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AdventureSnow Sports

What type of ski-goggle lenses work best in flat, foggy light?

Last year, when skiing above tree line at Fernie, my ski goggles were practically useless as I was stymied by fog and snow. Do you have any suggestions? Are polarized lenses of any use? Nicholas Westmount, Quebec


By fog, Nicholas, I assume you mean the weather-related variety, not fog inside the lenses. And snow…was it snowing? Or were your skis kicking up snow?

Oakley A-Frame Goggles

A-Frame Goggles

Anyway, here’s what I have to say on the subject. It sounds as if you were simply having a hard time seeing and picking up topographic features due to flat, foggy light. In my experience, lenses with more reddish tint are useful in these conditions. They block out the flat, blue light that makes everything look one-dimensional when it’s foggy. Most ski-goggle lenses already are sort of yellow-orange, but look for some that are more of a rose color, as these offer the best contrast. Oakley A-Frame goggles ($85; come with a choice of several different lenses—one is a dark “persimmon" that would work well.

As for polarized lenses, I think the jury still is out. They don’t increase contrast so much as they reduce glare, such as sun reflecting off an icy patch. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be able to SEE that icy patch, so not everyone thinks polarized lenses are good for skiing. Plus, they’re expensive. Smith’s Phenom goggles are polarized and have nifty features such as vents that can be opened or closed, depending on air temp and weather conditions, They’re $169 (

Check out the new 2007-2008 Winter Outside Buyer’s Guide, packed with reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves. It’s available on newsstands now.

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Filed To: GogglesSnow Sports
Lead Photo: courtesy, Oakley