Sunglasses or ski goggles?
Should I choose sunglasses or a ski mask?
The ski season is back and, like every year, protecting your eyes is the essential preventative measure when exposed to snow. The effects of the sun are increased tenfold by the snow cover, i.e. 85% of the ultraviolet rays are reflected. The altitude increases the phenomenon: every 1000 meters, the proportion of UV rays increases by 10%. We always remember to protect our skin with sunscreen, but not always remember to protect our eyes. Sunburn in the eye can have fatal consequences. So protect your eyes all year round. There are two types of glasses to choose from: sunglasses or ski goggles. We'll tell you straight away: Both variants protect your eyes, but the properties are different. In our ultimate winter guide you can find out which variant suits you better.
Sunglasses, an essential accessory for your health
If you've forgotten your sunglasses in the car, don't hesitate and go back for them! They are the health good for your eyes in winter sports. Even a day in the snow without protective goggles can have fatal consequences. The brightness is indeed extreme on snow, especially on a sunny day - but not just because some cloudy days can be extremely bright as well, and in a more damaging way, is less obvious. Eyewear manufacturers have increasingly been able to develop protective and constantly improved lenses to counter two different phenomena: solar radiation, which attacks your eyes, and glare, which can quickly put you in danger. Don't hesitate to equip yourself as well as you can, because your eye capital is at stake! Beware of snow ophthalmia, which usually occurs several hours after the eyes come into contact with snow and which leads to light intolerance and various diseases (burns, tears, redness). This phenomenon can even become chronic if you repeat overexposure.
When choosing sunglasses for skiing, look for glasses with maximum protection that are suitable for very strong light. Imagine when you are at the seaside in summer your eyes are exposed to almost half as much ultraviolet rays, as water only reflects up to 10% of UV rays, compared to 85% for snow. We recommend that you choose the maximum protection index, since in reality there is no more extreme situation for the eyes in everyday life than performing outdoor activities on the snow. Don't neglect this for your children either: the maximum index is highly recommended, whether they are skiing, sledding or hiking.
Another aspect that you need to carefully consider is the area your glasses will cover. Frames that are too small can let UV rays through. So choose sunglasses that cover your face as much as possible. If you still prefer small lenses, ideally you should have leather side shields to keep rays from getting through the sides.
What are the advantages of sunglasses?
Protective sunglasses have one big advantage compared to ski goggles: They take up little space and adapt to any additional equipment, especially ski helmets. Sunglasses are necessarily smaller than a helmet. The glasses are light and have minimal skin contact. It allows the face to breathe, causes no discomfort and leaves the feeling of being in contact with the outside. Especially when the weather is nice and hot there is no need to fear unnecessary sweating!
Glasses, in particular, are by definition ventilated and you won't have any discomfort from fogging due to breathing, snow, or ambient humidity. Wearing glasses while skiing also means gliding easily and without unnecessary bulk. This is a significant advantage when you consider all the equipment you need to wear, especially when skiing or snowboarding: wetsuits, helmets, gloves, gliding gear ...
Finally, compared to masks, glasses have the advantage that they are not special equipment and are therefore a versatile investment. If you invest in excellent sunglasses for skiing, you will make them even more profitable, as they will also be useful for you when driving, in good weather, in nature, on the water and as soon as the rays of the sun appear, which is obviously not possible with a ski mask! You will kill not two, but three, four, five or six birds with one stone. However, if you want a real skier look and want to wear glasses, you also have the choice between a variety of special snow models.
The ski mask, a special equipment
Ski goggles have lenses with the same protective indices as sunglasses. With regard to protection against solar radiation, the values are the same and, as with glasses, it is essential to select the maximum protection index for snow. In this point, a mask is no different from ski goggles. A number of masks are sensitive to fogging problems. This is the traditional disadvantage of the ski mask. Today, well-made masks almost all have a ventilation system that prevents the build-up of mist on contact with breathing or snow, which has greatly improved the comfort of these devices.
Likewise, some masks are large and rigid, and sometimes incompatible with a helmet. When choosing, be sure to choose a flexible, low volume mask so that it can be worn with the helmet.
The main advantage of the mask is the thermal protection against bad weather, wind and cold. Especially when skiing in bad weather or on very cold days, it is useful to have eye protection equipment that protects your face and keeps you warm at the same time. When a skier wears a helmet and an adapted mask, he has a real barrier against the cold. In this regard, the mask is more than just sun protection: it is an extension of the thermal cover.
What are the advantages of ski masks?
The mask is a very special equipment for skiing, which can add additional costs if you have already purchased the necessary equipment. It is profitable if you plan to ski a lot, especially in bad weather. However, if you are satisfied with a few trips out during the year, preferably with nice weather, it is far less useful to get yourself a pair of ski goggles. Ultimately, the decision in favor of glasses or a ski mask remains primarily a question of the wearer: glasses are universal and suitable for winter sports as well as for many other everyday situations. The mask is intended exclusively for outdoor sports in winter. This is an additional purchase for your snow sports practices.
But this choice is also the optimization of your mountain practice. The mask is a special device that is mainly used in bad weather conditions. In dry, sunny weather, the mask is not only unnecessary, it may even be uncomfortable as it keeps you warm and prevents your face from breathing. In the cold and in the snow, however, it serves as a visor and protects you. The glasses won't keep you warmer, but without having to protect yourself from the cold and rain, they do their job of protecting your eyes without discomfort.
In conclusion, we will say that sunglasses are essential for driving on snow: they are simply ideal in a variety of situations, especially during the "perfect" day of skiing: 15 ° C in the sun, not a cloud in the sky, the horizon, one shimmering snow cover. The mask gives you extra comfort, which is very useful if you ski very often and want to expose yourself to more difficult weather conditions. Or if your ski weekend luckily coincides with a devilish snow storm this year! In these cases, don't hesitate to purchase one in addition to your equipment