Skiing is infamous for thrill and adventure, as well as dangers posed up on icy peaks. Although some may believe that gear is more of a ‘guide’ as opposed to an ‘essential’, this simply isn’t the case for such a sport, and safety is not something any enthusiast should skimp out on. That being said, is it okay to ski without goggles?
Ski goggles are essential while hitting the slopes, as they protect your eyes from long-term damage, and increase safety by enhancing awareness as well as visibility of terrain. Such benefits assist in evading potentially fatal collisions and decreasing the severity of minor accidents.
Wearing goggles are essential while skiing, as it can prevent a range of risks while increasing your efficiency when exploring snowy peaks. Stick around to find out why you need ski goggles, and what to look for in a great pair before your next trip.
Should you wear goggles when skiing?
Yes, you should definitely wear goggles while skiing, as they are designed specifically for action sports and will protect you from a range of effects caused by the climate and surrounding conditions when skiing. It’s essential for your safety and protection, particularly for a sport which is known to be as dangerous as it is enthralling.
While the main dangers posed by a lack of goggles primarily have to do with long-term eye damage, there are quite a few reasons for wearing goggles while skiing, identified by the specific risks posed by the terrain and environment.
Skiing will require a wide range of twists, turn, maneuvers, and speeds, which will necessitate goggles with a snug fit for optimal protection. In addition, goggles will not fall off like similar eyewear in the midst of stunts and extreme movements, which is coupled with the fact that many ski helmets are equipped with a goggle clip or attachment feature.
Severe or Life-long Conditions
One of the most prominent reasons for wearing ski goggles while participating in this gripping sport is the likely potential for long-term damage to the eyes as a result of the environment.
The weather conditions up on icy peaks can be brutal, to begin with, and the altitude coupled with the reflection of the sunlight’s glare against white canvas results in high glare and high levels of UV rays. Prolonged exposure to such conditions can result in developing cataracts as an end result.
In addition, skiers can suffer from snow blindness or sunburned corneas, which comes as a result of highly reflective ultraviolet radiation, since UV rays are more potent at high altitudes, and snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays which fall upon it.
While most cases of snow blindness are only temporary and have a moderate recovery with the issue resolving in a couple of days through proper treatment, some cases are not as simple and may have complications or long-term effects. The ability to see color may also be impacted while suffering from this condition.
Those who suffer from snow blindness experience burning, red, painful, or watery eyes, headaches, swelling around the eyes, the sensation that something is stuck in the eyes, and they see enhanced glare or halos around light sources.
In addition, they also experience blurry vision and increased sensitivity to light, which can become far more dangerous in skiing conditions and may lead to more severe instances like accidents or collisions. The symptoms of this condition, similarly to sunburned skin, is only noticeable once the damage is done.
Such an ailment can occur regardless of the weather conditions, as clouds do not block UV rays, and it’s important to note that such a condition can develop as a result of direct or indirect contact with the eyes.
Wearing goggles that have 100% UV ray blockage, and have rubber flanges that shield the eyes from above, below, at the side, and from frontal contact will provide the maximum amount of protection for such conditions.
Reduce Glare for Increased Visibility
Having clear visibility while skiing is one of the most essential safety factors which pose the risk of accidents such as miscalculated maneuvers or even as far as skiing into a tree, which can actually be fatal at certain speeds.
There are various specialized lenses that can assist in adjusting what is visible to the wearer and making the terrain more visible, thus increasing the overall safety of the wearer’s ski trip.
Depending on the type of goggle lenses used, ski goggles have the ability to reduce the glare and reflection of sunlight on the snow to varying degrees – with the more sunlight exposure requiring more reduction of glare.
Adjust Contrast for Increased Visibility
Goggles also assist in adjusting the contrast amongst the terrain based on color and lighting, which increases the skier’s ability to foresee bumps and snow conditions in preparation for their next move.
