We’ve packed away the last of the Christmas decorations, drank the last of the fizz from new year, and made – and broken – all of our resolutions. To offset the January Blues, we’re counting down the days until Spring arrives, bringing with it lighter nights, some much needed warmer weather (hopefully!) whilst planning our summer holiday getaway.
Speaking of getaways, we know a lot of you are heading off to the slopes soon, for some clean fresh air, beautiful scenery and lots of fresh powder snow. Although looking at some of the conditions throughout Europe at the moment, it may not be quite the holiday you were expecting!
A lot of our friends and customers are keen skiers, and here at Respectacle Company we get asked a lot of questions about the best eyewear protection for when you hit the slopes. With weather conditions changing continuously, it’s important to have the best protection possible, both to protect your eyes and improve your skiing.
An essential piece of kit for winter sport lovers, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing ski goggles and sunglasses for skiing and snowboarding.
Whether you opt for sunglasses or ski goggles will largely depend on the conditions. If it’s sunny and the conditions are fine, sunglasses are a good option. But ski goggles offer much better protection when it comes to protecting your eyes from bright light and wind. And it’s always advisable to wear goggles if it’s snowing, cloudy or foggy.
The most important aspect are the lenses. The system that houses the lenses are either a support system or a fashion statement to co-ordinate your outfit.
So let’s take a look at the things you need to consider when choosing your goggles or sunglasses.
You need to consider weather conditions and terrain. Are you skiing in full sun, or dull low light conditions? Do you mainly ski wide smooth trails or like the challenge of mogul fields and through trees? You need to achieve the best combination of colour definition, contrast, depth perception and the correct light transmission for the weather.
Light transmission is the amount of light the lens allows through the lens; the higher the percentage the lighter the tint, which in turn allows more light through the lens. For example, 15% light transmission would be a dark tint with 85% light absorption, allowing 15% light through the lens. So this would be good for bright sunny days. Reverse the figures and the lens would have a light tint, giving better colour and depth perception on dull and over cast conditions.
Different colour tints have different affects whilst skiing. In low light, yellow, gold, amber and rose-tinted lenses filter out blue light, giving you better contrast and emphasising shadowing in the snow, so you can avoid or head for the bumps. These tint colours are good for moderate light conditions.
If you’re dealing with bright light, copper, dark brown, grey and green allows your eyes to relax whilst giving good contrast in bright sunlight.
There are some manufacturers who are now offering either interchangeable lenses, so you can swap the lenses over depending on the light conditions, or photochromic lenses, so the lens changes the depth of tint dependent on the light conditions. But these tend to be only available in a grey or brown tint.
Polarised lenses reduce the amount of glare from the sunlight reflecting off the slopes, which is great on bright sunny days. But not so great when the conditions are dull or cloudy and there are long shadows across the snow, as the tints used tend to be dark. In low light conditions, polarised lenses will make things appear darker than they are.
Ultraviolet light protection
Ultraviolet light protection is a must. We can’t stress this enough. You wouldn’t go out in strong sunshine without protection for your skin, so you should protect your eyes from UVA and UVB. Over exposure to these rays is not good. In the short term, over exposure will burn and is painful, but also ultraviolet light can permanently damage your eyes and may lead to cataracts and other eye diseases. Ensure that the ski goggles or sunglasses will block 100 percent UVA and UVB light, they should be marked with this protection.
Once you have decided on the type, tint, etc. of lenses you need to consider the shape, as different curves will give different peripheral vision, you need to try them on and check the vision from all angles. You don’t want to be cut up by a reckless snowboarder! And whilst you’re checking the vision you need to check the fit. Make sure the goggles fit snuggly but are not uncomfortably tight. Check the vents to ensure you won’t steam up and also make sure that the goggles are compatible with your ski helmet.
There is so much to consider when it comes to eyewear protection for your favourite winter sport. Which is why it’s important to talk to the seller about what your needs are and to try on before you buy.
If you need prescription ski goggles or sunglasses, pop into the shop and we can talk you through the different options available, including our fabulous range of Adidas prescription eyewear. Or you might want to give contact lenses a try instead. Give us a call on 01858 433 577 and we’ll do our best to help find the right solution for you.
Wherever you’re going on your ski trip, have a good time and enjoy the snow. Hopefully it won’t be as eventful as our last ski trip, which included one dislocated knee (relocated on the slopes, ouch!) an overnight hospital stay and a broken boiler when we arrived home!