Every year countless skiers and snowboarders arrive at the mountaintop to begin their vacation without sport sunglasses suitable for a day on the slopes.
By wearing sunglasses that are specifically designed for skiing you can focus on enjoying the snow instead of worrying about sunburn, debris, vision problems, or injury ruining your perfect skiing holiday this winter.
Whether you’re heading to Aspen, Courchevel, Cortina, St. Anton or your local resort, it’s time to begin making plans for what you’ll be wearing on the pistes. Snowfall is upon us and making sure you have the best sunglasses for skiing when you hop off the chairlift can make all the difference in making sure you experience the holiday of a lifetime.
Any sunglasses will be better than no sunglasses at all, but once you’ve flown down a mountain in a fantastic pair of skiing sunglasses for the first time, there’s no way you’ll want to go without them ever again.
Here’s all you need to know about the benefits of slope-ready sunglasses and what you need to be looking out for when picking out the perfect pair this season
UV Light Protection
Ultraviolet light, also known as UV light, or sunshine, is a form of electromagnetic radiation that beams down on Earth from the sun. We know in small doses it can give us a glowing tan, but it can also cause painful sunburn and long-term exposure can cause serious health issues such as cancer and blindness – and skiers are at greater risk.
Ever noticed how when you’re on the slopes the snow seems extra white and shiny? That’s because the surface of snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light beaming down from the sky. To give you an idea of how much that is, sea foam reflects up to 25 percent of UV light and sand on a beach reflects up to 15 percent. Don’t let the cold surface of snow fool you, it can cause serious sunburn on your skin and to the cornea on the front surface of your eyes!
To take things even further, ultraviolet radiation levels increase by 10 percent for every 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) increase in elevation above sea level. So if you’re on a slope that sits 32,800 feet above sea level, you’re experiencing double the UV light that you would do on the beach.
What this all means is that snow lovers have to protect themselves from sun rays coming from beneath, behind, and all around them; not just from the sky.
Loose ice, stones, twigs, bugs, snow, or something flying off the skier in front of you can cause serious consequences if it hits you in the eye during a run. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from objects flying into them.
Sunglasses specifically designed for skiing will offer protection from debris such as loose ice. Pairs that wrap around your face will block unwanted snow particles coming in from the sides, while a strong fit will stop stuff sneaking in above or below your sunglasses.
Skiing sunglasses are stronger, and better equipped to handle the rigors of skiing. Frames will better handle the bumps and jumps, arms won’t snap in an instant, screws and lenses won’t pop out or break as easily, and the sunglasses will last far longer than your average pair that are designed to be a fashion accessory.
As opposed to glass or common plastic sunglasses, skiing sunglasses will be made of Polycarbonate. This is a lightweight plastic material that’s seriously strong and is way better to have on your face in a high-speed sport than glass lenses. These lenses are designed to withstand high impact, as opposed to other lens materials, such as glass.
Being able to see where you’re going and what’s in front of you is a good thing to be able to do when gliding down a mountain. Snowfall will stay out of your eyes, intense light, aka glare, will be dramatically reduced, and the contrast from coatings will help you pick out things easier.
Polarized lenses feature a chemical layer that dramatically reduces the amount of glare coming from both the snow and sun. They’ll also help you see hazards better while you're speeding down the mountain. Icey patches, for example, will appear extra shiny, making them easier to see and avoid.
On top of that, another plus is that the best skiing sunglasses will have a hydrophobic coating on the lenses. This makes them water repellent and helps you to see clearly during your run no matter the temperature or how much sweat is dripping down your brow. Hydrophobic coatings also help the lenses to thrive when condensation or water meets the lenses, keeping them clear - especially if the lenses wrap around your face.
For the icing on the cake, adding mirroring to your skiing sunglasses will further cut down on the level of glare creeping into your sight. Mirrored lenses will also make you look cooler than cool while cruising down the mountains - or chilling at the ski lodge - this winter.
Of course being able to see better is going to feel more comfortable, but also you’re gonna want to have a pair of sunglasses that stay where they’re meant to be without any irritation.
Rubber nose bridges and ear arms will help the sunglasses to stay in place during a run without causing friction, scratching or unbearable compression against your skin. They’ll also be easily adjustable so you contort the nose bridge and arms to fit perfectly around your face.
So there you have it. The gist is, anything is better than nothing when it comes to sunglasses and skiing, but the more you focus on skiing-specific features, the better your experience on the slopes will be. As long as you prioritize a pair that offers protection, after that it comes down to style choice and extra features that work within your budget. Then you’re good to go! All that’s left is to remember to come back here to order your Sunglass Fix replacement lenses once your frames are ready for a lens upgrade and we’ll take care of everything, including free worldwide shipping. Until then, happy skiing!