There are a variety of different colored lenses that can heighten contrast in varying conditions, including amber, green, and rose, which are suitable for dim lighting experienced on an overcast, hazy, or cloudy days.
Brown or bronze lenses are the best choices for all-round use, as they can filter blue light waves allowing for increased depth and clarity for cool-toned objects, such as green bushes or trees.
However, these are still capable of heightening contrast for increased visibility and are still able to block out a reasonable amount of light waves on days where the sun is shining brightly.
For conditions that are dark or neutral with minimal light, such as at night or in snowy weather, clear goggle lenses would generally be sufficient.
Enhanced Protection in the Event of an Accident
Although no one really wants to think about what would happen if they were in an unfortunate accident, bracing yourself for such events in preparation is important in ensuring safety. Regardless of experience, odds are that all skiers will experience falls and less severe collisions with natural objects such as braches or bushes.
Although these may not be as severe as colliding with a tree at full speed, it can still leave a plethora of small cuts, bruises, and scratches, which may not be that much of a big deal.
However, a small bruise on the arm is far less worrying as opposed to a tiny scratch directly onto an exposed eyeball, and such cases could result in actual blindness or impaired vision, which may not have a promising recovery.
Making sure that your eyes are completely secure will lower the chance of unnecessary injury severity drastically.
Shielding from Chills and Ski Debris
While skiing, the condition itself can be quite harsh and problematic, and coupled with the fact that skiers will be traveling at high speeds, this necessitates thorough protection. Natural elemental factors such as the cold and wind can have a massive impact on the overall health of the eyes.
Many of us have experienced walking against the grain on a windy day, and being stuck with the irritation of particles, debris, dust, and other microscopic matter being lodged somewhere in the eye socket.
Well, imagine that situation while skiing at high speeds instead of walking, with bare eyes and the addition of floating snowflakes – it’s certainly not a situation you want to be in at all. Wearing goggles will protect your eyes from such instances, keeping them warm and clear of intrusion which would cloud your vision.
Do beginner skiers need goggles?
Yes, beginner skiers need goggles regardless of the smoothness or ease of the terrain being ventured onto, and the necessity for goggles will most likely be far higher for someone who is not accustomed to the conditions, wind, and weather up on the snowy peaks.
Although the protection aspect will be the same for every individual, as obviously experience does not protect you from the elements nor does it inhibit developing conditions.
In addition, beginners are far more prone to falls and accidents due to the fact that they are still developing awareness of the conditions, getting a hang of the technique, and are still learning how to control speed and form.
This will result in a higher amount of falls and minor impact with branches or bushes, which could leave nasty scratches and even severe eye damage if they’re left exposed.
That being said, every skier should be wearing goggles, and particularly beginners due to the benefits it will hold for assisting the adjustment to such conditions and dangers.
Wearing ski goggles while you are still a beginner is a great way to get into the sport safely, and being aware of the potential risks for skiing is extremely important so that you know what you’re getting into.
It’s also great to develop the habit of wearing goggles early so that you’re well used to the feel and fit of the goggles at a later stage, and get the hang of skiing with goggles, to begin with.
In addition, ski goggles do not only protect wearers from the elements, but they also provide a few benefits that would make it easier to cope with the environment, which will add an extra level of security and expertise to your learning journey.
Some say that they have not worn goggles for the time that they have spent skiing, which could be months or even years and thus struggle to adapt to the fit and vision adjustment when attempting to begin wearing goggles.
These individuals claim that it’s simply not comfortable and it’s not easy to adjust once you’re already accustomed to skiing without them. This would ultimately be an unnecessary extra bump in your skiing learning journey and would make an already challenging and dangerous sport that much more trying.
Do you need polarized ski goggles?
In terms of the specialized lenses of the ski goggles, there are various lenses that have enhanced or subdued features to match the weather conditions upon the icy slopes.
Although, these conditions will be the primary influence as to what kind of goggle lenses will be most compatible, so the choice of goggles will vary depending on weather and lighting conditions, which may vary by location as well as day by day climate shifts.
