Seeing through the right lense

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When we consider the possible uncertainties that one may encounter during a typical day of off-piste skiing, we rarely consider the effect our goggle choice may have as a
potential hazard.

That being said, many incidents can be attributed to poor visibility or impaired vision. Tripping up in variable snow conditions, slabs or wind drifts, hitting unexpected rollers or failing to recognize micro features or terrain traps may result from wearing the wrong lenses in our goggles.

Bodie Shandro is a CSGA, Canadian Ski Guide, part-time heli ski guide with Mike Wiegele Heli Skiing near Blue River and Off Piste Camp Coordinator at Sun Peaks Resort.
Bodie Shandro is a CSGA, Canadian Ski Guide, part-time heli ski guide with Mike Wiegele Heli Skiing near Blue River and Off Piste Camp Coordinator at Sun Peaks Resort.

Lenses in today’s goggles are either cylindrical or spherical. Cylindrical lenses curve left to right across your eyes, but the lens surface is vertically flat. Spherical lenses, in addition to curving across your face, also curve vertically from top to bottom providing better peripheral vision and less distortion and glare.

Your lens color determines the amount of light that reaches your eyes, also referred to as visible light transmission (VLT). Lenses with a higher VLT, pink or rose colored, allow more natural light to pass through and are thus are better suited for low light. Yellow or gold lenses also provide a higher VLT but work best in flat light as they enhance details in variable off-piste terrain. They also sharpen vision while filtering out the brightness of snow, making them a safe choice for those big snow days. Making the right choice in goggle lenses may not only enhance your day off-piste, but will also make it a much safer one!

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