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What Ski Goggle Lens Color Should I Buy?

The Most Versatile Ski Goggle Lens Color

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Ski Freeriding in the Dolomites / Italy
Poncho/Taxi/Getty Images

Ski goggle lenses are available in every color of the rainbow. While some skiers choose different lenses for different conditions, many other skiers look for one, universal pair of goggles that work in almost all conditions. If you're looking for an all-around pair of ski goggles, here's more on how to buy ski goggles, including the best lens color for all conditions.

Ski Goggle Lens Colors

The most common color of ski goggle lenses is yellow to orange, with other popular colors being gold and amber. "Warm" colored goggle lenses like these work well on the slopes for several reasons. First, yellow goggle lenses enhance contrast and increase definition, so you can better see bumps, moguls, icy spots, and bare patches.

Additionally, yellow goggle lenses block out blue light, making your vision clearer and increasing visibility on foggy days. By filtering out blue light, yellow lenses also reduce glare, which eases the strain on your eyes so you can better focus on where you're going and what's in front of you.

Because yellow or orange goggle lenses reduce glare and filter out blue light, they work well on sunny days, but they aren't so dark as to obscure your vision on foggy days. In fact, goggle lenses that are in the yellow-range work especially well on days when the light is low.

Although yellow goggle lenses are the most universal choice for ski goggles, the best choice for you depends largely on where you ski. If you spend most of your time skiing in the East, where the days tend to be partly cloudy or overcast, investing in a yellow goggle lens is definitely a good choice for you.

However, if you usually ski in the West, where sunny "blue bird" days predominate, it's definitely important to consider purchasing a darker lens, such as a black or silver mirrored lens. While yellow goggle lenses do work well in the sun, you may want to go with a darker lens in extremely brought conditions, as darker lenses filter out more light and thus ease the strain on your eyes. A mid-tone yellow goggle with a dark orange or amber lens is a "happy medium," as these lens tints are dark enough to block out the sun while still allowing visibility in flat light. After all, even if you do ski with a dark lens, you'll want to have a lighter lens on hand for those favorite powder days.

Yellow Ski Goggles Lens Rule

That said, yellow ski goggles still remain as most skiers' favorite choice, and rightly so - undoubtedly, you will find that orange, yellow, amber, or gold lenses work well more often than not. However, more skiers are turning to another goggle lens option: photochromic lenses. Photochromic, or "photochromatic" ski goggles, change color based on the light condition. So, the goggle lenses would darken in bright conditions and lighten up in flat light. The transition is smooth and unnoticeable, but allows optimal visibility in all conditions. Although photochromic ski goggles are pricier than other options, they are an excellent investment, with superior performance no matter where you ski.

The one exception to the "yellow goggle lens" rule is, of course, when you're night skiing. The safest choice for night skiing is a clear goggle lens, which provides the most visibility and does not change the tone of the colors you perceive. Some skiers choose pink goggle lenses for night skiing, which work well too, but the best bet for night skiing is a clear lens, so if you ski at night often, make sure you have a separate pair of clear goggles for your turns under the stars.

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