How to choose snow masks ?

Today, when it comes to choosing ski masks, there are hundreds of products available on the market. However, it goes without saying that not all models are created equal and you should always make an informed choice according to your practice. In short, here’s a complete guide to accompany you on your next ski trip!

Spherical or cylindrical screen ?

You will often have to choose between a spherical or cylindrical screen for your snow mask. So what are the advantages and disadvantages ? Here's a quick overview.

Spherical screen

The spherical screen of snow goggles is curved in 3 dimensions. This means that it’s rounded and naturally follows the shape of your retina. Decidedly modern, it offers an extremely wide field of vision and perfectly suits freeriding. It’s therefore important to know that this type of screen allows you to better apprehend the terrain and, consequently, to optimize your descents. On the other hand, be aware that this type of screen can cause visual distortions and shift the way images are perceived. These snow goggles should be avoided if you wear progressive lenses, as they can cause pronounced visual fatigue.

Cylindrical screen

Unlike the spherical screen, the cylindrical screen is cut on a two-dimensional axis. Therefore, it adapts much better to the shape of your face and your field of vision. There’s no image distortion, but field of vision is reduced. That's why these snow masks are often favoured by regular skiers who tend to do piste skiing. Also, they’re a better choice should you wear glasses. In addition, the cylindrical screen adds a vintage touch to your style and is less expensive than its rival.

Which type of glass ?

As with screens, there are several types of glass to consider when choosing your snow goggles.

Organic, or polycarbonate, glass. This is the most commonly used glass. It must be said that it’s extremely resistant, especially in the event of impact. It’s also ultra-light, comfortable and is available in a multitude of colours.

Mineral glass. This is one of the main materials used for snow goggles. It’s extremely resistant to scratches and is known for its optical qualities. However, it’s much more fragile and heavier than polycarbonate glass.

NXT glass. The latest in its category, NXT glass is becoming increasingly popular in the world of snow goggles. It combines all the advantages of the previous versions by offering you a clear field of vision, similar to that of mineral glass. In addition, it’s reputed to be unbreakable while resisting all kinds of impacts. Lastly, it manages the feat of being ultra-light, bringing you maximum comfort during your trips.

UV indexes and luminosity

It’s important to be aware that in the mountains, protection against UV rays is essential ! Not only is the sun much more aggressive at high altitudes, but, above all, snow also tends to reflect light. This is why you should pay particular attention to the choice of your ski mask to avoid the phenomena of reverberation and, most importantly, snow ophthalmia. So, you should systematically choose snow goggles that feature the EN174 standard and ensure 100% protection against UV radiation. As for luminosity, the following categories will help you make your choice:

  • Category 0 screen: these lenses are not tinted and will let 80% of light through. These snow goggles are therefore particularly suitable for night-time outings, but not suitable for daytime use.
  • Category 1 screen: with a light transmission of between 80% and 43%, these lenses are lightly tinted and are perfect for an outing in fog or low light intensity.
  • Category 2 screen: with a luminosity of between 43% and 18%, these snow goggles have an intermediate tint and adapt to all climatic changes, including cloudy weather.
  • Category 3 screen: with a dark tint, these snow goggles will let through between 18% and 8% of light and are ideal for sunny days.
  • Category 4 screen: specially adapted to extreme conditions such as glaciers or high altitudes, these snow goggles allow 8% of light through and are reserved for top skiers.

OTG snow goggles : for whom and why ?

In recent years, many brands have made efforts to adapt snow goggles to those who wear glasses. This has led to the creation of OTG snow goggles, which are aimed at anyone who wears glasses and who wants to enjoy the experience without it being uncomfortable.

On the inside, these snow goggles offer much more space and a piece of foam that is ideally cut at the temples to allow your frames to hang normally. The big advantage is that you will feel absolutely no discomfort during your practice, but above all, there’s no sensation of fresh air slipping into your snow mask. Basically, they’re a great accessory and can help you make the most of your ski sessions!

Also worth exploring :

How to choose your snow gloves ?
What are the different types of ski and snowboard jackets ?
What are the different cuts of snowboard jackets ?
How to choose your snowboard pants ?