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How to Choose The Right Snow Goggle Lens

Choosing the right snow goggle lens

Arguably, goggle lenses are the most important thing when it comes to choosing goggles . Not only do they keep the elements out and your eyes clear, but they also do this magical thing where they can actually make you see clearer through a range of different conditions. Lenses are also the biggest factor in differentiating between goggles. Thankfully, there are so many different lenses on the market now that allow you to see and perform at your best no matter what mother-nature throws at you.

All Lenses are not created equally

Cylindrical vs. Spherical Lenses

There are two different types of lenses – Cylindrical & Spherical. Cylindrical lenses are vertically flat whilst curved horizontally. These kinds of lenses are an extremely cost effective entry into the lens market, and depending on the color/use of the lens will still produce very effective performance.

Spherical lenses are curved both horizontally and vertically, meaning you will not experience any distortion around the edges of the lens at all – essentially they mimic the lens of the human eye. Although a little more expensive, they also provide more peripheral vision as they are inherently larger than cylindrical lenses. There is also slightly more depth between your face and the lens. This gives you more insulation and air-flow through the vents at the top of the goggle, helping to reduce the chance of fogging.

Lens Tints and their Functions

There are so many different lens tints and colors available, that choosing the right one for the conditions can sometimes become a little overwhelming! Firstly, you need to decipher what kind of conditions you’ll be skiing/riding in the most; whether it’s sunny only, overcast/cloudy, or somewhere in between. Secondly, although one lens color might match your frame or helmet better, each lens tint has distinct advantages in differing conditions.

Some lenses are designed to perform better in low light conditions, allowing more Visible Light Transmission (VLT) through the lens. Low Light lenses will allow somewhere between 60-90% VLT and generally will be Rose, Yellow or Blue tints. Clear lenses are excellent for night time skiing/riding, but do not add enough extra contrast through the lens for day time overcast days.

Some lenses are far better for sunny conditions too – allowing less VLT through the lens and cutting out glare. These may range from 5-20% VLT and often come in Dark Grey, Black or Gold and will usually have a mirrored finish. Obviously, there’s a huge middle range in between these highlight and lowlight lenses and that’s where a good all round lens comes in.

"I know what you’re thinking – what happens if the conditions change suddenly? We’re in Australia"

Quick Lens Change Systems

I know what you’re thinking – what happens if the conditions change suddenly? We’re in Australia – you never know what you might get in 5 minutes time! Luckily, almost every goggle on the market now has the ability to change the lens. Often higher end goggles will also come with two different kinds of lenses. Although a little more expensive straight away, generally they’re actually cheaper than to order in a spare/secondary lens later on down the track.

Some of the best goggles on the market now have Quick Lens Changing systems. This allows for the lens to be switched over within just a couple of minutes – easy enough to do at the top of the chair lift while you’re waiting for your buddies to strap in!

The Anon M3 is a great example of a goggle with a magnetic quick change lens system where you can change the lens colour while the frame is still on your face.

Each goggle will interchange differently, so it’s super important to always read the instructions available with your goggle to see how to appropriately change the lenses. A good rule of thumb though is to always hold the lens on the rim – this will reduce the amount of contact you have to film and reduce the chance of damage. Keep in mind though, they’re pretty hardy and are made to be used. Don’t be scared!


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