Best Ski Goggles for Flat Light in 2019 (REVIEW GUIDE)

In a perfect world, every day on the slopes would be filled with bluebird skies and sunshine, and there would be no need for such a thing as flat light goggles. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and skiing or snowboarding without good visibility can be a recipe for disaster.

So what are the best ski goggles for flat light? The ZIONOR Lagopus X4 snow goggles with light orange lens are my top pick, because at an affordable price and with a one year warranty, you will have high visibility and an ultra-wide, spherical, frameless design with magnetic lens attachment, as well as three layers of foam and a two way venting system, making it a super comfortable fit.

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If I’ve learned one thing from a lifetime of skiing, though, it’s that no one person’s experience or expectations on the slope are the same. Ski goggles have become pretty advanced over the years, with some even starting to integrate smartphone compatibility to put a computer in front of your eyes. So, it’s a good idea to learn about all the different criteria I’ve used in my research, and to compare a number of popular products. Keep reading to learn about my top three goggles for flat light.

Reviews of the Best Snow Goggles for Flat Light (Cloudy, Foggy & Whiteout Conditions)

GogglesVLTLens Color
ZIONOR X4 Snow Goggles 77%Light Orange
Smith Squad XL ChromaPop 69%Yellow
Bolle Mojo Snow Goggles 78%Lemon

1. ZIONOR X4 Snow Goggles, Light Orange Lens

ZIONOR X4 Snow Goggles

At 77% visible light transmission (VLT), the light orange lens has made the ZIONOR X4 a go-to for flat-light conditions, and the magnetic lens technology (comprised of eight powerful magnets around the frame) makes switching lenses a matter of seconds, literally.

What’s more, the affordability of this emerging brand makes it easy to own multiple lenses without even approaching the cost of some big brand goggles.

The spherical lens and frameless design mean that these goggles will provide optimal peripheral vision with minimal distortion, and top and bottom vents will prevent fogging.

Finally, if ZIONOR’s Enhanced Durability Tech (EDT) lets you down, the goggles come with a one-year warranty and self-declared “swift response” customer service.

None of this is ground-breaking on its own, especially in such a competitive market, but with a price far below many of the biggest name competitors, this balance of value and performance is hard to beat.

Pros:

  • Three layers of foam for comfort
  • 77% VLT
  • One-year warranty
  • Interchangeable lenses

Cons:

  • Magnetic lens technology can be less reliable than alternatives
  • Easily scratches (no anti-scratch coating)
  • Won’t fit over most glasses

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2. Smith Squad XL ChromaPop Googles

Smith Squad XL ChromaPop Googles

The Smith Squad XL ChromaPop has become a very popular pair of goggles for its combination of features and name-brand appeal: Smith was founded in 1965 and was the first brand to ever invent goggles with a sealed thermal lens and breathable vents, which makes it hard to question their reliability and prevalence.

The ChromaPop features two layers of face foam and a cylindrical, interchangeable lens with the standard anti-fog technology. What makes this a great option in my opinion, though, is that your purchase will come with two pairs of lenses and a microfiber bag.

Smith’s interchangeable lenses use plastic clips in the frame to lock the lens into place, rather than using magnets, which has both up and downsides.

While it can be pretty difficult to change the lenses, and Smith doesn’t offer any instructions with the goggles, this is generally a more secure system for keeping the lenses on the frame than magnetic technology.

For me, I would prefer Smith’s secure design, even if it takes a little muscle to wedge the lens properly into position.

For a big-name brand like Smith, this is a pretty good deal. Plus, having two pairs of lenses right off the bat will give you a reliable set-up that can get you through a foggy, snowy day or a sunny one.

The yellow lens offers 69% VLT which would be effective in flat light, and the ChromaPopEveryday lens will be perfect for the sunnier days at 25% VLT.

Pros:

  • Interchangeable lenses with a secure clip system
  • Two lenses come with the original purchase
  • Reliable brand with great anti-fog technology

Cons:

  • Lenses can be difficult to change
  • Not the cheapest
  • No anti-scratch coating
  • Will not fit over glasses

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3. Bolle Mojo Snow Goggles, Lemon Lens

Bolle Mojo Snow Goggles, Lemon Lens

The most affordable of my top picks for flat-light goggles, the Bolle Mojo Snow Goggles are a very simple but very reliable product.

The design is self-described as “throwback styling”, which seems like a nice way to admit that with a bulky black frame, they aren’t necessarily the most attractive goggle.

