit tightly to your face and the vents at the top of the goggles are not blocked by headwear such as hats and head tubes.