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Goggles used for skiing and snowboarding provide an all-important safety element and allow the rider to see clearly in certain conditions. It is important to purchase the right goggles for your type of activity and the anticipated weather conditions.
When choosing a pair of goggles, you should consider many features before making a purchase. The basic determining factors for both style and features in goggles are slope conditions and activity level. Look for models that offer full UV protection and will be compatible with your helmet.
Bring your helmet or favorite beanie to the store to get an accurate fit
Strap the goggles on snugly over your helmet or hat
The feel of the face foam should be consistent all the way around the goggle, without uncomfortable pressure points
There shouldn't be any gaps for air to flow through and dry out your eyes
Check to make sure your goggles are helmet compatible -- they fit securely on your face while you are wearing your helmet, without being stretched or bent to fit over or around the helmet
Goggle Frame Features
The goggle frames should be constructed from a flexible material
Look for frame vents (foam-covered holes) that allow air to flow through the goggles, keeping the lenses fog-free
Goggle Lens Features
Double lenses prevent fogging and create a thermal barrier to keep you warm
Cylindrical double lenses provide good optics for a reasonable price
Spherical double lenses provide superior optics and fog-free vision
Polycarbonate lens material is generally the most durable
Look for an anti-scratch/anti-fog coating on the lenses
Goggle Lens Colors
A mirror coating on the lens won't affect the color through which you are looking. For example, a pink lens may have a silver or blue mirror coating, but it is still a pink lens and will filter light accordingly.
Clear lenses are best for extremely stormy conditions or for riding at night
Lemon (yellow) lenses are best for stormy conditions and overcast days. They increase contrast and brighten up the landscape
Vermillon (pink) lenses increase contrast in most conditions. This lens with a silver mirror is ideal for most riding conditions
Citrus (orange) lenses also increase contrast and are great for bright days. Choose an option with a mirror to get a darker lens for the brightest conditions
Purple lenses are good in low-light conditions such as overcast and snowy days, because they bring out shadows and contours in flat light
Modulator or photochromic lenses change from a light pink/orange to a dark pink/orange depending upon the light conditions. They are a very light, high-contrast color for stormy weather and dark enough for the brightest days
Polarized goggle lenses can cut the glare that reflects from snow or ice
Goggle Performance Tips
Always store your goggles in their protective pouch
Clean the outside of your goggle lenses with fresh water and a soft cloth
Never wipe the inside of your goggle lenses; it can affect the anti-fog coating. If you get snow or ice inside your goggles, shake them out to remove the snow, then put them back on and keep riding. As you ride, the lenses will air-dry
To keep your goggles from fogging, keep them on your face. There is a dynamic balance between the cold dry air outside your goggles and the warm moist air inside, managed by the thermal barrier that the double lens creates. When you take the goggles off your head while waiting in line or on the lift, they will likely fog up when you put them back on. The best way to get rid of this minor fog is to keep riding; the airflow will dissipate the moisture
Choosing The Right Snowboard Helmets
Besides adding comfort and boosting performance on the slopes, helmets provide an all-important safety element. Here are the basics to help you choose the styles best suited to your activity and the prevailing weather conditions.
Most helmets designed for wintersport use are appropriate for both skiing and snowboarding
The type of activity--be it recreational or competitive participation--as well as the terrain and your own personal preference should determine the snowboard helmet that best suits your needs
If you plan to snowboard in warm spring conditions or in temperate locales, or if you tend to work up a sweat, consider a helmet with good ventilation that will provide airflow and thus add to your overall comfort
Non-ventilated snowboard helmets restrict airflow and are generally preferable for wet, snowy, or extremely cold conditions
Most snowboard helmets have a UV stabilized polycarbonite shell that provides high strength and light weight
The helmet interior is usually made of expanded, double-density polystyrene (18mm) with additional lining for comfort and protection
Full vs. Open Faced Helmets
Generally, full-face helmets are designed for competition--such as speed and slalom events--in which the wearer is at higher risk of falling forward or hitting objects straight-on
Open-face helmets are more common--and less cumbersome--for recreational use
Many snowboard helmets come with a built-in visor, and those that don't often accept visor attachments
Oftentimes, it is easier to fit goggles to helmets that don't have a built-in visor, but you should check a model's specifications to be sure
Visors can cut overhead glare, and can help protect your face in wet or windy weather
The type of snowboard helmet style you purchase depends on how and where you snowboard.
Full Shell Helmets
Full shell models provide complete coverage and seal out wind, precipitation and other elements normally encountered on the slopes
Some also have venting to help regulate temperature
These are recommended if you are planning to do a lot of tricks or some faster snowboarding
Short shell models offer comparable protection to full shell styles, but give less coverage and have a less armored and constrictive feel
Many include venting and removable liners
Buy this type of helmet if you are uncomfortable with the full helmet
Competition helmets feature densely padded liners, structured open ear zones inside the shell, and add-on jaw pieces for speed and slalom events
This may be too much if you are strictly a recreational snowboarder, but are highly recommended if you plan on some serious competition downhilling
Youth helmets are simply proportioned to smaller heads and bodies
Look for the same safety standards as adult helmets
Most have pads that can be inserted or taken out to adjust to a child's head size
How to Fit a Helmet
A properly fitted snowboard helmet will be tight but comfortable and provide maximum protection and performance
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