Style doesn’t matter so much, though, when Bolle offers anti-fog and anti-scratch coated lenses with VLT of 78%, complete with a one-year warranty, all for an incredibly low price.

Pretty much, this goggles have everything you need, but probably not everything you want. The lens, singular, is not interchangeable, and with that high VLT, it won’t be the best choice of goggles on bright days (of course, Bolle offers several goggles that cost less than competitors lenses alone if you’d need another pair).

The limited one-year warranty on this product speaks to Bolle’s long-term commitment to making customers happy, and so does their upfront description of the Mojo.

Rather than focusing on style and sophistication, these goggles focus on performance. The double lens design and anti-fog technology along with the lemon lens will effectively keep your vision clear, and you won’t have to break the bank along the way.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • VLT 78%
  • Reliable anti-fog and anti-scratch technology
  • One-year warranty

Cons:

  • “Throwback” style
  • Single lens that is not interchangeable
  • Will not fit over glasses

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What is Flat Light and How do Goggles Help

In heavy cloud cover or blowing snow, the ground and sky can seem to blend together, along with the surface of the run itself. This is considered flat light: times when there’s little sunshine and low visibility; when it’s cloudy, foggy, and even whiteout conditions.

While goggles typically protect the eyes from wind and sun, in flat light, they also give a skier or boarder the visibility necessary to navigate uneven terrain and stay safe.

The right goggles will add contrast to your surroundings, using different combinations of color and VLT in the lenses to adjust the eyes perception of shadows and sunlight.

So, in a lot of ways, choosing the right goggles is like choosing the right filter on Instagram (except instead of more likes, you’re gaining the confidence and safety to shred like a pro).

Lens color

Probably the biggest difference between goggles is the color of their lenses. And while skiing can include some aesthetic choices, the color of your goggles’ lens shouldn’t be one: this factor drastically affects the way you see the mountain.

For flat light, the trendy, reflective lenses will do very little to help your visibility. Instead, it’s best to look for something more transparent that will let in extra sunlight: think yellow/amber, pink/rose, or green.

My personal preference for flat light is to ski with a yellow lens. In fact, before I had interchangeable lenses, I skied with a pair of yellow/amber Oakley’s all season. Bright days were sometimes too bright, but in blowing snow or fog, I felt very confident that I was as prepared as possible.

It can be good to familiarize yourself with the full range of lens colors, especially if you’re considering buying multiple lenses for a single set of goggles. Otherwise, though, let’s get on to understanding why yellow/amber, clear, pink/rose, and green are the best color lenses for flat light. Ultimately, it all comes down to VLT.

VLT (Visible Light Transmission)

VLT is categorized by the percentage of sunlight that is filtered through the goggles. A clear lens has close to 100% VLT, then, which is why they’re really only used for night skiing.

The reflective lenses that I mentioned earlier can lose between 10-50% VLT just because of the light that is reflected, which is why the best goggles for flat light tend to be more transparent.

For those days that blowing snow or fog hampers visibility, I would recommend goggles with VLT of 50-80%, but anything above 25% will be suitable.

When you consider this measure, it’s easier to understand how big the difference is between lens colors. For instance, even the slight comparison between yellow and amber lenses can result in a disparity of about 20% VLT.

Still, VLT isn’t always determined exclusively by the color of the lens, so it’s important to research VLT for the specific model of goggles you’re looking at before pulling the trigger.

My Choice for the Best Ski Goggles for Flat Light

Buying snow goggles can be a difficult decision, especially when you’re looking for the best goggles for flat light.

Because of its three layers of foam on the frame for comfort, the interchangeable lenses with magnetic technology, and the light orange lens with 77% VLT and anti-fog technology, the ZIONOR Lagopus X4 goggles light orange lens are my top pick for the best goggles for those cloudy days with foggy or whiteout conditions

These goggles and additional lenses are very affordable, stylish, and practical. The product also comes with a one-year warranty, which makes it a pretty fail-safe purchase. While the brand is only just emerging, this product is quickly becoming one of the most popular on the market.

However, if you’re looking for something with a longer brand history, that comes with two lenses, consider the Smith Squad XL ChromaPop with yellow lens.

For something less showy and much more affordable, that will still perform well but won’t have interchangeable lenses, there’s also the Bolle Mojo Snow Goggles with lemon lens.

Top Rated Snow Goggles

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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