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Desperate for the best flat-light goggles

post #1 of 152
Thread Starter 

When I was younger, I never would have guessed that the primary impediment to my skiing would some day be the inability to distinguish details of the hill. But now (mid 40s), I'm to the point where I am essentially blind when it comes to skiing in flat light. The hill has no detail whatsoever; even large moguls or drop-offs beecome invisible to me unless there is sunshine I must wait for night skiing. When I have visibility I'm an agressive high-speed skiier looking out for every bit of drop-air I can get. During a grey-day I feel like I'm back in my first season of skiing. It's just terrible.

 

So I'm looking for a "price is no concern" pair of incredible flat-light goggles. I've tried rose/crimson, yellow, orange, polarized (I have quite the collection!), and while some of them are better than others, none come close to allowing me to ski properly in flat-light.

 

I would prefer specific brand and model-name recomendations.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. This has become a really distressing issue to me, as skiing is an important part of my life and I'm so tired of feeling "crippled" so much of the time.

post #2 of 152

I'm not sure if there is a goggle to cure your problem, however, do a search for the

pointers and tips about "you don't need to see to ski"

post #3 of 152


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr spongeworhty View Post

When I was younger, I never would have guessed that the primary impediment to my skiing would some day be the inability to distinguish details of the hill. But now (mid 40s), I'm to the point where I am essentially blind when it comes to skiing in flat light. The hill has no detail whatsoever; even large moguls or drop-offs beecome invisible to me unless there is sunshine I must wait for night skiing. When I have visibility I'm an agressive high-speed skiier looking out for every bit of drop-air I can get. During a grey-day I feel like I'm back in my first season of skiing. It's just terrible.

 

So I'm looking for a "price is no concern" pair of incredible flat-light goggles. I've tried rose/crimson, yellow, orange, polarized (I have quite the collection!), and while some of them are better than others, none come close to allowing me to ski properly in flat-light.

 

I would prefer specific brand and model-name recomendations.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. This has become a really distressing issue to me, as skiing is an important part of my life and I'm so tired of feeling "crippled" so much of the time.

No doubt the Smith Sensor Mirror Lens...  Look for it on the Prophecy, I/O, I/Os, and Phenom.  Does a great job of letting me spot out all of the dips and turns during a cloudy or flat light day.  It is a yellow lens with a slight blue mirror coating, so it will reflect just enough to help me distinguish terrain features. Definitely check it out
 

 

post #4 of 152

 

If the condition can be fixed by a goggle lens, the Smith Sensor Mirror is excellent.  

 

If you've tried that lens, and you're still having trouble, you may want to talk to an eye doctor (the right kind of eye doctor, whatever that is).  I'm not much of an aggressive high-speed skier (since I didn't learn to ski until my mid-forties), but last year I got my vision sorted out, and all of a sudden I became a much MORE aggressive, high-speed skier -- because I could see what it was I was skiing toward.

 

Specifically, my eye doc had adjusted my left contact for reading -- meaning close vision for that eye, far vision for the other (for driving, etc.).  That was a compromise for both distance and reading, but it works.  Except in skiing.  So last year I found my old left contact (gas permeable -- last a long time), and tried it on the slope.  I could read grain patterns at fifty yards (is that ice, crust, or powder?).  Problem solved.  

 

(Now if I could just make out the trail map. . . .)   (No.  No reading glasses.)  (Forget it.)

post #5 of 152

Tough break if this is already a problem at only 40 .... 

 

 

Eventually there comes a time when there is no solution; I'm in that transition at 60, and have come to the conclusion that night-vision goggles are the only (remotely) possible solution ..... but don't have the guts to try it yet.  Plus they don't make a ski goggle with night vision anyway. December/January skiing is brutal: no storm chasing, only between 10 AM and 1 PM, etc ..... Spring skiing gets better, but the whole powder experience is rapidly fading.

post #6 of 152

I've never skied in polarized goggles, bus is it worth the extra price for a polarized lens?  I own the Smith I/O, and am just curious before I go out and purchase one.  My sunglasses are polarized, but I'm just not sure it's worth it on the ski slopes.  Just curious for anyone who owns or has used ski polarized goggles.  

post #7 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hokie07 View Post

I've never skied in polarized goggles, bus is it worth the extra price for a polarized lens?  I own the Smith I/O, and am just curious before I go out and purchase one.  My sunglasses are polarized, but I'm just not sure it's worth it on the ski slopes.  Just curious for anyone who owns or has used ski polarized goggles.  


