We’ve all been there: you’re out having a great day on the mountain, riding hard, hiking peaks, and carving pow. Then, you get a little warm and all of the sudden you’re in a fog-induced haze that has you stumbling around the mountain like a gorilla in a china shop. If you’re like me, you think this is one of the most frustrating spots to find yourself in. You can’t wipe the fog out of your lenses for fear of scratching your expensive eyewear, so your only option is to pull them away from your steaming face and hope the problem sorts itself out. It never works, and inevitably, your face freezes while the fog on your lenses turns into a stubborn layer of ice.
Well, times are changing and this doesn’t have to be your fate on your next powder day. Smith Optics has been working diligently on helmet and goggle integration and they have given powder fiends like us something to smile about in the last couple of years. Gone (for the most part) are the days of skiing/riding by feel because your goggles are as foggy as the inside of a teenager’s windshield at the drive-in theater.
The I/O7 has the 5X anti-fog lens. What does that mean? In layman’s terms, it means that your goggles resist fogging better than any other lens on the market. With the new 5X anti-fog lens, you can count on about double-to-triple the time before fogging compared to the next-best comparable lens.
The other factor that effects fogging is fit and air flow. The I/O7 is equipped with a dual-axis outrigger that allows the goggle strap to better integrate with the opening of your helmet without creating pressure points, or gaps between goggle and helmet. This allows your goggle and helmet to act as two parts of a whole – providing more comfort and a streamlined look and fit.
Since the start of last season I have been running the Smith I/O7 goggle, and recently stepped it up with a ChromaPop lens. The I/O7 offers a great fit for medium-to-larger faces, and has the comfort Smith is renowned for with DriWix face foam. All of that is great, but we’re here to talk about fogging, integration and how they play together.
The Smith Vantage has been my go-to helmet for a number of years. With the added protection of Koroyd and a great fit, the Vantage continues to be a favorite of mine. It features the same AirEvac technology as the I/O7 goggle we talked about above. Integrated vents, above the goggles in the shell, pull cool air in from the outside and use it to regulate the temperature inside your helmet. This prevents the buildup of moisture that causes fogging. Too cold? No worries. Just adjust the vents to your desired level of air flow.
For me, the most important piece of technology to talk about is AirEvac. Sure MIPS, Koroyd, 5X anti-fog and all the other cool stuff Smith brings to the table is awesome, but AirEvac is like the quarterback bringing the rest of the team together. If you look at the vents on the top of the I/O7, and then look at the underside of the front of the Vantage helmet where it sits on your forehead, you’ll see a matching set of vents to your goggles.
This is where it starts. As you move down the mountain (or just stand there) the warm air that is between your face and your lenses is pulled out the vents and into your helmet. From there, it is vented out to the environment before it condenses into water droplets inside your goggles. As you start to move, the airflow over the top of the helmet creates a vacuum effect, of sorts. This vacuum pulls cool air in through the bottom of your goggles and your helmet vents, while pushing out warm air through the vents at the top and back of your helmet. By allowing the warm, moisture-laden air to pass freely from goggles, to helmet, and then out, Smith has virtually eliminated fogging. This is even true when hiking with your helmet on and goggles down over your face.
Smith helmets and goggles stand out on their own as great products when it comes to performance and style on the mountain. When used together, they create a system for mountain rippers that is unparalleled. No surprise, fit is an important part of this equation. The outer shape of the goggle frame integrates perfectly with the helmet, leaving no room for the very un-cool “Gaper Gap,” or the unfortunate space between the top of your goggles and bottom of your helmet. This precise fit helps keep you better protected from the elements and allows the goggle and helmet to function as one system. The dual-axis outriggers on the I/O7 goggle strap allow them to sit in a more natural position when used with the Vantage helmet, so there are no pressure points on your face. All this adds to the contemporary style of the Smith helmet/goggle system so you are looking high and tight when you’re out shredding.
Making the Great Days Better
What does all this mean? It means you’ll see better, stay more comfortable, and spend less time taking your helmet on and off to prolong the losing battle against fogging lenses. Smith has pioneered this technology and continues to develop technologies that refine the integration and comfort of their helmets and goggles. If you are looking to maximize your time on the mountain, consider checking out a Smith helmet/goggle system. It’s one of the most impactful and cost-effective investments you can make in your skiing enjoyment.
Scott House, Communications Director, JANS