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The Best Ski Goggles For Flat Light 2021 Helpful Guide

best ski goggles for flat light skiing

Skiing in flat light can add a whole new set of challenges to skiing. The snow surface is hard to see. You can’t tell where bumps or ruts are in the snow. If your out skiing in a large open bowl it can be very disorienting. Flat light conditions include cloudy days, fog, overcast days, and skiing in the snow. Having the right ski goggles can make skiing in flat light much easier. A lens with the correct VLT and color tint can make a huge difference in how you can see. To help you have your best skiing on flat light days, here are the best ski goggles for flat light skiing.

For flat light skiing, we want a goggle with a lens that has 20-60% VLT (Visible Light Transmission) and yellow, orange, or brown tint. Many goggles are available with different lens options. Please choose the lens option with 20-60% VLT if you want to use it for flat light skiing.

Below are our 3 favorite best ski goggles for flat light skiing. If you’d like an in-depth look at all the options and our helpful guide to ski goggles please look below.

Top Pick

Oakley Flight Deck Ski Goggles

Editors Choice

Smith I/O Mag Snow Goggle

Best Value

OutdoorMaster Pro Frameless Goggles

The top 5 best ski goggles for flat light skiing

We examined several of the most popular ski goggles for flat light skiing available today.  Here are our reviews of the 5 best options available today.  We considered both price, options, and customer reviews in our selections of the best ski goggles for flat light skiing. Below are our selections.

Please see our ski goggle guide, after the reviews, for a lot of helpful information for choosing a set of ski goggles for flat light conditions.

Top Pick

Oakley Flight Deck Ski Goggles

  • Rimless frame design provides increased visibility and improved helmet compatibility
  • Flexible O Matter chassis conforms to your face comfortably, even in extreme cold
  • All-day comfort of triple-layer face foam with moisture wicking polar fleece lining

Summary

The Oakley Flight Deck Goggles are a stylish high performing ski goggle. These goggles have a swappable lens. You can have lenses for flat light skiing and other conditions. The goggles only include one lens.

The Oakley Prizm technology helps refract light with higher definition. You can see more definition of the snow and surroundings with a prizm lens than with the naked eye. Choose a lens with a VLT suitable for flat light such as the prizm rose or prizm persimmon for flat light skiing. The Oakley F3 anti-fog coating is one of the best performing in the industry. The high quality foam around the frame feels great.

The Oakley Flight Deck Goggles are one of the best performing ski goggles today. They are high cost and we wish that a second lens was included for the money. Most other swappable lense goggles include a second lens. If cost is no issue these are great ski goggles for flat light or any skiing conditions. This is our Top Pick for best performing ski goggle for flat light skiing.

Ski Goggle Specifications

  • Sizing: One size fits all
  • VLT: 26% Prizm Rose, 38% Prizm Persimmon
  • Dual Pane Lenses: Yes
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • Lens Swapping: Yes
  • OTG: Yes
What We Liked
✔️ Rimless design for increased visibility
✔️ Great anti-fog performance
✔️ High definition visibility from PRIZM lens
What We Didn’t Like
Easily scratch lenses
Only one lens included

Editor’s Choice

Smith I/O Mag Snow Goggle

  • The Smith I/O MAG combines the quick and secure Smith MAG interchangeable lens system with ChromaPop lens
  • VISION: Smith MAG interchangeable system, Includes bright light and low light ChromaPop performance lenses
  • FIT: Medium it, Responsive Fit frame design, QuickFit strap adjustment system with clip buckle

Summary

The Smith I/O Mag Snow Goggle is a great high performance goggle. The I/O goggles have been around for many years and a proven solid performer. The new magnetic lens swap system is a great addition. The old I/O lens system was not something you could swap in seconds on a chairlift ride or standing on the slopes. You can now swap the lens quickly and easily any time you want.

The Chromopop lens technology from Smith Optics gives high definition light refraction. This means you can differentiate colors easier and see better. The Chromopop Storm Rose is a great flat light lens and comes as the extra lens for most Smith I/O goggles. Some do come with other second lenses so please check what you are buying. These goggles have great ventilation and anti-fogging when combined with a Smith helmet.

The Smith I/O Mag Snow Goggles are one of the best ski goggles available today. I personally have been using I/O’s for years and have always been satisfied with them in any light condition. These are my pick for best ski goggles for flat light skiing.

