When we test gear, we test in as many real-world conditions as we possibly can. To gather information to decide the best ski goggle we tested in the Northern Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and the Tetons. The majority of our test took place in Lake Tahoe. With a wealth of ski resorts and incredible backcountry access, there's no limit to the terrain at our disposal. We also experience an incredible diversity of weather conditions, from brutal winter storms and subzero Wyoming weather to sunny California days and everything in between, including almost every skier's and rider's least favorite…rain.
All of our goggles were put through their paces, from cruising at the resorts to climbing and skiing backcountry peaks in every weather condition imaginable.
To test lens quality we skied in every pair of goggles in a range of light and weather conditions. We repeatedly switched goggles to see how they compared. This happened in the field, at home, and using a color wheel. We rated each model on its optical clarity, vision enhancement, and resistance to fogging and scratching.
Comfort is a more subjective metric that is closely linked to how well a pair of goggles fits your face. Ski goggles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and some may fit you better and more comfortably than others. To test this we had a number of different testers with different sized facial structures try on the various models and provide feedback. We also examined the construction of each model, including the frame, padding, strap, and how well each model stays in place and fits with or without a helmet.
Ventilation and Breathability
We tested the ventilation and breathability of each pair of goggles in a couple of ways. During normal everyday resort skiing, we took note of how well each pair resisted fogging during wet storm days as well as boot packing for extra vertical or traversing out to the powder stashes that are sure to work up a sweat. We took it one step further by taking each model backcountry skiing and hiking uphill with them on to really work up a sweat and see how each model fared. This is a more extreme test of a goggle's ventilation and breathability, but it proved to be very effective for our evaluations. With a slower start to the winter, we even did some rock climbing in Utah to test breathability and anti-fogging capabilities.
Ease of Changing Lenses
Not all lens attachment systems are created equal, and there is a huge difference in how easy it is to change lenses between the different models. This was easily tested by simply changing the lenses numerous times and comparing how quickly and easily the task was accomplished. The most user-friendly models could be even be swapped out while wearing gloves in mere seconds with little difficulty while others took much longer, even without the gloves.
To assess durability we used and abused these goggles at the resort and while backcountry skiing. They were taken on and off our helmets, lenses were changed frequently, and they were stuffed into our backcountry ski packs over and over again. At the end of our test period, we closely examined each pair, paying close attention to the lenses, padding, vent foam, and straps to inspect for any damage or premature wear.
There is currently no test for style, so we did our best to make an assessment of each model's style based on current trends and feedback from testers and friends. Style is a personal thing, so don't solely take our word for it, take a look and make your own decisions.