Eyes. Brains. Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal. Fortunately, there is an amazing array of options for protecting our eyes and head while enjoying our favorite pastime on da hill. No doubt the selection of goggles and helmets these days can be a little overwhelming. Whether you are finally convinced it is time to protect your dome and you need to buy your first helmet, or you have to replace the goggle you dropped from the chair, the experts at Gorge can guide you in the right direction.
Gorge Performance carries goggles from Smith, Spy & Anon (a Burton company). Prices range from $35 – $175 so it is important to consider four key features before shelling out your hard earned cash. Whether you hope to make it up to the mountain a handful of times this season or you plan on punching in 100+ days, there is a right goggle for you.
The frame shape determines your field of vision. A larger frame lets you take in more of your surroundings. Smaller frames, a slightly tighter view of the mountain. Consider the size of your face. All frames are built a bit different and fit varies from face to face. One hot trend is the rimless frame offering a large field of vision with a smaller frame as seen in the Smith I/O.
Your two main lens shapes are cylindrical, like the Spy Trevor and spherical, like the Spy Marshall. Cylindrical lenses are your traditional flat shaped highly functional lens. Spherical lenses resemble giant fly eyes with their large volume bubble shape. the spherical shape is designed to increase your peripheral vision and offer that jaw dropping panoramic view from the top. Priced at $130 the Anon Comrade gives you that spherical shape, mimicking the curvature of the human eye, without the $200+ price tag of other pro models.
The purpose of lens tinting, aside from protection against harmful rays, is offering you the best light for the conditions you ride. There are tints for grey overcast days, night riding and even bright sunny days (we have those in Oregon?) With many Mt. Hood days falling somewhere in the fifty shades of grey, finding a tint like the Anon Hawk Eye that amplifies contrasts, increases color definition and depth perception is a treat for your eyes. If you are one of those riders who rides in all conditions, look for an interchangeable lens goggle like the Spy Platoon that allows you to adjust for the day ahead.
One of THE most useful website features we’ve seen is the Lens Visualizer from Anon (screen shot above). First you choose a group of recommended lenses based on weather conditions (bluebird, partly cloudy or greybird), then you watch some sweet Go-Pro video of how the slopes will look with that lens. You even get to choose your terrain (backcounty, park or pipe). Nice.
All goggles vent right? True enough but not all goggles vent equally. The Smith Phenom has manually adjustable vent holes to let you control the amount of air coming in and out. The Anon Helix has full perimeter channel venting to ensure maximum airflow. For the ultimate in anti-fog technology,the Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan is equipped with a micro-electric fan mounted within the goggle frame to exhaust all moisture. They also have one of the largest interior volumes making them perfect for all eye glass wearers.
Regardless of bells and whistles, with goggles (and helmets, too) you’ll want to ensure a good fit. A goggle can be loaded with features, but if it doesn’t fit your face it won’t perform as it should. Next you’ll want to verify your goggle and helmet play nice together. Compatibility with certain designs can be an issue.
Gorge Performance carries both Red and Smith snowboard helmets. It is important to know that all SNELL certified helmets worn correctly protect your melon. Differentiating helmets is not about safety, but rather fit, comfort, weight and features. They range in price from $60-$130. As you go up in price, the weight of the helmet goes down. A light helmet can make a huge difference on a long day. Lets look at a couple options.
Red Trace ($69.95) Weight: 28 oz
Gorge Rider Ricky, has been wearing this bucket for years. The Trace is designed for maximum durability and easy customization at a price that says you have no excuse for not committing at going big.
Smith Maze ($99.95) Weight: 11.5oz
A minimalist helmet that offers a lot of bang for your buck. Equipped with removable ear flaps & summer pad kit to wear it on warm sunny days or even skateboarding. Nine vents keep your scalp from getting too sweaty and its only 11 head bobbing ounces.
Smith Transport ($129.95) Weight 16oz
Equipped with the same BOA fit system found on your boots, you can dial in the exact fit you want in seconds. No more adjusting multiple straps while your fingers get frostbite. 16 air vents to keep you cool. Durable and comfortable this helmet is top of the line.
So after you’ve set yourself up with proper brain and eye protection this season, consider if a loved one is also in need. There is no more practical gift, yet one that still holds a high “cool” factor , than a stylin’ pair of goggles and/or helmet.