Please don't try to hijack a thread.  Your question is not related to the question at hand and it has not been answered.

 

To the OP, try to find some reddish lenses.  I was driving to Red Lodge during a snowstorm a couple of years ago and remembered I had some Bolle Parole sunglasses and there were red lenses for them.  I stopped and put in the red lenses and was pretty amazed at the difference.  With just my regular glasses on, I could see no definition in the road but with the red lenses I could see quite distinctly.  I now have Bolle X-9 OTG goggles with modulator lenses which have a vermillion tint to them and I've been quite pleased with my ability to see detail in the snow, whether it's bright sunlight or dull flat light.  Having owned Smith goggles with a sensor mirror lens I seriously doubt that lens will do you any good.

 

post #8 of 152

check Smith or Oakley web sites; each lens is described with respect to how it functions.

I think the color science is that the opposite color lens to the light, as in orange and blue on the color wheel, will increase contrast, good in flat light. when you have sun and shadows, you would want the opposite effect as you are looking to minimize contrast, lighter darks, darker brights.

 

as I understand polarized lenses, they work against glare and reflection of light, not the issue in flat light where the condition is exactly: no reflection/glare

post #9 of 152

I bought Smith sensor mirror lenses after hurting myself because of flat light.  (My frst pair of really expensive goggles.) I thought they helped, but not as much as I hoped/expected.  May have to look for red.

 

Do you have cataracts?  I'm wondering if that is part of my problem.  (I don't feel like I see badly, other than flat light, but what would I compare my experience to?  Doc says I have pretty large cataracts.)

Do any of you guys have before / after flat light experience with cataract surgery?

post #10 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

I bought Smith sensor mirror lenses after hurting myself because of flat light.  (My frst pair of really expensive goggles.) I thought they helped, but not as much as I hoped/expected.  May have to look for red.

 

Do you have cataracts?  I'm wondering if that is part of my problem.  (I don't feel like I see badly, other than flat light, but what would I compare my experience to?  Doc says I have pretty large cataracts.)

Do any of you guys have before / after flat light experience with cataract surgery?

Had both cataracts removed.  Helped alot with anything glare related, especially at night.  Flat light still sucks, but it always did, even as a kid with perfect vision. 

 

 

post #11 of 152

The Smith Sensor lens in the best flat light lens I have used with the Oakley Hi-Yellow being the second best.

post #12 of 152

I ski quite often in flat light and have always liked the Smith Sensor Mirror and am still using that.  I have tried other googles in the store and have looked through some of my guests googles on chairlifts and such.  I think there may be better lenses than the SM out there based on these limited experiences.  In general, as noted previously in this thread, the reddish, rose, purple type of colors seem to work the best.  I don't see an advantage to polarization in flat light for the reasons given by Davluri.  Polarization works great in bright light though, especially on snow or water where it blocks a lot of reflected light.  I would personally get a polarized lens if it worked well in flat light because I tend to just use one lens all the time and think the polarization would make the lens better when the sun came out.  We have very variable weather here.  I really like my Smith IO because even a klutz like me can actually easily change the lenses.  I don't do it too often, but I can when I want.  I have a great bright light lens, platinum mirror, and should replace my current sensor mirror lens because of wear.  The ability to easily change lenses is IMO a huge advantage.  I think Smith has released a polarized version of the sensor mirror.  There was also a new bright light lens that looked promising.  The IO doesn't fog for me.  I also have a Smith Turbofan google, with a sensor mirror lens, and have found that I rarely need the fan because the IO is so good.

post #13 of 152

There was a excellent thread a few months ago http://www.epicski.com/t/106729/goggles-and-what-are-my-options that you might want to consult as well as a member Uillean (?) who seems to be a very knowledgeable optician who might have some expert help.

 

In the personal opinion column, I like Swans with a red/orange lens and POC with a brown/orange.

post #14 of 152

Spy Trevor Goggles,  blue vito lens
take a look as when they are on they light up the low light.
they let the most light in so far and they and work really well

even when the sun comes out.  they are way better than my scotts/smiths so far... 

post #15 of 152

Lens color is one thing to consider, but the optical quality is probably just as important.  At OR the other day I checked out some of next year's Gordini goggles that will be using lenses made by Zeiss and the clarity is pretty stunning.  Not much help for this season, but maybe nice to know.

post #16 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

The Smith Sensor lens in the best flat light lens I have used with the Oakley Hi-Yellow being the second best.



personally I rate them just the opposite (actually just went back to Hi-yellow). But either way, if it's not one of these 2 lenses then you don't have the best.

post #17 of 152
I prefer my sensor mirror over my hi yellow. My eyes are much more sensitive since I had LASIK. Hi yellow is pretty amazing in low light conditions, until the sun comes out.

