Best Ski Goggles for 2017

From dark timber to bluebird slopes, these new goggles not only adapt to all lighting conditions, they’re the most comfortable eyewear we’ve ever strapped on.

by Mike Disario, OutsideDaily

The snow season is almost here, and it’s time we go through the annual ritual of checking old gear, thinking about last year’s runs, considering new products that have come to market, and deciding what’s good, what’s gotta go, and what’s going to be upgraded.

While at the outdoor trade shows earlier this year, we came across a new product that we had to try out. It’s the Tsar goggles by Bollé. Suffice to say, the goggles we’ve been wearing last year…they’re headed for “backup” status.

Not that anyone would ever ask us, but if someone did say, “Design a goggle that solves all the hassles of conventional snowsport eyewear,” we would be hard pressed to come up with something other than Bollé’s newest entry into the skiing and snowboarding market.

Bolle SL-1

Bollé seems to have approached the development of the Tsar line by addressing all those needling annoyances we have issues with. There are two outstanding features, in particular, that have us excited about the new Bollé Tsar goggles. Both are game-changers in terms of providing solutions for the age-old problems faced by serious snowsport fans and both are equally important to enjoying our powder time.

GAME-CHANGER #1 – A True Universal Fit Goggle

At last, here is a goggle that fits no matter who’s wearing it. The Tsar’s ability to conform to any face shape comes courtesy of what Bollé calls B-Flex technology. This is an internal frame structure that allows the padded frame to flex and conform to the wearer’s unique facial profile. Since the frame itself molds to your face (as opposed to only the foam seal molding to the face, as is the case with most goggles), the Tsar eliminates gaps that can allow wind and moisture inside. Furthermore, the adaptable “fingers” conform without uncomfortable pressure. We found this is especially noticeable across the bridge and along the sides of our noses, where pressure and discomfort is most apparent in conventional goggles.

Bolle SL-5

Additionally, this is one of the most comfortable goggles we’ve ever worn that also provides an excellent seal. In our experience, goggles that are comfortable to wear all day are often so because they are loose. Loose, of course, usually means there are gaps near the temples, the cheeks, or around the nose. The Tsar, however, seals to the face, yet does so without uncomfortable pressure.

Bolle SL-2

A big contributor to that comfort factor, aside from the B-Flex frame, is the triple-layer face seal construction. The seal is comprised of two layers of medium density foam sandwiched between the frame and the micro-fleece layer that contacts your skin. The foam ensures a good environmental seal while the fleece delivers soft, no-rub comfort for a long day on the slopes.

GAME-CHANGER #2 – A “One and Done” Modulator Lens

Comfort is huge in a pair of goggles, but so is adaptability. Few things are more aggravating when on the powder than having picked the wrong goggles for the day, or having to pack an extra set of goggles or lenses to meet changing light conditions. The Tsar puts an end to the morning’s “light lens-dark lens” debate thanks to its photochromic Modulator lens.

Bolle SL-3

The Modulator’s photochromic properties allow it to quickly and automatically adjust to variations in ambient and reflective light levels. Slice through dark timber on a cloudy morning and the Modulator’s visible light transmission (VLT) is high, allowing ample light to pass through the lens. When clouds give way to a bluebird afternoon on the slopes, the VLT drops to let less light pass. No need to switch between our yellow and copper lenses just to keep light levels in the zone. The Modulator does it for us. That’s why we call this our “one and done” lens. Whatever the lighting conditions, the Modulator accommodates.

In addition to its photochromic technology, the Tsar lens boasts a special 50-percent polarized coating to cut UV scatter and reduce harsh glare. It also improves visual distinction between snow and ice based on the different reflective properties of the two. That little bit of technology gives the kind of heads up you want when you’re about to transition from powder to carving ice.

Bolle SL-4

NON-GAME CHANGERS (But Certainly Welcome Features!)

We all want well-sealed goggles, but with that perfect fits comes the potential for fogging. There are several things we really like about the Tsar that mitigates lens fogging and moisture buildup:

  • First, these are dual-lens goggles, which provides a thermal barrier between the two lenses. Much like a dual-pane window in your home, the air pocket between the two lenses prevents the cold outside air on the outside lens from creating condensation on the warmer inside lens.
  • Second, condensation potential is further reduced due to an anti-fog treatment on the inner lens. Called the P80+ layer, this treatment disperses water molecules that may condense on the inner lens, preventing buildup and ensuring clear visibility when the heat is on.
  • Third, an Equalizer vent is incorporated into the outer lens. The vent is designed to equalize air pressure between the lenses, as well as allow for dual-direction air flow.
  • Fourth, the Tsar comes with ample vents across the top of the frame to allow bi-directional airflow. This reduces the chance of fogging if body moisture and heat threatens to overwhelm the aforementioned technologies.

Finally, the Bollé Tsar is built on the spherical lens concept (versus cylindrical). The gradual curvature along both the vertical and horizontal axis practically eliminates distortion (which we’ve experienced with many cylindrical lenses and some of the more “bulbous” type goggles) and offers superior peripheral vision. Those who like to run the timber will especially appreciate the Tsar’s wide and clear field of view.

Bolle SL-7

Currently, Bollé is offering the Tsar with the Citrus Gun model lens, covering Cat. 1-3 light conditions. Additionally, the Tsar will fit your choice of Bollé helmets since all products in the line are designed to integrate with one-another.

The season is almost here, so if this is the year for upgrading your headgear, be sure to give the Bollé Tsar a close look by visiting your retailer or going to the Bollé website. We’ll bet you’ll like these “one-and-done” goggles as much as we do.




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