Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide installment of Gear Spotlight from FREESKIER. Here, we provide a close-up look at the equipment and accessories that everyone should know about. Can’t get enough gear? Click here to see our entire 2019 Buyer’s Guide.
Less fiddling with equipment is something every skier can get behind. If you enjoy the process of tinkering with switches and dials, removing your gloves many times in the process, you’re simply a weirdo. With Giro’s Passive Aggressive Venting system, you’ll never have to worry about adjusting your vents again. When you are in motion, cool air enters the brim’s vents, moves through integrated channels in the interior and gets dumped out of the rear vents. When immobile, warm air simply rises up and out of the openings on top of the helmet. Less fiddling, more skiing.
Giro’s brand-new Lusi goggle finely balances premium optical performance with sleek looks, thanks to the use of a toric lens. The lens curvature has the surface area advantages, giant field of view and decreased glare of a spherical lens. It harmonizes that with the stylistic qualities (i.e., the goggle doesn’t bulge out from your face) of a cylindrical lens. Giro includes two toric lenses with each purchase, which are easily interchangeable thanks to a nifty quick-swap lens mechanism. The use of Giro’s VIVID lens technology (with optics by Zeiss), also boosts clarity, color and your overall enjoyment on the hill.
The Mod 3 has been a fixture in our Buyer’s Guide since its first release in 2017, and we still back this dome defender 100 percent. It features a signature styling that differentiates it from any other helmet on the market and Oakley employs an in-mold construction to keep it lightweight. The Modular Brim System allows the Mod 3 to be compatible with the entirety of Oakley’s goggle line, to further upgrade your on-hill style and streamline the combo’s venting capabilities. The BOA closure system also ensures you feel as good as you look in this bad boy.
The Fall Line XL jumps on the electrochromic lens train, and at first glance of the goggle, you may think, “Where’s the clunky battery pack? This just looks like a normal goggle.” Well, dear reader, Oakley has hidden the components within the goggle’s frame to maintain the sexy style the brand is known for. Simply push the button on the right side to increase lens tint when it’s bright out or hit the button on the left to decrease lens tint for graybird, stormy conditions. The Prizm React provides three lens tints and, depending on usage, boasts a battery that can last more than a week on a full charge. Of course, in addition to the electrochromic capabilities, the goggles come with Oakley’s renowned contrast- and color-boosting Prizm lens.
The Invert is built with coziness in mind. An in-mold construction keeps its weight low so your bean doesn’t get bogged down, and a long-haired fleece liner provides a lush, warm feel for your head and ears. The Burlington, Vermont-based brand implements a special goggle-to-helmet integration that ensures air is properly flowing through the helmet, too. It’s not all about comfort, though, as the addition of MIPS on the interior of the helmet keeps you protected from the potentially scary repercussions of oblique impacts to your skull.
The M4 is the fourth member of anon.’s magnetic lens-change goggle family—which have been regulars on the pages of FREESKIER’s Buyer’s Guides since 2013. anon. incorporated a toric lens shape into the M4, which boasts the field of view and visual clarity of a spherical lens and the low profile design of a cylindrical one. And, of course, anon. utilizes its renowned MagnaTech lens-change system which relies upon 16 rare earth magnets with eight connection points for no-think, on-the-fly lens substitutions.
Bollé’s Instinct MIPS helmet relies on the brand’s own proprietary EPS build, dubbed Avid, featuring vent channels that are carved out of the interior EPS to provide airflow and decrease weight. For 2018-19, Bollé threw in a MIPS system to further enhance the helmet’s protective qualities by helping to disperse dangerous rotational or oblique strikes to the head. The result is a noodle guard that’s light, comfortable and doesn’t skimp on safety.
We’ll say it, we think the Nevada is Bollé’s sexiest goggle it has ever put on the market. Lucky you, eh? The rimless frame and monstrous cylindrical lens not only enhance your looks but provide an astonishing range of vision, something all skiers covet. Bollé also offers the Nevada with its photochromic Phantom lens, which boasts a Speedy Gonzales-esque transition time of 30 seconds from dark to light, or vice versa, regardless of outside temperature. Skeptics of photochromic lenses will be converted into believers after experiencing the Phantom difference.
