The world’s best slopes create awe-inspiring alpine scenery, attracting thousands of tourists and millions of dollars for their local economies.
But to see it, and the conditions below your feet – consumers need goggles that enable the highest-quality optics and resolutions.
And skiers and snowboarders are willing to pay for the best, according to general manager at Jackson Hole Sports in Wyoming, Larry Hartenstein.
Hartenstein, also a ski obsessive, says as lens technologies advance, ‘goggle companies are all chasing the same thing: increased definition and matching the curvature of our eyes,’ according to the Wall Street Journal.
The latest generation of ski goggles is a race to see which company invests in technology that enables every inch of beautiful imagery to be seen in high definition.
The most serious of skiers and snowboarders always carry two pairs of lenses – one for combating the potentially eye-damaging glare of bluebird days, and another yellow lens for highlighting bumps and drops in terrain when it’s overcast and powdery.
Oakley’s Prizm Persimmon Lens, in an orange tint, works well in both conditions.
In creating the product, the globally leading lens brand developed a lens that allows just 37 per cent of natural light in – enough to highlight the terrain ahead for an owner in low light conditions but also still protecting the eyes when the sun comes in shining.
The utilitarian colour works well ‘no matter what’s going on out there,’ Hartenstein, who has skied at over 180 global resorts, told the publication.
The Oakley Prizm Persimmon Lens retails for US $160 and can be purchased from their official website.
Smith Optics, also a reliable goggle and lens maker, extended the below-the-eyes curves of its latest 4D MAG goggles lens shape to expand users’ vertical field by up to 25 per cent – a significant development in the field.
The advancement could see less injuries resulting from short-sightedness and reduce owners bending their neck just to see their skis or snowboard beneath them.
According to Hartenstein, the deepened perspective helps owners carve down the mountain seamlessly and more efficiently.
But a warning – the slight fishbowl effect distorts the users’ vision when eyes glance toward the edges of the lens. Owners will undoubtedly adjust to the slight distortion but are urged to try to keep their gaze forward the first time they take on high-altitude summits.
But on the up side, the elimination of your – perhaps – bulky figure in your periphery, Smith’s creative design helps to focus on the line ahead.
The Smith Optics 4D MAG Goggles retail for US $280 and can be purchased on their official website.
Zeal Optics has also jumped on the innovation side of lens development, with releasing the Zeal Optics Beacon Goggles, inspired by a bird’s-eye view of peaks.
Featuring what the company calls ‘Observation Deck Technology,’ the frame is positioned further away from the user’s forehead but presses tighter against cheeks to pitch the lens forward on a 10-degrree angle.
The slight change in lens positioning significantly expands the user’s peripheral vision while also reducing the number of distracting reflections that can bounce back at the rider.
‘By reducing the glare off of the snow, you’re going to increase the amount of definition you can see,’ Hartenstein said.
The Zeal Optics Beacon Goggles sell for US $129 and can be purchased on its official website from September 2020.
If only these impressive goggle companies could create an innovation to counter the notorious goggle-tan.