Since you’ve landed on this post you probably know the frustrating feeling of skiing on a cloudy day and almost falling over every bump because you can’t see them coming. The cause of this struggle is called flat light and even the most experienced skiers will get annoyed by not seeing the irregularities on the slopes.
This is what makes it worth it to invest in decent flat light ski goggles that let more light in than normal ski goggles so that you’re better able to distinguish snowy obstacles on the slopes.
I’ve been skiing since I was six years old, and this year, I decided to invest in a pair of decent ski goggles. That’s when I first learned about all the special types of lenses and new technologies such as HD that would allow seeing better in flat light. Exactly what I needed!
Because choosing new ski goggles can be quite overwhelming (they all look the same no?), I decided to break down some essential features you need in your new pair of goggles and what according to me are the best flat light ski goggles currently out there!
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4 top flat light ski goggles
1. Atomic Savor GT AMID Visor HD
These are my favorite goggles and the ones I also personally own. This Atomic helmet and lens is a 2-in-1 solution that allows you to have goggles that perfectly fit your helmet so that there is no risk of snow or wind coming into any gaps between your goggles and helmet.
The high-definition lens makes sure that there is more contrast in both low- and bright-light conditions by using special crystals in the lens so that you can see those bumps coming. Plus, this lens is suited for both low- and bright-light conditions so that you never need to change your goggles depending on the light.
Moreover, the fact that they are integrated with the helmet allows for a much wider field of vision than most other lenses. Atomic is a well-regarded brand within the ski industry consistently developing quality materials for both casual skiers as well as athletes.
- Integrated with helmet for maximum comfort
- Completely closed off for wind and snow
- Revolutionary HD technology for high contrast
- You never need to change goggles anymore
- Possible to wear glasses underneath
- Very wide field of vision
- Goggles cannot be easily replaced when necessary
2. Smith 4D MAG
The Smith 4D MAG™ is definitely the showpiece of the Smith brand and their best ski goggles to date. The 4D goggles give the widest view of any of the Smith goggles making sure that you can see not only where you are skiing but also the skiers in your periphery.
In addition, the MAG technology makes sure that you can easily switch lenses through a magnetic system, meaning no more struggling! It is also good to know that two types of lenses are included for both bright and low light situations.
Plus, Smith’s ChromaPop technology enhances the contrast and colors you see on the slopes, making this a perfect lens for flat light conditions.
- ChromaPop technology makes sure that constrast on the slopes is enhanced so that you don’t trip!
- The magnetic system makes it very easy to interchange different lenses
- Both lenses for low as for bright light conditions are included so no need to buy anything else
- Giving you the widest view possible so that you can see all skiers coming
- Special fog coating makes sure you never have fog problems
- You still need to change lenses depending on whether it is a sunny or cloudy day
3. Oakley Flight Deck Prizm Hi Pink
Oakley’s Prizm lens technology has been developed to improve both contrast and colors, making this ideal to tackle flat light. This technology has been integrated into all Oakley’s ski goggles and really sets the brand apart from other competitors.
The Flight Deck lens is one of Oakley’s widest lenses based on helmet visors of fighter pilots giving you a maximum field of view on the slopes. Because of the Ridgelock Technology, it is possible to change the lens of your goggles easily depending on what you need.
Oakley’s Hi Pink Iridium and Persimmon lenses will give you the best possible visibility in cloudy and snowy weather conditions. Combined with the Prizm technology, these 2 types of lenses are one of the best ski goggles for flat light conditions!
- Prizm flat light technology makes sure you see all the bumps on the slopes
- Easily interchangeable lenses
- One of the widest vision goggles on the market so that you can see all skiers coming
- Special anti-fog coating prevents fog problems
- You still need to change lenses depending on whether it is a sunny or cloudy day
- Extra lens for sunny days is not included
4. OutdoorMaster Ultra XL
The OutdoorMaster Ultra is one of the more high-end goggles in the OutdoorMaster assortment but also the only type of goggles with special flat light technology. Using color optimization and HD technology, the OutdoorMaster is a perfect choice if you want to create contrast in flat light conditions.
But that’s not the only reason why these goggles are a great investment. Just like Smith’s lenses, Outdoor Master uses a magnetic system to change lenses, making it very easy to switch instantly. Plus, this is one of the few goggles that can be worn over your regular glasses saving you a lot of hassle! The toric lens also gives you a nice wide view for the best ski experience while maintaining optically correct views.
