Snow can reflect around 80 percent of harmful UV rays coming from the sun and prolonged exposure to such rays can cause a phenomenon known as snow blindness. In addition to making a style statement, it is essential to have sunglasses or goggles when participating in snowboarding or skiing for safety. The selection, features, comfort, and safety of eyewear play a vital role in ensuring a successful and stress-free snowboarding experience. Keep reading to discover the importance of these factors.
Many eye injuries that occur while snowboarding or skiing happen because of either poor choices of sunglasses or not wearing them at all. Wearing low-quality or improper eyewear can cause the lens or frame to break and result in serious harm to the eyes. Additionally, not protecting the eyes can lead to vision problems caused by UV rays, debris, ski poles, low branches, snow stings, and other external factors. Wearing the wrong type of lenses can lead to vision impairment, creating unforeseen dangers.
Benefits of Using Sunglasses While Snowboarding
To fully enjoy snowboarding, it is important to have the appropriate gear, such as comfortable shoes, a warm jacket, a helmet, gloves, and goggles or sunglasses. Following are some key benefits of wearing proper sunglasses when snowboarding or skiing.
1. Reduce Glare
Ensuring good visibility is crucial for the safety of snowboarders. Fortunately, there are many different types of eyewear available with specialized lenses that can protect the eyes while not impacting vision. Wearing sunglasses on sunny days in snow can prevent the need to squint and improve visibility during the day.
2. Increase Contrast
Contrast is an important aspect of visibility for skiers. On the slopes, the terrain can appear as a white field, making it difficult to see dips and bumps. Wearing glasses with colored lenses can enhance contrast, making these features more visible. Different colored lenses are suitable for different weather conditions. For example, rose-colored lenses are good for cloudy or hazy days, brown lenses work well on sunny days or in dim light, and amber lenses are good for poorly lit trails or cloudy or hazy days.
Types Of Sunglasses For Snowboarding
There are several types of sunglasses that are suitable for snowboarding, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some popular options include:
- Sport sunglasses – These sunglasses are specifically designed for active sports and have features such as a secure and comfortable fit, polarized lenses, and impact-resistant frames.
- Wraparound sunglasses – These sunglasses have a curved frame that wraps around the head, providing added protection from wind and glare.
- Goggles – Snowboarding goggles are similar to sport sunglasses, but offer more coverage for the eyes, including foam padding that sits against the face to block out wind and snow.
- Photochromic sunglasses – These sunglasses have lenses that automatically adjust to changing light conditions, making them ideal for use in varying weather conditions on the slopes. However, they are like the jack-of-all-trades and master of none, and more suitable for casual use.
- Mirror lenses – These sunglasses have a reflective coating on the lenses that reduces glare and improves visibility. They are especially useful on sunny days.
Each type of sunglasses has its own advantages depending on your preferences and the weather conditions you will be facing. It’s important to choose the one that fits you the best and that offers the best protection for your eyes.
Key Features of Snowboarding Sunglasses
Although all types of snowboarding eyewear promise to offer basic eye protection from external conditions, there are some important specifications you should consider before purchasing one. For example,
- Type of lenses
- Lens color/tint
- Frame size
- Interchangeable lenses and more
Let’s have a look at the key features you should consider.
1. UV Protection
Ultraviolet light aka UVA and UVB are proven to be responsible for premature aging and several eye diseases, like
- Cornea damage
- Macular Degeneration
- Eye cancer
- Photokeratitis – sunburn of the retina
Hence, it is essential that the glasses you are using need to ensure complete UVA and UVB protection. Mostly, the feature is labeled on the product, but if that’s not the case; then it is wise to pick another product that mentions it.
2. Polycarbonate/NXT Lenses
The type of lens is another important feature to consider. Remember that glass or plastic lenses might not be sturdy enough to withstand very harsh winds or extreme weather. Therefore, for snowboarding or skiing; it’s better to get polycarbonate or NXT lenses (if you need the strongest ones). Both of these lenses are not only durable, but their level of resistance to extremities is also above average.
Type of lens
Index of refraction
Strong, durable, lightweight, clear view
Fog resistance, scratch resistance, impact resistance.
Stronger, extremely durable, lighter than polycarbonate, less internal stress, sharper central vision.
Fog resistance, scratch resistance, impact resistance.
3. Material & Style of Frame
Typically there are two types of materials used for sunglasses frames; plastic and metal. Both have their own pros and cons.
- Metal frames are not well-suited for cold conditions as they can become brittle and may snap. Moreover, nose pads are likely to poke your eyes upon falling. Options in metal frame designs are limited as well.
- Plastic frames are more suitable for snowboarding or skiing. They are available in a wide variety of designs to offer wide and clear coverage. They also minimize glare and protect the eyes from external conditions. Furthermore, they are also available with side protectors.
4. Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses are also significant for snowboarders. They prevent glare on high-reflecting surfaces like snow and water. Moreover, these lenses help you differentiate between ice patches and regular snow.
5. Photochromatic Lenses
These lenses have the ability to change color according to light. They turn darker when the sunlight is bright and lighter when the sky is cloudy or hazy. Photochromic lenses adjust themselves to offer you optimum vision in different light conditions without you having to replace sunglasses or lenses every now and then. But they are not perfect and might not change color accurately according to the lighting conditions.
6. Prescription Lenses
It is important to get prescribed lenses for your snowboarding sunglasses if you have any eyesight issues because you wouldn’t want to endanger yourself due to a blurry view. However, if your prescription is high, it is ideal to avoid wrapped frames as your view might get distorted, especially around the edges.
- Ensure that your prescribed sunglasses are anti-fog coated because they can block your view and result in regretful circumstances.
- Secondly, some goggles are also designed to fit over your regular glasses known as OTG, over the glasses goggles. However, they may not be comfortable, and you have to buy additional anti-fog spray or wipes to clear out the fog.
Can I wear ski goggles instead of sunglasses for snowboarding?
Yes, ski goggles can also be worn for snowboarding, but sunglasses with a polarized lens will also provide protection from glare.
Are there any specific features to look for in sunglasses for snowboarding?
Look for sunglasses with a polarized lens, a secure fit that stays on while active, and a durable frame that can withstand cold temperatures and impact.
Can I wear regular sunglasses while snowboarding?
Regular sunglasses may not provide enough protection from glare and UV rays while snowboarding. It’s best to use polarized sunglass specifically designed for snow sports.
It is important for snowboarders to wear sunglasses with polarized lenses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays and glare, while also improving visibility on the slopes. Specialized sunglasses such as electric goggles designed for snow sports are the best option to ensure optimal protection and durability. Wearing sunglasses while snowboarding is a crucial step to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the slopes.