Across the province, skiers and snowboarders are looking to the hills for their annual fix of winter fun. And they’re liking what they see. Lots of precipitation and cool temperatures through late fall has experienced mountain watchers reasonably optimistic.
Last year we told you why laser eye surgery is a great choice for people with active lifestyles in our blog post Laser Eye Surgery a Solution for Snow Sports. Click the link for some great reasons to choose LASIK or similar options to improve your vision on the hill without having to fuss with glasses or contact lenses. But if you’re already aware of the benefits of laser eye surgery, check out the long range snow prediction, goggle suggestions, and opening day information provided below, including links to all the ski resorts close by the Metro Vancouver region. Worth a bookmark for sure, so you can stay up-to-date on conditions all year!
Veteran avalanche rescue expert and Whistler/Blackcomb ski patroller Wayne Flann has been keeping a close eye on the Sea to Sky region’s snow conditions for 30 years. He made this prediction on the blog of the outdoor clothing and equipment company Arc’teryx:
“My bet is on a weak El Nino. This could mean more snow than last year with more frequent storms arriving on the coast. It could also mean some relief for the California drought. As long as there is enough cold air migrating from the North it could be a slightly better than average year for snow in the Southern BC Coastal Mountains.”
So if Wayne is right, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to ski or snowboard this year. And when you hit those snowy slopes, a good pair of goggles makes all the difference. The right fit and the right lens offers comfort and improved vision – crucial factors for making the most of your day on the mountain. Erin Keam is a Level 4 ski instructor with over 25 years of experience, and the manager of Skiis and Biikes in Whistler. He has some great advice for getting goggles that are right for you.
“There’s no really bad goggles on the market, but some are better than others. Look for spherical lenses over cylindrical, as they offer better optics. A rubberized strap is a nice feature if you wear a helmet, as the goggles are less likely to slip. Lens colour is important, because certain colours work better for certain conditions. Here in Whistler probably 85% of skiers will be comfortable with a rose-tinted lens.”
Keam notes that high-tech goggles with features such as heads-up displays (HUD) and built-in video cameras can be heavy on the bridge of the nose compared to regular goggles, but they do appeal to some skiers and snowboarders. However, he thinks you can do more with a GoPro camera and still get a great pair of goggles for roughly the same price as the more expensive high-tech eyewear on the market. Perhaps the most important feature he says is a good fit. Different goggles will fit certain face sizes and shapes better than others. It also never hurts to bring your helmet with you when goggle shopping, to make sure they will fit properly.
With that in mind, here’s five goggles we think offer great features and value, from budget-conscious basics, to models with all the bells and whistles.
Optic Nerve Radon
With spherical anti-fog lens, wide field of view, rubberized strap, triple-density foam and full UV protection, the Optic Nerve Radon hits all the right notes in a price to please budget-minded snowsports enthusiasts. Designed to fit an average-sized face.
POC claims their rimless design makes it easy to remove snow, but for sheer super-spy looks it’s hard to beat the Lid. Add in a super-wide field of view, triple layer foam and anti-scratch/anti-fog lens treatment and they deliver looks and performance.
The I/O7 is Smith’s latest iteration of the rimless interchangeable lens model. Minimalist in look, it nevertheless packs some impressive performance with deluxe features such as three-layer foam and two lens (green and red tints) included.
Anon M2 Pollard Pro
If you find changing lens a hassle, look no further than the Pollard Pro. Because magnets! The M-2 Magna Tech system uses rare earth magnets to affix the lens to the goggle frame. The result is fast, easy lens-swapping functionality.
Recon Snow 2
Vancouver-based Recon Instruments is a leader in heads-up display goggle technology. The unit can be bought separately or bundled with the UVEX G.GL 9. The feature list is long and impressive from GPS data to smartphone control.
$399/$549 (bundle) MSRP
Found a pair you like? Here’s the scheduled opening days for Lower Mainland and area ski hills, so you can look forward to trying out those new goggles and getting your fix of snowsports fun this season. Some of the listed alpine skiing resorts may offer limited lift access and reduced openings early in the season. Please check their website for the most up-to-date info.
Now Open (limited lifts/runs)
Now Open (limited lifts/runs)
Opens: end of November
Opens: Dec. 5
Manning Park Resort
Opens: Nov 29 (Nordic) Dec. 12 Downhill
Hemlock Valley Resort
Opens: Dec. 6
Opens: late November