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Tech Meets Goggles

Once upon a time, skiers wore plain old sunglasses to keep the sun, snow, and wind out of their eyes.

Thankfully, ski goggle technology has come a long way since then. Companies are coming up with innovative ways to make their goggles better than ever before, whether that means making it easier to see in extremely tough conditions or building a mini computer into the lens, Google Glasses style.

If you are looking for something to go good with your wireless ski helmet speakers, here are a few of the ways that companies are taking ski goggles to the next level.

Oakley Prizm Lenses
Have you ever amped up the contrast in an Instagram photo and found that it looked way better? That’s kind of the idea behind Oakley’s Prizm technology, only it doesn’t just make your surroundings look prettier – it actually helps you see better.

You don’t know how much you aren’t seeing until you try a pair of these on. Depending on the weather conditions, you can switch between three lenses that will allow you to see every dip, bump, and shadow in fine detail.

The magic lies in the way light transmission is controlled through the lens: using color science, the lens filters your view to provide maximized contrast and enhanced visibility. These features are awesome for competitive skiers and backcountry enthusiasts alike.

Recon Snow2
Check out a pair of goggles with Recon’s Snow2 and you’ll notice something different: there’s a little web-cam looking device in the corner of the lens. This mini computer can provide you with a ton of info, requiring only a quick glance on your end.

For starters, it’ll give you the lowdown on your performance: your speed, vertical descent, distance logged, airtime, etc. You can also connect it to a heart rate monitor to track that, too. Sync it to your smartphone and you can scroll through texts and e-mails while you’re waiting on the chairlift.

You can find Recon’s Snow2 technology in Oakley’s Airwave 1.5, its first model with new partner Garmin.

Smith Optics’ Turbo Fan
Goggles are supposed to help you see – so when they fog up, it can be extremely frustrating. When it comes to anti-fog technology, Smith Optics has always been ahead of the curve. Arguably, their most creative innovation is the Turbo Fan: there are actually tiny micro-electronic fans inside the goggle. The fans help keep air circulating through the goggles, keeping moisture at bay. You can choose to run the fans on a continuous low setting, or to use the high setting to clear things up quickly after a particularly sweaty run.

Interchangeable Lenses
Sometimes, the best innovations are the simplest. Interchangeable lenses are the perfect example: switching out lenses to match the conditions just makes sense.

Plenty of companies have jumped on board the interchangeable lens train, including Dragon, Electric, Oakley, and Smith. Each has their own little particularities, namely the ease of which you can switch between lenses. Smith’s I/O series are relatively easy to maneuver, but Oakley’s Airbrakes are foolproof: you can swap lenses even while wearing the puffiest of mittens.

Photochromic Lenses
Those hybrid reading glasses/sunglasses that changed tint, depending on the environment, were always a little dorky – but when it comes to technology, photochromic lenses suddenly make a lot of sense.

Instead of switching out lenses, photochromic lenses self-adjust in only a few seconds based on the present conditions. Both Smith and Julbo produce good photochromic lens options.

by Magee Walker

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