I can't stand blue tinted lenses, but my friends swears by them. Best way is try both.
post #18 of 152

+1 on the Sensor mirror, though some of the very light red-tinted lenses can be as good or better in certain conditions.  I use the SMs most days, and the polarized Sol-X others.  Very surprised at how good the Sol-X was in flat light also.

post #19 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by huhh View Post

I prefer my sensor mirror over my hi yellow. My eyes are much more sensitive since I had LASIK. Hi yellow is pretty amazing in low light conditions, until the sun comes out.
I can't stand blue tinted lenses, but my friends swears by them. Best way is try both.


lens change is 30 seconds with my new favorite goggle.

 

Airbrake_57-397_open.jpg

post #20 of 152
Thats pretty cool that Oakley is finally starting that. I have smith I/O goggles and switch lenses half a dozen times some days. My a-frames were a pain, so I ended up buying a second frame.
post #21 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by huhh View Post

Thats pretty cool that Oakley is finally starting that. I have smith I/O goggles and switch lenses half a dozen times some days. My a-frames were a pain, so I ended up buying a second frame.


I honestly love Smith, I have I/O's as well. Oakley just uses a better fitting, higher quality face foam. And the Airbrake lens interfaces with a gasket, so that drafty I/O experience is eliminated.

post #22 of 152

They are kind of hard to find but by far the best flat light lens I have ever used is the Thrama red lens from Briko.   I have no affiliation with them nor would I benefit in any way shape or form from someone buying a Briko product but there are a lot of people that swear by the Thrama lenses.   It has much better definition in flat light than any lens I've ever used from Smith or POC.  I haven't used Oakleys enough to comment.

post #23 of 152

Mr Spongeworthy,

 

Throw me a PM with a contact number and a good time to reach you, and I'd be happy to see if we can figure out some of the contrast sensitivity issues you're experiencing.  The first general suggestion I'd have for anyone who has a question about sports vision would be to consult an occupational optometrist.  Note - you do NOT need to see an ophthalmologist (specialist eye surgeon) in most cases, though if you do, the optometrist should still be your first stop, as he/she can direct you to the sub-specialist who can best address your own particular needs.

 

This can be an extremely difficult problem to solve, but it's not impossible.  About the worst thing you can do is wildly throw your bank account at random lenses or goggles in the hopes that one will be the 'magic bullet'.  A little forethought, planning, and experimentation may help, but whenever in doubt about your eyesight and quality of vision which - sad to say guys - does in fact change dramatically over the course of our lives, regardless of whether or not you need to wear (or think you don't) corrective lenses for any reason.

 

I'm always happy to help if I can, but I'll need to get some more info from you first, and your complete medical/optical history on a public message board isn't good optical juju.  smile.gif

 

Get in touch when you can and I'll see if we can't get your needs sorted out as best we're able!

 

Cheers!

 

Brian~

post #24 of 152
Thread Starter 

Wow, looks like a lot of great info here already. For those asking, I do not appear at this point to have other vision problems beyond the need for basic corrective lenses for slight near-sightedness (I can still pass my driving-license renewals without them). I do wear my glasses skiing, but invest heavilly in my lenses and get those ones that are ultra-light, ultra-clear, super-strong and both scratch-proof and anti-glare. There are a couple different brand names, and they are expensive as hell, but they are worth it to me. I do not need OTG ski goggles however, because I always buy frames small enough to fit easily under standard ski goggles. I'm due for a checkup soon however, and will definitely discuss this issue as many people here have recomended. I had simply assumed this was a natural part of aging and have read up on the subject (most of my friends in the same age range complain of this issue, but since most of them are less agressive skiers it just doesn't have the same impact on their skiing.) My night vision is still excellent, although not what it used to be when I was a teen of course. My only real vision complaint is this inability to see any shadows whatsoever under flat-light conditions. Still, you're right, I could be experiencing something out of the ordinary and simply assuming it's what everyone experiences. I'll see if I can get in with an occupational optometrist soon.

 

Many of these brands of goggles I've never even heard of before, and my guess is that local shops in my area won't carry them. So in the end, as much as I hate it, there is a good chance I'll just have to "throw money" at a bunch of different lenses and see what works best. I'll definitely start with some of the recomendations here.

 

Thanks again, I really appreciate the feedback I've gotten here so far!

