Gearing Up with Oakley
Somehow I've always been "that one friend" who has problems with their gear: too big, too small, too scratched up, (my personal favorite) too cold, or simply non-functional. There was hardly a time where I'd get through an entire day without one of the above dictating my ability to ride. So, I feel for you if you've ever found yourself stuck on the mountain, suffering the consequences of bad or outdated products.
Consider this an opportunity to get back on a better note — let's start with eyewear.
I've found that a good pair of googles could single-handedly be the most important piece of equipment in your bag. The bottom line is that you cannot find higher quality than Oakley's PRIZM technology. Each color is tailored specifically to certain environments to provide unprecedented control of light transmission, giving you hyper-realistic colors, maximized contrast, and enhanced visibility. I'm not kidding when I say that these things put your bare eyes to shame.
Most companies are selling goggles with fast lens-changing technology (like Anon and their magnetic lenses) that let you pop them in and out easily, but PRIZM lenses eliminate that issue all together. I tried them in conditions ranging from blue skies to overcast, even while it was snowing heavily. The adaptability proved to be a true all-in-one lens.
Line Miner Snow Goggle in White with PRIZM Hi Pink Iridium
Photo by: Crockett Williams
Overall, Line Miner gets my top pick.
In terms of functionality, this goggle was designed to sit closer to your face in order to optimize peripheral vision; which, of course, is a good thing when you have to make a decision quickly. If you're like me and you like cruising through the trees, or if you're sticking to groomed runs where there are likely a lot of other people, these can help you be more aware of your surroundings.
As far as style goes, I like the size and that the non-reflective look gives it a kind of old-school feel. I mean, I could be wrong, but I don't believe there's anything more awesome than looking like a Stormtrooper about to fight for the galactic empire.
Get it here.
Flight Deck XM
Flight Deck XM with PRIZM Snow Torch Iridium
Flight Deck XM is a close second.
Inspiration for this design came from the look and function of their Air Force fighter pilots — hence the name "Flight Deck."
The combination of the big, bug-eye frame with a fiery mirror lens makes me feel like an alien in the best way possible (wear with mittens for full effect). Fortunately, since I do have human eyeballs, Oakley's got my back with its rimless design, which makes for an unrivaled field of view in every direction, and of course, the PRIZM torch lens, which enabled me to see all the subtle nuances in the snow, despite variable light conditions.
An even bigger pro for me is its F3 anti-fog coating. At this point, I've practically been conditioned to exhale away from my goggles to keep from getting condensation on the inside, so I can't express just how relieving it is not to worry about being blinded by my own breath. Even on the coldest day, after we'd hiked nearly a half mile up a steep slope, the fog was not just delayed, it was non-existent.
Get it here.