On a soggy day at Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah, we assembled an elite group of skiers willing to sacrifice their retinas and dignity to determine the best helmets and goggles of the year at our first annual Headspace event.
The skiers that comprised the Powder Order of Sartorial Splendor and Excellence, or POSSE, donned garbage bags over their jackets, cinched up their fanny packs tight, and endured sleeting rain, wind, and occasionally snow in order to ascertain the products that deliver safety, durability, ease of use, comfort, and performance in all conditions—including après on the patio when the sun finally popped.
What they found was an impressive array of technology, including custom-fitting helmets and improved lens-change systems, but that personal style and fit were still of utmost importance. —Sierra Shafer
PHOTOS: David Reddick
Anon's magnetic lens-change system is the easiest method on the market; it can be done in less than 30 seconds, while wearing gloves, in a storm, with the option to switch between tint as well as spherical or cylindrical lenses.
Made with exclusive Zeiss lens tech, these large-frame goggles provide a wide range of view and allow some blue light to infiltrate for increased visibility and clarity. During an all-day barrage of spring rain and sleet at Solitude, the M4 never fogged or leaked.
The magnet strength holds up on impact and is equipped to support Anon's magnetic face shield.
Cylindrical Lenses: Flat and low profile, cylindrical lenses curve around the vertical axis of the goggle. Though they don't eliminate as much glare or distortion, cylindrical lenses are making a comeback.
The Revent is designed to transition with changing light and intended to eliminate the need to swap lenses as the weather shifts.
In wet conditions, the double-paned lens stayed fog-free. A wide, cylindrical lens offers increased peripheral vision (heavy on rose hues) and a snug fit with Atomic-made helmets.
Trying to fit this goggle with other helmets, however, proved challenging for some.
The new shape of this goggle allows for a wide panoramic view with excellent peripheral vision, but the large frame may overpower smaller faces.
The transitional lens, available in amber and yellow, works with UV rays to darken or dim without decreasing visibility or contrast—a great option for the skier who wants to minimize the gear they have to carry.
Armored venting (where the upper foam is covered in vented plastic) allows heat and moisture to escape while keeping snow from sneaking in—all of which works together to prevent fogging.
Swapping cylindrical lenses on the frameless NFX 2 is as easy as flipping two small, locking levers and can be done while wearing gloves and without removing your goggles.
Armored venting and a special anti-fog coating kept vision clear while Lumalens tech provided the POSSE with a crisp view of the snow. Fits snug with most helmets.
This goggle is perfect for its simplicity. The Toric shape is more elliptical than spherical to match the shape of the eye and limit distortion. The Zeiss lens are vivid, which is amazing for vision even in low light, though the change system isn’t one we’d recommend doing with gloves on. Despite being soaked by rain, there was no issues with fogging.
Made to fit a smaller face, the Lusi goggle received high marks from the POSSE for the comfortable fit against face and helmet. It pairs especially well with the Giro Jackson helmet. While some found the silicon strap to help keep the goggle snuggly in place around their helmet, anyone with long hair had complaints.
The massive fixed lens in the Fovea goggle provides the widest range of view in this lineup. There’s zero you can’t see in these. This does come at the cost of a much larger frame that was too big for some of the POSSE members. Paying homage to the brand’s racing background, this lens is one of the most safest and sturdiest upon impact. It’s interchangeable, but not done with magnets or a flick-lock system. Instead, you wrap a slit in the frame around the lens, which takes a bit of time, but stays locked in once you’re set up.
Spherical Lenses: These lenses have a 'bubble' look, meaning they have a vertical and horizontal curve. The design is intended to eliminate distortion and glare while improving peripheral vision. The surface area of spherical lenses is generally greater than flat lenses, which improves vision but that some people find bulbous and unattractive.
The latest from the popular I/O line from Smith, the I/O Mag follows the goggle trend using a magnetic lens-swap system. After eight magnets guide the lens into place, the I/O Mag offers two locking mechanisms to ensure the lens stays where it belongs even during a wicked safety-bar-to-the-dome ambush.
POSSE members noted how easily the lens swapped out, and the excellent fit and anti-fog integration when paired with the Smith Quantum helmet. Two ChromaPop spherical lenses are included: one for bright light, one for low.