Scott’s new Chase 2 Plus is aptly named, as it’ll give you the peace of mind to chase any line on the mountain, knowing that you’ll be comfortable and protected. The helmet’s in-mold construction—a light yet durable polycarbonate outer shell fused with a foam liner adept at dispersing impact—sheds weight and provides some stout defense for your cranium. Scott’s active venting system employs a slider that’s specifically designed to allow gloves to open and close the helmet’s multiple vents, further boosting comfort. If you’re in the market for a top-notch, mid-price-point lid, check out the Chase 2 Plus.
The LCG is to Scott as Tom Brady is to the New England Patriots: a veteran Hall of Famer that consistently hits the mark, year after year. Scott’s showcase goggle since 2013, the LCG’s main draw is its quick-change lens system. A slider on the right side of the frame disengages the lens from its four contact points with the frame, allowing you to quickly and easily remove it and swap in a new one, which comes included with purchase. In addition, Scott incorporates a spherical lens construction to maximize field of view—up, down, left and right—while reducing glare and distortion. Your vision will never be compromised when Mother Nature flips the switch on weather conditions.
The Bumper NoShock is ultra-protective (like ya motha) but also quite stylish, thanks to its low profile build and navy-rust graphic treatment. On the defensive side, Shred uses its proprietary Rotational Energy System, very thin foam padding with floating contact points in the helmet liner that helps shed rotational impact to the skull. Shred also implemented a moisture-wicking liner that has an anti-microbial treatment to both move sweat away from your head and keep your helmet smelling fresh. This is the helmet Olympic hero and Shred co-founder Ted Ligety relies on, how’s that for validation?
With a navy-rust color scheme and strap design that perfectly complements the Bumper NoShock, these goggles will surely appeal to those of you who prefer a bit of flair affixed to your face. The Amazify boasts a large cylindrical lens that provides style and incredible peripheral vision, and Shred utilizes its own contrast boosting lens technology to enhance color for better vision out on the hill. Another thoughtful technique used by Shred with the Amazify is a special treatment on the inner lens to prevent reflections and glare from staining your view of your line down the mountain.
Dragon is utilizing a toric lens shape—rather than cylindrical or spherical—for the all-new PXV goggle. While a spherical goggle is curved on both axes and a cylindrical on one, the toric lens sits in-between, offering a stylish aesthetic (a compact build that won’t bulge out) and an incredible lateral field of vision. Dragon utilizes light adaptive lenses with the PXV, which will also be available in a variety of eye-catching strap options complete with bald eagles, mountain peaks, wacky illustrations and more.
POC is implementing its über-popular Clarity lenses into its entire 2018-19 goggle line, and this is good news for you. The Clarity lenses boost contrast and color, but in order to make that enhancement less intense to the naked eye, POC utilizes a unique Spektris mirrored coating that optimizes the lens for sunny, partly sunny and overcast light conditions. The Fovea goggle features a monstrous field of view, which complements the optical tastiness of the Clarity lenses. The Fovea and Clarity combo makes it easy to scope a whole ridgeline full of descents or merely identify lurking snow sharks beneath the surface with supreme optical precision.
The all-new Skydome is geared toward skiers that prefer an XXL field of view. A frameless construction and oversized spherical lens gift you with near unmatched range of vision, allowing you to pick out every obstacle in your line. In addition, Julbo’s Reactiv photochromic lens treatment adapts to changing light conditions, providing a crystal clear picture no matter if it’s bluebird, cloudy or a raging whiteout. Skiers who frequent the skin track and resort bootpack, or simply have a propensity for perspiring, can find relief from lens fogging via built-in venting in the goggle’s frame. The sky’s the limit with the Skydome, people.