- Toric lens has the widest view that is also proportionally correct
- Magnetic system makes changing lenses quick and easy
- Color optimization & HD technology create more contrast in flat light conditions
- Can be worn over your regular glasses
- Special fog coating makes sure you don’t have any fog problems
- You need to change lenses in different light conditions
What is flat light?
If you’re not familiar yet with the term flat light, I’m going to give you a quick introduction.
Flat light in skiing occurs when there is little light coming down the slopes either because it’s very cloudy or snowy. Because not enough sunlight reaches the slopes, there is little contrast and your eyes can’t really see the texture or irregularities of the slope such as bumps.
When skiing you’ve probably already noticed that it’s much easier to ski in bright sunlight than when it’s a very cloudy day. As you’re not really seeing where you ski in flat light, it can cause you to fall more easily as you’re being surprised by a bump or it can cause accidents to happen.
Therefore, you’ll want to use special flat light goggles that let in more light and increase contrast so you can actually see the texture of the slopes and avoid falling over bumps.
What to look for in goggles
Low light technology
The newest technologies today allow creating more contrast in situations where flat light spoils the skiing game. One of the most important criteria for the best ski goggles for flat light is therefore the use of such technologies in the goggles’ lenses.
In this guide, I’ve selected only the types of goggles that use such technologies. For different brands, this is called differently but they will mostly refer to using High Definition lenses with color-optimization technology. For Oakley this is called Prizm, for Smith, this is called ChromaPop, but in essence, these technologies all have the same function.
When choosing goggles for low-light situations where flat light issues can occur, it is best to check on the use of these technologies.
VLT & lens colors
Newbie skiers might think the color of the lens is some nice feature they can choose from, but it is way more than that. Depending on the type of light condition (snowy, cloudy, or sunny) you’ll want to choose another type of lens color and level of VLT (Visible Light Transmission) because this determines how well you can see on the slopes and how much light is being passed through the lens.
When it’s very cloudy, you’ll want to use a lens that lets a higher percentage of light through so that you’re better able to see the slopes. When it’s very sunny, you’ll want to protect your eyes and wear goggles that let less light through, thus, with a lower VLT percentage. Plus, certain lens colors such as orange or brown work better with flat light. If you’re skiing at night, you’ll want to opt for night ski goggles with clear lenses without color.
Most lenses have an indication for what kind of light conditions they serve best, and it’s best to thoroughly look at this before making a decision!
Field of view
Nothing is so annoying than not seeing what is standing next to you when wearing ski goggles. When choosing ski goggles, it is beneficial to have a view as wide as possible. Therefore, you’ll want to try on different goggles and make sure that nothing (or as little as possible) is blocking your sight left and right.
In general, there are 3 types of lens shapes that determine your field of view. Spherical lenses have a curve shape and offer the most accurate view. Cylindrical lenses have a flatter shape and offer the widest view but might have a distorted view on the sides. Toric lenses are a combination of the previous two and a newer type of lens that gives you the widest view that is also optically correct. This is of course the preferred option!
Last but not least, comfort is very important when it comes to goggles. Ideally, you can try on your goggles first before you buy them or if you buy some online, see if you can return them if they don’t fit you well.
When it comes to features, make sure to check whether the goggles have triple layer foam and the OTG function, which means that they can be worn over your regular glasses.
Tips for skiing in flat light
Skiing when you can’t see the bumps on the slopes can be quite frustrating sometimes. To help you a bit in this situation I’m going to give you some extra tips from my 15 years of skiing experience.
First of all, avoid the higher-located pistes. Often these are located in the fog and the sight can be terrible there! Therefore, consider only skiing up to the midway station instead of going all the way to the top of the mountain.
Try to feel the piste. This might sound a bit weird but when your sight gets taken away, you can still rely on your other senses such as feeling. When I can’t properly see because of flat light, I try to focus on my feet and to really feel the slope. This way, I’m extra prepared when I encounter a bump.
Ski in between trees. Trees give an extra dimension to the slopes so that it might be easier to see exactly where you’re skiing.
To me, all the options for flat light ski goggles I discussed in this guide are an excellent investment. I personally prefer the Atomic 2-in-1 lens and helmet because I don’t need to change lenses and when I have my helmet with me, I also always have my goggles that fit perfectly with my helmet.
I’m also secretly in love with the OutdoorMaster Ultra XL because of the toric lens. It’s a pity that I don’t need to buy multiple goggles!
Related: skiing essentials for beginners