Ski Goggle Specifications

  • Sizing: Available in Small, Regular and XL
  • VLT: 50% Chromopop Storm Rose, 65% Chromopop Storm Yellow
  • Dual Pane Lenses: Yes
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • Lens Swapping: Yes
  • OTG: Yes (XL)
What We Liked
✔️ Magnetic lens swapping
✔️ High definition Chromopop lens
✔️ Most goggles include 2 lens
What We Didn’t Like
High cost
Easily scratched lenses

Best Value

OutdoorMaster Pro Frameless Goggles

  • PERFORMANCE SKI GOGGLES WITH FRAMELESS DESIGN – Large spherical, frameless lens provides a truly unobstructed & clear view of the slopes.
  • INTERCHANGEABLE LENS SYSTEM – Enjoy a wide range of extra lenses. Swap for day/night & different weather conditions.
  • OTG (OVER-THE-GLASSES) DESIGN – The Ski Goggles PRO features an OTG design that lets you wear your glasses under the goggles.

Summary

The OutdoorMaster Pro Frameless Goggles are a great low cost full feature goggle. These goggles feature a magnetic swapping spherical lens. They are also OTG compatible for those of us who wear prescription glasses. Only one lens is included with the goggles. Other lenses can are available separately.

These goggles have dual pane lenses with anti-fog coating and ventilation. Their anti-fog performance is okay but not as good as other higher cost ski goggles. The magnets attaching the lens could be stronger. The lens can be knocked off while adjusting your goggles or during a fall. The spherical lens has high clarity and low distortion. It doesn’t have the great color refraction that the Chromopop/SONAR/Vivid/PRIZM have. For the cost, you still get good performance on flat light days.

For the best performance in flat light conditions use the purple (30% VLT) or blue (60% VLT) lens. These goggles are an excellent value. They have most of the performance of more expensive goggles at a much lower price. This makes it our top pick for best value in flat light ski goggles.

Ski Goggle Specifications

  • Sizing: Medium to large fit
  • VLT: 30% Purple, 60% Blue
  • Dual Pane Lenses: Yes
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • Lens Swapping: Yes
  • OTG: Yes
What We Liked
✔️ Variety of styles and lens tints
✔️ Low cost
✔️ Stylish appearance
What We Didn’t Like
They only come with 1 lens
Magnets holding lens could be stronger

Best Swappable Lens

Giro Contact Snow Goggles

  • SNAPSHOT MAGNETIC LENS SYSTEM – Utilizes self-locating rare earth magnets and a secure locking mechanism
  • VIVID LENS TECHNOLOGY with Optics by ZEISS – VIVID is a patented lens technology developed by Giro
  • EXV FRAMELESS DESIGN – with Snapshot Magnetic Lens Interchange System, 2 premium Vivid Lenses

Summary

The Giro Contact Snow Goggle is another modern high performance goggle. Giro is a well known and respected maker of goggles and helmets for a variety of action sports. The Contact goggle follows all the current trends. High quality spherical lens, magnetic lens swapping, and good anti-fog performance.

The Giro Vivid lens technology is their version of an improved color refraction lens. It allows you to differentiate snow terrain in low light much better than the naked eye alone. You will get the best performance in flat light conditions with Vivid Infrared lens. The lenses are dual pane and include anti-fog ventilation. The ventilation works best when combined with a Giro helmet.

These goggles come with 2 lenses with a variety of tints and frame designs. Be sure you choose one of the options that include the Vivid Infrared lens. These are a solid good performing goggle from a very well respected brand.

Ski Goggle Specifications

  • Sizing: Medium fit
  • VLT: 58% Vivid Infrared
  • Dual Pane Lenses: Yes
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • Lens Swapping: Yes
  • OTG: No
What We Liked
✔️ Easy to use lens swapping
✔️ Includes 2 lenses
✔️ Good anti-fog performance
What We Didn’t Like
High cost
Lens anti-fog may degrade after a couple years

Best Under $50

Wildhorn Roca Snowboard & Ski Goggles

  • CHANGE YOUR LENS IN UNDER 60 SECONDS
  • EFFORTLESS PERFORMANCE / UNLIMITED STYLE
  • AURORA LENS TECHNOLOGY

Summary

The Wildhorn Roca Snowboard & Ski Goggles are a good low cost goggle option. They have spherical lenses with magnetic swapping. They have side latches as well for a little extra lens security. They are designed by skiers and snowboarders in Utah and are a sponsor of the US-Ski Team.

These goggles have dual pane spherical lenses with anti-fog and anti-scratch coating. They scratch as easily as any goggles from Smith, Oakley or Giro. Their anti-fog performance is okay but not as good as Smith or Oakley when used with a compatible helmet. Lens clarity is as good as any regular lens. For flat light use the Blaze or Amber lenses for best performance.

The Wildhorn Roca goggles are a good value for a swappable lens goggle with good performance. We wish they included 2 lenses with their goggle frame. Extra lenses are not expensive and readily available. They are a great pick for flat light ski goggle for those not wanting to pay the premium of Smith, Oakley, ANON or Giro.

