Goggles do all kinds of crazy things these days. With heads-up displays they can show you speed, altitude, hang time, and locate your friends on the mountain. Sounds cool… for five minutes.
Having all that information at your eye-tips is great, but frankly I think it's a distraction. When I'm out on the hill I'd rather be enjoying the sensation of what two feet of fresh powder feels like under my feet than trying to keep up with all the stats my goggles are providing. That takes the fun, and the zen, out of it.
All of this is why I'm digging Salomon's new X-Max goggles. Instead of trying to sell me on new technology, they went back to the basics. Goggles are supposed to protect your eyes but avoid inhibiting your field of view. With the X-Max goggles, Salomon tinkered until they created a goggle that has a 30 percent greater field of vision than normal goggles. Out in the middle of a crazy-wide groomer, that's nothing to shout about. But deep in the trees, or down in a narrow couloir, knowing what's around you at all times can be a lifesaver.
With the X-Max goggles, Salomon also created a feature where you can swap lenses without having to actually touch the section you look through. Just undo the sliders on the sides of the goggles, grab the lens by the clip above your nose and the other at the top of the goggles and pull the lens off. No more greasy smudges blocking your view.
Like most goggles on the market, the X-Max are so big they make you look like a bug-eyed alien. But that look is in vogue so you won't stand out. I wish someone could figure out how to pack something like a 30 percent greater field of vision into something a little less loud, but for now I'll take function over form.