Back when I lived in Tokyo, I used to hop on the high-speed “shinkansen (新幹線)” train to the mountains whenever it was forecasted to be a sunny, clear day… and ideally if there was some fresh snow scheduled to fall the night before. It was paradise, and the JR SKISKI train and lift ticket packages made it very affordable and convenient for both residents and foreigners.
However, this year, with COVID-19 still widely limiting travel worldwide, it was becoming a bit unclear how to best enjoy the winter season and participate in ski/snowboarding activities while working remotely.
Remote Work → Jackson Hole, WY 🏂
Given that many tech companies are offering some flexible work arrangements during the pandemic, three of us ended up renting a house in Jackson Hole for the season with a focus on isolating in a remote area.
We're up at a high altitude and experiencing all kinds of terrain and weather when skiing/snowboarding a few times a week. With this variability being the opposite of the sunny, clear, consistent days I'd targeted in past years in Japan, I knew the time had come to own real ski goggles for the first time in a long time.
What was I using before? Sunglasses. Why? Because in the past, I've absolutely hated ski goggles. They'd fog up, they can be super bulky, they limit your vision and get scratched… you name it. My experience with them had generally been awful.
The latest goggles from Smith
I swung by REI before I left California and spoke to a few members of the team regarding my frustrations overall with ski goggles. Together, we looked at a few newer, high-end pairs.
The ones I ended up deciding on were the “Smith 4D MAG ChromaPop Snow Goggles” and so far they've been fantastic.
Visibility + Light/Color
One of the advantages of the 4D MAG is their reduced limitation of your peripheral vision. This is noticeably better than on their other models, and on models from other manufacturers as well.
In terms of color and light, I have zero complaints about the two interchangeable lenses it came with, as they offer really fantastic light transmission without feeling too “amber” or disorienting. In terms of field of view, I can look down or to the side without feeling like the goggles' edges are in the way, which is perfect.
Anti-Fog + Fit
Part of what causes goggles to fog is poor fit or seal, as this can block vents that would otherwise de-fog the lens or can trigger improper airflow due to a limited seal. Zero complaints with the 4D MAG, even while wearing a facemask.
They also offer a “low-bridge” fit, in case that fits your face better!
I've worn Smith sunglasses for years and these goggles are great. They're not the cheapest pair in their collection (in fact, they're currently the most expensive) yet I was luckily able to pick up a pair of the same specification at a discount because they were from the prior model year. The frames had changed slightly between the two generations, but the lenses did not.
I unfortunately accidentally scratched one of the interchangeable lenses this past week while wiping out some ice that had built up inside, so my one word of caution with these and others is to avoid wearing them again until any ice has melted away. ⚠️