Alpine optics have made huge leaps. Enjoy the view.

Smith Optics
(Smith Optics)

Smith I/O with ChromaPop

Gear of the Year

The truth is, goggle lenses have always been interchangeable. It just used to be a pain in the ass to wrestle them into the frame. Then, eight years ago, Smith introduced an easy lens-swapping design and offered condition-specific hues—storm day, bright sun, and flat light—to boost performance, revolutionizing the market. The first iteration had a panoramic field of view, a sharp spherical lens, a comfy fit (thanks to three layers of foam), and a supple, articulating frame. ­Today every major manufacturer offers at least one pair of goggles with swappable lenses. But the I/O is still our favorite. All the original features remain, but the lenses are now crafted with ChromaPop technology. The human eye takes a fraction longer to distinguish colors where blue, green, and red light cross paths. By filtering out the in-between wavelengths, Smith’s lenses allow the brain to process color and contrast more quickly. On the hill during a storm last spring, we found ourselves squinting less and skiing faster. But the biggest advantage came when our line turned from a sunny open slope to a shaded gully. With ChromaPop, each lens is adept in a huge range of conditions, so you can see into the shadows and discern the crud from the silky corduroy at 50 miles per hour. Another reason to love the I/O: better foam on the frame hugs your face. And we’re still fans of Smith’s precise hinged lens-changing system. It might take a few seconds longer to operate than a magnet-based one, but the payoff is worth it. The I/O vents exceedingly well, won’t let in wind or snow at high speeds, and will never jettison from your face in a spill.

Price $210

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Marker 16:10+ 

Best For: Full field of view plus security during a spill. 

The Test: This German brand earned its reputation by building precise ski bindings. In the past few years, it turned its attention to on-snow protection, including helmets and these goggles, which feature a low-weight, burly polymer that provides cushioning on impact and firms up in more severe hits. The 16:10+ comes with a lightly mirrored lens called Yellow Plasma that excels during overcast days on Northeast and Pacific Northwest hills like Sunday River and Crystal Mountain. The included storm-day lens, Clarity Mirror, served us well when conditions got blizzardy. And we loved the spherical shape for its huge field of view. 

The Verdict: Look here if you have a wide face or, like us, want maximum coverage.

Price $219

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(Spy )

Spy Bravo Discrete 

Best For: Performance, style, and joy.

The Test: Happy Lens is Spy’s light-filtering technology, which the company claims eliminates diffused or flat light and makes you feel good, too. We’re believers. In summertime, the glasses make the grass greener and flowers redder. And in winter, the increased contrast was noticeable on a bright February day when the light was fading and our eyes were tiring. Like most of the goggles on these pages, the Bravo Discrete features a crystalline spherical lens (with a swappable mirrored gray one for storms) and three layers of plush foam. It also comes with a tweed neck gaiter from the clothiers at Salt Lake City’s Discrete Clothing. One gripe: a wipeout can punch snow into the frame.

The Verdict: Technical goggles with some soul to boot.

Price $230

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Anon M3 

Best For: Frostbite conditions.

The Test: No matter how hard you try to cover up your nose, standard neck gaiters always manage to slip down and leave you exposed to the elements. With the nifty M3 goggles from Anon, that needn’t be the case. The magnet system used for switching out the lenses also allows you to attach an included neck gaiter to cover your cheeks and beak to avoid sun- and windburn. We assumed the veil would cause fogging but encountered no problems on a cold lift ride into a headwind. Ditto with the descent in temperatures around ten degrees. The standard lens is dark enough for full sun, and the mirrored yellow storm lens cuts through weather like a fog lamp. 

The Verdict: The best for stealth and skin protection.

Price $260

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Giro Balance

Best For: Looking good and seeing well on a budget. 

The Test: Skiing and snowboarding are expensive, but cheaping out on goggles is a mistake. Low-end models often have fog-prone single lenses that scratch easily inside and out and single-layer foam at the face that quickly compresses. That’s not the case with the Balance from Giro. It offers features often found in pricier goggles, including a spherical Zeiss lens, three layers of face foam, and a silicone-beaded strap (essential if you wear a helmet). We had no trouble with fogging, and the optics are tack sharp. It’s also a handsome design, with a mirrored lens and a frame finished in faux wood grain. It works as well as goggles costing $80 more. 

The Verdict: Spend your savings on a burger at the lodge!

Price $130

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Electric California
(Electric California)

Electric Electrolite 

Best For: Backcountry missions. 