Polarized goggles or goggles which have darker lenses are generally perfect for days where the sun is beaming down brightly, and reflecting quite intensely against the pure white snowy terrain.
This glare can make it incredibly challenging for skiers to see clearly, as they may need to squint, and wearing such goggles is great for allowing to the wearer to simply pop them on and go, without having to wince or flinch every time a ray of sunshine is multiplied by a few snowflakes.
Although, some wearers have said that these goggles may not be suitable for conditions which are not bright enough, as this may have an opposite effect resulting in the wearer being able to see less clearly – which, as we know, is not good at all.
Photochromic goggle lenses are a fantastic choice for such weather as well, as they are able to adjust their light sensitivity in accordance with the amount of sunlight they are exposed to.
These goggles would certainly be more effective for all-round use, as skiers will not need to worry about whether or not such goggles would be suitable for the light conditions before each and every ski trip. Reflective mirror coating may also provide less glare without reducing visibility.
Can you wear glasses under ski goggles?
It is possible, but the comfort and practicality will vary depending on preference as well as the glasses’ and goggles’ shape, as well as their compatibility with each other.
While some skiers wear glasses under their goggles without deterring from the snug fit, anti-fogging, and functionality, most skiers prefer to wear contact lenses – at least, while skiing.
Which are the best ski goggles?
The best ski goggles will be those which utilize sturdy material such as polycarbonate, have anti-fogging features or lenses, and are encompassed by a frame that is malleable and capable of forming to meet the contours of the wearer’s unique face shape. This allows for maximum fit, secure attachment, and protection from the elements.
In addition, investing in a pair of goggles that has 100% UV shielding lenses that are suitable for varying weather or lighting conditions would be optimal, as well as lenses that can adjust contrast depending on the environment.
An anti-scratch coating and double-layer lenses would also be a good choice for enhanced durability. Here are some of the best budget-friendly ski goggles which will offer all of the fundamentals and much more, suited for men, women, and youth.
The ZIONOR Lagopus provides 100% UV shielding and crystal clear visibility, topped with a durable double-layer lens and anti-scratch coating. It has a smart ventilation system for reduced fogging and provides great coverage of the face with a high density woven strap for greater helmet compatibility and an excellent sponge that fits the face’s contours. They can also be worn over small or medium-sized glasses.
It’s available in a wide range of colored lenses, allowing for optimal compatibility with your ski resort or location. These include purple, pink, black, silver, clear, rose, olive, and blue. They also have mirrored variants in a range of colors, and provide the option for a black or white frame.
The OutdoorMaster offers exceptional all-round use with a nifty interchangeable lens system, making it compatible for all you skiing goals with a surplus of 20 different lens options which all feature anti-fog coating and 100% UV400 protection.
It has a large, spherical, frameless design for maximum visibility, and the polycarbonate lenses are encompassed by a durable polyurethane border.
These have extra-long straps for great helmet compatibility, can be worn with glasses, and come with a protective case plus a carrying pouch. They are available lens shades of blue, pink, black, clear, and other lens variants, with gray, blue, pink, black, red, or white trim.
This pair offers exceptional clarity with a double-layer lens and anti-fog coating on the inner lens, topped with a two-way ventilation system for further reduction of fogging. They provide 100% UV protection and can be worn over glasses as well as with a wide variety of ski helmets thanks to extra-long adjustable straps.
It comes with a cleaning cloth and carrying pouch for convenient travel, and is available in pink, blue, orange, rose, silver, as well as black, and can be combined with a white, black, or blue frame.
Many of the conditions that can develop as a result of not wearing goggles occur over time, with an extended buildup of effects, while others can occur as a result of one unfortunate instance.
While some claim that they feel it’s better to ski without goggles, it simply isn’t worth the risks posed, and it just takes one unlucky ski trip to cause life-changing aftermath. So, it’s best to start off wearing goggles to steer clear of such situations, ensure your safety from the get-go, and avoid such situations altogether.