 

post #25 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

Quote: Originally Posted by huhh Thats pretty cool that Oakley is finally starting that. I have smith I/O goggles and switch lenses half a dozen times some days. My a-frames were a pain, so I ended up buying a second frame. I honestly love Smith, I have I/O's as well. Oakley just uses a better fitting, higher quality face foam. And the Airbrake lens interfaces with a gasket, so that drafty I/O experience is eliminated.

Yeah that is the only disappointment about my I/O goggles. It's not too bad and mostly just apparent when I'm on the lift. While in bombing down a bowl I don't even notice. They fit so well with my vantage helmet.
post #26 of 152
Thread Starter 

Hi uilleann. Thanks for your response. I sent you a PM, but please let me know if you didn't get it as these forums function just a bit flakey on my iPad.

post #27 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by huhh View Post


Yeah that is the only disappointment about my I/O goggles. It's not too bad and mostly just apparent when I'm on the lift. While in bombing down a bowl I don't even notice. They fit so well with my vantage helmet.

They do fit well with the Vantage. I the newer Crowbar frames interface BADLY with the Vantage. Oakley added a jeweled log to the top of the goggle frame causing the brim of the Vantage to teeter on it. I returned a brand new pair, and found that the Airbrake interfaced quite well.
 

 

post #28 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Lens color is one thing to consider, but the optical quality is probably just as important.  At OR the other day I checked out some of next year's Gordini goggles that will be using lenses made by Zeiss and the clarity is pretty stunning.  Not much help for this season, but maybe nice to know.


That sounds good.

Giro is using "Zeiss Vision" lenses.

They're spherical. Uilleann, what do you think of those?

Here's Ingrid Backstrom visiting the factory:

 

GiroSportDesign                                                                                                         http://youtu.be/YnUI4fwp6JA     
 

 

Does color deficiency, aka "color blindness" have a bearing on what lense will work for whom?

Try these tests. They drive me crazy. I'm red/green color deficient.

 

http://colorvisiontesting.com/ishihara.htm#first test plate

 

edit: Spy is using Zeiss lenses also:

http://actionsportoptics.com/spy-platoon.html

 

Zeiss lists Smith also, but I couldn't find info on the smith site.

Zeiss: http://www.better-vision.zeiss.co.uk/a/u/lenses-and-solutions-for-your-vision/better-vision-for-winter-sports/

 

Smith choices. For low light, there's the Sensor Mirror, the Red Sensor Mirror, and the Gold Sensor Mirror.

http://www.smithoptics.com/technology/#/Snow+Goggle+Technology/SnowGoggle+Lens+Options/view/


Edited by Tog - 1/23/12 at 3:51pm
post #29 of 152

Wow. 

 

First let me say, that we use Carl Zeiss Vision for some of our digital lens products as well.  I like their quality and their optical experience does speak for itself in many ways.

 

However - with that said:

 

That Zeiss video was 100% fluff and hype.  There was n-o-t-h-i-n-g shown or discussed that almost every other manufacturer of lenses (goggle or otherwise) hasn't been doing for much of the last century.  The computer/robotic thing has been used in most ophthalmic labs for the past 20 years or so.  The quality control steps they show are no different either.  The vapor depostion process used for anti-glare treatments and mirrors (both flash and full mirrors) is also far from proprietary.  But BOY HOWDY did those Giro sales reps make it look NEATO!  rolleyes.gif  I hate to say it, but this is the same trick that the big O uses in most of their marketing as well.  It's all very run-of-the-mill, but man they make it sound like absolute rocket science.

 

I will say I had a good conversation with our OP Mr. Spongeworthy last night, and (I HOPE) was able to help steer him in a logical direction regarding his visual needs as they pertain specifically to snow sports and goggle wear.  And he's a nice a guy as anyone could hope to meet.  :)

 

If I can be of help to anyone, I'm always happy to give a call - it's far easier to offer a large amount of information in a short time.  Much more efficient than trying to address every possible option on a message board or through email.

 

Keep the questions coming - there is a lot we can all learn from each other here as well of course!

 

Brian~

post #30 of 152

Yes, the video is all fluff. If it weren't for Ingrid probably wouldn't have posted it. I agree, it's disappointing for Zeiss to have so little tech info.

 

Anyway, couple of questions re vision for goggles.

 

  • Spherical lenses or not?
  • The color transmission. Is this an individual preference or is there actual testing you do to determine what is better for someone?
  • Does one's color deficiency influence what lense to buy?
  • Night skiing- clear the best?

 

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