Ski goggles protect your eyes from flying snow, debris, wind and ice. However, not all lenses are created equal. Different goggle lens colors and types can help you depending on the conditions in which you typically ski. If you ski at night, you need goggles that sharpen your vision and increase visibility. Because the sun’s rays are less of a factor, you may not need extras built in to alleviate glare.
When skiing in nighttime conditions, a lighter lens that transmits a greater amount of visible light is best. These lenses are recommended for most dark conditions, including snowy, sunset or nighttime. Examples include yellow lenses, which transmit 68 percent of visible light and bring out shadows common in night skiing. Clear lenses also are ideal because they provide protection, yet allow the most light in. Gold, yellow-orange and amber lens colors also are good in stormy conditions. Green lenses also are recommended for their ability to increase contrast at night.
Because visibility is a factor in night skiing, an antifogging lens is necessary. This can come in the form of double lenses, which provide a barrier between your eyes and the environment, keeping the glasses from fogging. Antifog coatings also are available. These coatings protect the lens for fog-free vision. Some lenses offer foam vents that allow air to flow, preventing it from becoming trapped and creating fog. This can, however, let cold air in, which may make it difficult to stay warm in nighttime conditions.
You may find it difficult to simulate nighttime vision when shopping for ski goggles during the day. However, All About Vision recommends this trick to purchasing goggles for night skiing: try the goggles on in a dark room with a single light bulb on. Look at the light bulb with the goggles on. If the light seems distorted or it is too difficult to see, the pair is not right for night skiing.
Extras to Avoid
If you are chiefly a night skier, some lens modifications may not be needed. This includes mirrored lenses, which are designed to reflect light and keep some degree of light out. The reduced visibility can affect your night vision. Another is polarization. Polarized goggles have a specialized lens coating designed to reduce the glare from snow and sunlight -- and can be quite costly. This goggle type is not necessary for nighttime conditions when light is lower and glare is minimal.