Ski Goggle Specifications

  • Sizing: Medium to large fit
  • VLT: 24% S2 Blaze, 22% S2 Amber
  • Dual Pane Lenses: Yes
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • Lens Swapping: Yes
  • OTG: Yes
What We Liked
✔️ Magnetic lens with side latches
✔️ Low cost
✔️ Variety of colors and lenses
What We Didn’t Like
Lenses are not polarized
Does not include a 2nd lens
overcast skiing whistler peak

How to choose the best ski goggles for flat light skiing – Helpful Guide

Skiing in flat light doesn’t have to be a struggle. The right ski goggles can make it easy to see on an overcast or foggy day. When it’s snowing we want to get out and enjoy the powder. Don’t let flat light hard to see conditions stop you from getting the most out of your ski day. The right pair of ski goggles can make flat light skiing much more enjoyable. Ski goggles help keep your face warmer and your eyes protected in addition to making it easier to see. What are the best ski goggles for flat light skiing? We will answer all your questions below.

I’ll start with a note about fit. Everyone’s faces are of different shapes. Ski goggles are different shapes also. What is comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for another person. When picking ski goggles, don’t worry if you get them and they don’t feel good. The shape is probably wrong for you. Send them back and try a different pair.

Below are the most important factors to consider when choosing a pair of ski goggles for flat light skiing.

VLT

VLT stands for Visible Light Transmission. This is a measurement of how much visible light a lens will let pass through. A VLT of 99% means 99% of light passes through. A VLT of 15% means only 15% of light passes through. For flat light (overcast, cloudy, foggy, and snowy) skiing we want a VLT between 20% and 60%. The below table shows what VLT should be for different skiing conditions.

VLT for ski goggles table

Lens color

Ski goggles lenses that are light yellow, orange and red shades work better for flat light. Those colors work better at allowing you to see differences in snow surfaces. Look for ski and snowboard goggles with these shades to get better performance in flat light.

Prism, Chromopop, SONAR, and VIVID Technologies

Ski Goggle manufacturers have developed lenses with improved color refraction. These lenses give you better color differentiation than the naked eye. This allows you to make out features in the snow and background that you otherwise could not. Each manufacturer has different names for the technology but they all work the same way. These lenses are expensive but their performance in flat light is much better. Below is a list of the flat light lens technology from the most popular ski goggle makers.

  • Smith Chromopop – Storm yellow flash, storm rose flash
  • Anon SONAR – Infrared SONAR, Blue Sonar
  • Oakley PRIZM – hi pink iridium, rose, persimmon
  • Giro VIVID – Infrared, Apex

To learn more about Chromopop and Prizm technologies, see the 2 videos below.

Anti-Fog Performance

Fogged up ski goggles will make it hard to see in any conditions including flat light. We want goggles with strong anti-fog performance. For a ski goggle to have good anti-fog performance it must have dual pane lenses, ventilation and an anti-fog coating.

Lens Shape

Ski goggle lenses come in 2 different shapes. Cylindrical/flat or spherical. Flat or cylindrical lenses are flat along their vertical plane. They curve around your face. Spherical lenses have vertical and horizontal curvature. Spherical lenses are closer to the shape of your eye and will have less visible distortion.

If you have never worn a pair of spherical lens goggles you probably won’t notice the distortion in flat lenses. If you put on a set of ski goggles with a spherical lens you’ll notice everything looks a little more clear. Is this feature necessary? Absolutely not. If your budget conscious you can enjoy skiing just as much with flat lens goggles.

Swappable Lenses

Some ski goggles have swappable lenses. You can keep a low light lens in your pocket to switch too as light and weather change. This is perfect for flat light skiing since you can use the same pair of ski goggles for different light conditions. You can keep a bright light lens and flat light lens with you to swap between. Swappable lens ski goggles have a wide variety of swapping methods. The newer versions using magnets are fast and easy to swap. Older systems that use various latches and notches can be a pain to switch.

The easier it is to swap lenses, the more often you will find yourself switching lenses to the best lense for the conditions.

Appearance

Your ski goggles are an important part of your ski outfit. Everyone wants to look good while skiing. All ski goggles don’t go with all ski outfits. Find a pair of ski goggles that you like the looks of and are comfortable. This is another area where the “Goggle Gap” comes in. It looks bad and will give you a cold forehead if you have too much goggle gap.

OTG – Over The Glasses

OTG or Over The Glasses ski goggles have a thicker frame and cutouts in the foam to accommodate glasses. The frame has to be thick enough so that there is room for a pair of regular glasses inside the goggle frame. The lens from the glasses should not be touching the goggle lens. If they are touching you will rub and scratch both the glasses and goggle lens.

The below video has some helpful tips for choosing ski goggles.

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For other types of ski goggles please see our complete ski goggle guide here.

selfie for info block

About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water.  I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions.  I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.

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