With winter right around the corner, many outdoor enthusiasts are looking forward to spending the short days in the fresh powder. There are many outdoor sports to enjoy: Skiing, snowboarding, winter camping, ice climbing, skating and sledding are just some of the choices for winter sports.
But what about eye protection? There is a lot of glare that comes off of the snow that can cause severe eye strain by the end of the day. There is also the concern of keeping the eyes sheltered from the cold air and possible particles that can fly up at any time.
Which white sunglasses are the best for snow sports? There are two things that are the most important to keep in mind when making this decision.
The first factor is how to help you view your surroundings. In the wintry outdoors, you are surrounded by three basic colors: white and gray. In addition, the white is extremely reflective. The sunlight that shines down bounces off of the snow as efficiently as off of tiny mirrors. Your mother told you never to stare at the sun, but when you’re on a snow field, you really don’t have a choice; the sunlight is everywhere.
The best thing you can do is wear sunglasses that absorb most of the glare, and polarized sunglasses are by far the best purchase to make in this regard. By eliminating both the reflected sunlight from the snow and the diffused sunlight that comes directly downward, properly polarized sunglasses remove the strain from your eyes and provide an incredibly clear view. There will be no need to squint, and whatever outdoor activity you are participating in will become more enjoyable.
Polarized sunglasses work by literally chopping off the light waves at an angle perpendicular to the glare. This allows plenty of light in to view your surroundings, but the bright spots disappear. You can tell if you have true polarized lenses by turning them in a circle. If the glare returns and disappears again, the sunglasses are polarized. If you have two sets of polarized glasses and look through both of them at the same time – with one pair held at right angles to the other – you should see almost nothing. The first pair of polarized sunglasses will let the wavelengths through from one angle, and the second set of glasses will eliminate those waves.
The second important factor to consider when buying sunglasses for the snow is the design. Wraparound lenses offer the most protection from the cold and unexpected flying particles. Most regular sunglasses are relatively flat and allow air and particles to easily get in from the top and sides. Just because the lenses are larger doesn’t mean that the sunglasses are heavier; most glasses designed for sports are very lightweight.
The material that is used in the frames can also be considered, but this is more important for extreme sports, where the strength of the frame may come into play. Aluminum frames are very light and strong, but since aluminum is a metal, it can become cold in the winter air and some people may object to the feeling. Acetate frames are made from a very durable plastic that is used for racing helmets and other protective uses. Since plastic is an insulator, the temperature of the frames does not change much, and these sunglasses can be much more comfortable to wear, especially in extremely cold weather.