Ski goggles can almost work against you in low-light conditions. When visibility is already low, due to storm clouds or fog, having dark goggles can further impair your vision and make navigation extremely difficult. To compound matters, goggle fogging, which often occurs during wet, overcast days, can really hamper your ability to see. Purchase a quality pair of low-light goggles or lenses and pack them on days visibility becomes a problem.
Smith Sensor Mirror Lenses
The design of Smith's Sensor Mirror tint is specifically for variable, low-light conditions. It allows 70 percent of visible light transmission and increases depth perception in flat light. Try a pair of goggles with these lenses. Look at the snow and you'll likely be able to see better than you do without goggles on. The author of this article has used these lenses on several overcast days and has found they provide stronger contrast and crispness than the naked eye. The Sensor Mirror lens is available on many Smith goggles. Consider the Turbo series, which includes a built-in fan designed to eliminate fogging. The Phenom Turbo received a five-star rating on Backcountry.com (15 reviews).
Oakley Persimmon Lenses
Persimmon is a reddish-orange lens tint also designed for low-light skiing. Like Smith's Sensor Mirror, Oakley's Persimmon lens tint increases depth perception in flat light. The lenses filter out the blue light to help increase contrast and boost visibility in a variety of low-light conditions. In 2007, Outside Online's Gear Guy recommended the Oakley A-Frames with persimmon lenses for flat-light skiing.
Zeal PPX Photochromic Lenses
On days when the clouds are hovering overhead and the sun peeks through, you have no idea what light conditions the fast-moving mountain weather will bring. You have two options: you can saddle yourself down with a full kit of different-colored goggles and lenses, or you can invest in a pair of photochromic lenses. Photochromic lenses intuitively adjust to light conditions, automatically darkening from a light tint when it's overcast to a darker tint when the sun comes out. Even on days when the weather is predictable, the light conditions change as the sun moves. Photochromic lenses help you maintain visibility without having to stop and change any hardware. The Zeal Link PPX goggles provide between 16 and 33 percent visible light transmission or 13 to 43 percent (limited edition Xtreme Low Light version). The polarized lenses prevent glare and anti-fog coating cuts the other visibility killer: fogging. The Link PPX earned a place in both Skiing Magazine's Best of Gear Guide 2008 and Outside Magazine's Best Winter Gear 2008.
The aforementioned goggles are excellent for overcast days, but if you plan to ski at night, you should consider investing in a pair of clear goggles. Clear goggles designed for night skiing provide visibility in the absence of sunlight. Be sure to pack a pair of clear goggles on any trip where the mountain offers twilight skiing.
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.