How to Choose a Lens for Snowboarding Googles

How to Choose a Lens for Snowboarding Googles
Choosing the proper goggle lens for a day of snowboarding is more important than it might sound. Planning the correct lens (or series of lenses) will allow you to better see the slopes and ride more effectively. Choose the wrong lens color, and you'll have a difficult time clearly identifying and maneuvering around mountain features.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Decide where you will spend most of your time snowboarding, and consider the type of conditions the area generally experiences. Some resorts experience a majority of bluebird days, but some experience regular snow and overcast conditions. Check with the specific resort to see what the average weather is like during the ski season. Also consider the time of day you'll ride: morning, mid-afternoon, evening or after dark.
Step 2
Pick a lens color based on the conditions. In general, snowboard lens colors are intuitive--the darker the lens, the more light that it blocks. The darkest black and brown lenses are suitable for bright conditions, and light yellow goggles are good for darker, stormy conditions. Clear goggles are best for very dark evening and night riding. If you're unsure about what conditions a specific lens color is designed for, ask the shop staff or refer to the manufacturer's guidelines. Manufacturers use different color names and should provide a thorough overview of exactly what the lens tint is designed for.
Step 3
Opt for a versatile lens. In some cases, conditions might be too unpredictable to purchase one lens. In this case, you could purchase a whole variety of goggles or interchangeable lenses, or you could aim for a lens that offers versatile performance in a variety of conditions. Orange ski goggle lenses are designed to work in various light conditions and help to increase contrast. Lighter shades, such as vermillion (orangish-pink), are good for when conditions lean toward lower light, and darker oranges will stand up better to bright light. If you find that one lens is insufficient, you can always purchase additional lenses later.
Step 4
Shop for photochromic lenses, which change color based upon the light conditions. These are excellent for boarders who ride through trees and evening shadows and constantly experience changing light conditions, even in steady weather. On the negative side, they're more expensive than single-color lenses.
Step 5
Check for mirrored and polarized lenses. These features help to cut glare in the brightest conditions, so if you're riding at a resort that advertises bluebird days all winter long, you should consider purchasing lenses with these qualities to decrease glare off the snow and enhance vision.
Step 6
Look for double-lens designs. Goggles use double lenses to help prevent fog. Fog is a common problem that occurs on the slopes and can impede your ability to see and ride. The less likely you are to have fogging issues, the better. Double lenses will be more expensive than single-lens goggles.
Step 7
Compare spherical vs. cylindrical lenses. Spherical lenses deliver the best clarity but will cost more than cylindrical lenses.
Step 8
Fit the goggles. Although this is more a function of the goggles than the lens, getting the correct fit will keep you comfortable and safe. The goggles should be snug and comfortable after tightening the straps and sit right below your hat or helmet. Make sure that you have plenty of peripheral vision and that the goggles don't hinder your sight.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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