Having the correct goggle lens for the light conditions that you are skiing in will drastically improve your vision on the slopes. Lenses that are too bright or too dark for the amount of sunlight or cloud cover you have can make skiing challenging for you. Most goggles are available in a wide variety of lens tints or VLT ratings.
What is a VLT Rating?
VLT stands for Visual Light Transmission, which refers to how much light enters the lens. VLT is always measured in a percentage. The higher the percentage the more light transmits through the lens. Lenses that allow more light have high VLT ratings (40-60%). This allows more light pass through the lens and are designed for overcast or flat light conditions. This will brighten up your view. Lenses with a lower VLT (8-20%) rating allow less light to pass through the lens in sunny conditions. Goggle lenses in this range will prevent you from squinting and reduce glare. There are also plenty of options available for partly sunny conditions too that will have a VLT rating somewhere in the middle (20-40%) of the spectrum. There are also VLT ratings designed for nighttime or very flat light conditions (over 61%). Here at Skis.com we break down goggles into four different categories. Low Light, Overcast, Partly Sunny or Full Sun. We make it easy for you to see which lens tint works for what light conditions by looking at each individual image and seeing a VLT rating and Icon underneath the goggle.
New Lens Technology
Over the past few seasons each major goggle manufacturer has put huge efforts forth when it comes to improving the clarity of your vision on the slopes. Giro has added their VIVID lens, Oakley has been using the PRIZM lens for a few seasons now, Smith has developed the ChromaPop Lens, Anon uses the Sonar Lens and Dragon produces their LumaLens. Each of these technologies provides a clearer view that allows you to better see the texture and contrast of the snow. If you can see the texture of the snow you have a better feel for it and how your skis or board will react in that snow condition. If you are a more confident rider, you will be having more fun on the mountain.
Quick Change Lenses
Another trend that shows no signs of slowing down is the fact that Quick Lens Change Goggles come with two different lenses. Typically one for sunny or partly sunny conditions along with an overcast lens. This type of goggle allows you to swap lenses almost on the fly. Simple levers and locking mechanisms or magnets are very convenient or easy to use. If you ride in an area where the light can shift on you in between runs or you always want the perfect lens these make a great option for you. Although this style of goggle can come with a steep price tag, you really need to think of this as getting two sets of premium goggles with premium lenses for the price of one and a half.
The best way to select what type of goggle lens you need is to think about what type of light condition you typically ski in or what light condition you find difficulty skiing in. Having the correct goggle lens can make all of the difference. For all the details, features and more information on selecting goggles for skiing and snowboarding, please consult our Ski Goggle Buying Guide.