The Test: The Electrolite might be the first pair of goggles ever produced with ­extreme weight savings in mind. Most goggles have relatively heavy polyurethane frames. Here the frame is über-light EVA (the same stuff used in the midsoles of running shoes) that fits snugly against your face. Most straps are made of fabric. Here they’re cut from molded silicone. We loved the Electrolite for backcountry skiing, where its 2.7 ounces added almost nothing to pack weight on the climb. But it’s also full-featured (including a cylindrical double lens with antifog treatment) and, thanks to that EVA frame and three layers of cushy foam, comfortable enough for everyday use.

The Verdict: Weight savings works for freestyle, too.

Price $120

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POC Fovea 

Best For: Screaming down groomers. 

The Test: You can find cheaper goggles, of course, but with so many features the POC Fovea is a screaming deal. It boasts a spherical Zeiss lens, which improves optical clarity and peripheral vision, so you can keep track of the skiers on either side of you as you whip past. The polyurethane frame is soft and malleable, conforming comfortably around your face. And ample ventilation in both the frame and the lens means the Fovea remained fog-free even on a rapidly warming day spent skiing mushy spring snow in the trees. The single frame size best fits medium and large faces, and the silicone-beaded strap sticks to the helmet, keeping everything nicely in place.

The Verdict: A great choice if you tend to ski or ride in wetter climates.

Price $140

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The Best Sunglasses of 2017

Fear not these fashion-forward frames. The best sporty-shades makers are showing new style. (Rudy Project) Rudy Project Momentum Best For: Making the Scene  Rudy gets all King Midas (mirrored gold lenses, gold-dusty frames) with this louche design. If you can handle it, you’ll revel in the view through lenses with great clarity and pop—amazing, considering they’re not polarized, which can make things look blah. The features aren’t about actually playing: comfort, coverage, and security are abundant. Price $175 Buy Now (Bollé) Bollé Highwood Best For: Days on the Water These shades seem almost sharklike, with gill-slit vents at the hinges. Deeply tinted gray lenses

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The Best Winter Camping Gear of 2017

Snowy nights require serious weaponry. (Mystery Ranch) Mystery Ranch Pitch 55 Pack At 55 liters, this is the largest option in Mystery Ranch’s climbing line. It swallowed everything we needed for a long weekend. Bonus points for features like the external crampon pocket and pick guard for ice axes. Price $250 Buy Now (SOG) SOG Reactor Multitool Inside this Kit Kat–size unit are burly pliers, a stainless-steel blade, a quarter-inch bit driver, and seven other critical tools to get you through all your camp chores. Price $64 Buy Now (Primus) Primus Winter Gas Canister  When temps dip south of freezing, most canister stoves

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The Best Packs of 2017

Seven packs to keep you adventuring, and safe, in the snow. (mammut archive I Ansichtsache AG) Mammut Ultralight Removable Airbag 3.0  Gear of the Year Over the past few years, winter backpacks have undergone a design renaissance, getting lighter and more comfortable while offering new features. Much of the creative energy has come from a surge in the development of airbags—bladders that inflate in an avalanche and float you to safety. They are proven lifesavers, and many backcountry enthusiasts have smartly adopted them as a standard tool. The holdouts complain that they’re too heavy, complicated, and expensive, arguments that are largely

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The Best Gloves of 2017

Your paws deserve the best. (Outdoor Research) Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Why spend five bills on electric gloves? To play longer when the mercury drops. A heating surface covers 70 percent of the Capstone (twice the area of most other models), and the lithium-ion batteries deliver up to eight hours of cook time on low. When the juice runs out and it’s above freezing, the soft-shell material is all you need.  Price $500 Buy Now (Give'r) Give’r 4-Season Think ski-patrol glove straight from DARPA. Originally tested by crews deicing planes at the Jackson Hole airport, the Give’r lets you do everything

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The Best Snowsports Helmets of 2017

Safety first, but style always. (K2) K2 Diversion  Gear of the Year The one thing that can’t be overemphasized when buying a helmet? Fit. A lid might be loaded with slick features and look cool as hell, but it can’t protect you if it’s sliding all over your head, and you’ll hate it if it’s tight as a vise. Also, make sure it plays nice with your goggles, unless you want to be plagued by gaper gap. For those reasons, we recommend you always try before you buy. And it helps to know where to start. We tested a dozen helmets

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The Best Snow Safety Tools of 2017

The ski world is going all in on high-tech safety gear, packing more features into smaller packages.  (Mammut) Mammut Carbon 240 Light Probe When there’s trouble, you need a probe that snaps together fast. The seven-foot-ten Mammut Carbon 240 assembles in under three seconds and weighs just 6.5 ounces, allowing it to fulfill its other most important duty—disappearing when not in use. Price $80 Buy Now (Black Diamond) Black Diamond Razor Carbon Pro Poles  You shouldn’t wear normal pole straps in the backcountry. If you’re caught in a slide or take a fall in deep pow, they can anchor you facedown in

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