Spy implemented a nifty electrochromic lens into its award-winning Ace goggle for 2018-19. The California-based company utilizes a Spy-logo-shaped button on the strap that allows the user to toggle between three different lens tints depending on weather conditions. With Visible Light Transmission options suitable for flat, mixed and sunny light conditions, and an impressive eight- to nine-hour battery life, the technology creates a lens nearly impervious to Mother Nature’s sporadic light show. If you’d prefer to never swap lenses and just focus on your skiing, the Ace EC will treat you well.
The Hatchet is Zeal Optics’ first-ever cylindrical-lens goggle and utilizes the brand’s Rail Lock quick-change lens system. Essentially, two tracks in the frame allow the user to slide the lenses in and out vertically for no-hassle swaps. An additional benefit of Rail Lock is its ability to vent. If being used during a ski tour or boot pack up to hike-to terrain, skiers can slide the lens up slightly to prevent fogging. If you covet the look and style of cylindrical goggles but are also on the hunt for premium technology generally packed into spherical offerings, the Hatchet just may be the goggle for you.
Oakley is releasing a more compact version of the Line Miner that was released last fall. The XM is ideal for those with smaller faces or who simply prefer a closer fit. Like its wider sibling, the XM features a flexible frame that helps conform to your face shape as well as dual vents on top to help dump hot air and prevent fogging. Its Prizm lens enriches contrast for a boost in visibility, which will surely result in an orgasm for your eyeballs when gazing around the mountains this winter.
The Podium XT Frameless Goggle is Zipline’s frame-free offering, providing an expansive field of vision via an oversized cylindrical lens. No obstacle or hidden line across the resort will escape your eye with this gem of an optical enhancer. The brand also relies on a Ripclear protective film to defend against scratches, boosting the durability and extending the life of your lenses. Zipline employs seven magnets in the frame to make for easy lens changes. Just pop out the lens, pop in a new one and hit the slopes.
For some backcountry skiers, even the slightest weight shedding is key. Every gram matters when you’re traveling tens of miles and thousands of vertical feet to your prospective line. In response to those weight-conscious shredders, Pret stripped down its popular Cynic helmet. The Park City-based brand utilized the bare minimum of materials in the ear pads and liner and relied upon a carbon-plated exterior with passive vents to bring this helmet down to an estimated weight of 375 grams. For the final touch, Pret includes a Velcro headlamp attachment for those planning on skinning in the dark.
One of the most innovative brain buckets on the market this year is the brand-new Obex SPIN helmet from POC. Constructed with an EPS liner, polycarbonate outer shell and ABS top, this helmet is lightweight yet ultra-protective thanks to the addition of POC’s patent-pending SPIN pads. This technology allows the helmet to move relative to the head in a shearing action to enhance oblique impact protection. This piece of equipment also boasts an interior size-adjustment system, sliding vent covers and integrated vents at the front of the helmet to prevent fogging and give you the most comfortable all-day wear. Whether you’re sticking to the front side, exploring off-piste or diving into the trees, the POC Obex SPIN will keep your noggin safe and sound.
Generally, being passive aggressive can get you into trouble with your significant other, friends or coworkers. However, Giro’s new Passive Aggressive Venting System is a whole different story. It’s essentially an auto-venting mechanism that draws colder air through the thin front opening while in motion, funneling the air along internal channels. The air becomes hot, and the mechanism dumps it out the rear vents. When you’re not in motion, hot air from your dome rises up through top vents, while cooler air is drawn in via the brim opening. This ensures worry-free temperature regulation throughout the entire day on the hill.
Keeping a cool head about you is key no matter where you find yourself skiing. With that in mind, Sweet Protection made an effort to improve ventilation with its new Switcher lid. A low profile and hidden dial on the helmet’s rear activates the vent system, which sucks cooler air in through six front vents and channels it strategically to areas of the head that, in the words of Sweet’s engineers, “offer the most effective cooling.” Ridding yourself of sweat is a sure bet to boost comfort. Additionally, the Switcher is a hybrid in-mold/hard shell helmet with Sweet Protection’s unique integrated impact shields that team up with MIPS for the sturdiest defense against impact.
Featured Image: Bruno Long