Words: Devin Silverthorne-Lillie
Freedom of expression is mandatory. When it comes to what we’re passionate about, don’t stand in our way. Nothing kills good vibes like poor visibility on a pow day, so we chose seven of the fastest quick-change lens systems available to help you see clearly and keep spirits high on the hill. Make no compromises and be prepared for the unknown.
Spy’s fingerprint-free lens change system is operated by one simple button. Push it, pop it, and unlock/lock it for a quick and easy swap. The system is called Lock Steady™, and is offered in Spy’s frameless Doom and Bravo models. Spy has the only lens on the market with somewhat arguable health benefits; it also enhances contrast and improves versatility.
Happy Lens™ helps protect wearers against cataracts and reduces eyestrain, but also elevates mood and increases alertness. The lens protects against UVA, UVB and harmful short-wave blue light, and lets through beneficial long-wave blue light, which research shows can induce serotonin levels in the brain. Happy Rose Blue is one of the more versatile lenses they offer, with a rosy base for extra enhancement and the perfect amount of mirroring. Spy offers a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and/or workmanship on Happy Products, and Happy Lens™ technology is also available in select Spy sunglasses.
The first goggle company to patent a frameless design was Dragon. Now they’ve further stepped up the tech with their quick-change lens system called SwiftLock™, which allows riders to effortlessly adapt to changing light. Two small lever-locking mechanisms are integrated into either side of the goggle frame, and with a simple flick of the finger you can swap lenses without removing the goggles from your face. SwiftLock™ is offered in the X2, X2s, and NFX2 models.
Dragon’s latest full-spectrum lens, LUMALENS® blows many users away with increased depth perception and unmistakable clarity. Dragon has also partnered with Transitions® to offer the best photochromic lens in goggles. The Dragon Transitions™ lenses have the most instantaneous adaptability for ever-changing light conditions. Ride in and out of the shaded glades onto a sunny slope, or vice versa, and the lens adapts to the light change so you don’t have to. Two-year warranty. Transitions® is available in clear, light rose, yellow and amber lenses, as well as in the Dragon EnduroX sunglass from their cross performance collection.
Oakley stepped it up with the Airbrake XL. This goggle has a comfortable, flush, low-profile fit. It boasts a larger lens, greater peripheral vision than the original Airbrake goggle, and easy lens interchangeability with Switchlock® tech. To operate, switch a lever up on one side and pull the lens out from the other, replace the lens, then switch the lever back down.
HDO™ (High Definition Optics) is the Oakley lens standard, nothing short of superior, and satisfies ANSI Z87.1 (American National Standards Institute).
Oakley set technological precedence in the optics market when they introduced their full-spectrum lens called PRIZM. There are six different Prizm lens options, all which adapt to any light condition for ultimate on-hill versatility. High Intensity Pink is the newest addition to the family, lighter than PRIZM Rose. One-year warranty. Oakley’s PRIZM lenses are also available in select sunglass frames.
For your viewing pleasure, VonZipper offers their 4play™ quick-change lens system in the Jetpack goggle. Four easy-release buttons–two on the top by your brow, and two on bottom of the frame–expedite lens change. The Jetpack will pilot you around the slopes with an impressively large field of view and has a sleek, frameless design. VZ swears on the clarity of their lenses, and to prove it they introduced WildLife™ lens technology. Heighten your visual experience, eliminate eye fatigue, and cut through the haze.
WildLife™ “balances scattered light,” according to VZ, meaning when the weather takes a turn for the worst, you have the comfort of knowing you’re prepared for anything Mother Nature can hurl your way. The need to swap lenses is minimized when a single lens is so adaptable to changing conditions. Set the standards of style high with optimal function, and experience life though WildLife™. Lifetime Warranty. This cool lens tech is also available in select VZ sunglasses.
In 1965, Smith invented the first snow goggle featuring a sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam and continues t0 pioneer advanced eyewear for on-snow use that incorporates dynamic technologies, optimized performance and clean styling. Over eight years ago, launched the I/O (Interchangeable Optics) before any goggle company batted an eye about interchangeability.
In order from largest to smallest fit, changing lenses is easy with the I/OX, I/O7, I/O, and I/OS. The I/OX (extra large fit leaves room to wear glasses underneath), I/O, and I/OS (slim fit for smaller faces) models change lenses by flipping two top switches and two outriggers. The I/07 utilizes a single-pivot quick release lens system that is intuitive, efficient and easy to use.
Smith offers ChromaPop™ lens technology that filters light to eliminate color confusion to the brain while providing a sharper, easier and faster visual experience. Reds look more red, blues look more blue. Experience true color faster with ChromaPop™ Sun, ChromaPop™ Storm and ChromaPop™ Everyday lens options.
Lifetime warranty. Chromapop™ is also offered in select sunglass styles.
anon.’s secret weapon, Magna-Tech, is a front-runner as the quickest lens change in the game. When conditions get shady, switch lenses in the blink of an eye.
Magnets secure lens to frame with pressure points averaging 19-25 pounds per connection. When you deliver a solid yard sale or receive a slope-side snow facial, magnets will hold fast so you can exfoliate with no worries.
Combined with Magnetic Facemask Integration (MFI), these goggle-face mask combos have a near-seamless design and are offered in three frames. The WM1 and M2 have sleek, frameless designs, and great peripheral vision with a spherical lens. The M3 is slightly framed and offers a flat, cylindrical lens. Two-year warranty. Accessory MFI face masks of varying weights are sold separately to protect riders against the elements, in any conditions.
Another company using magnets to secure lens to frame, Giro designed SNAPSHOT technology to make lens transitions as effortless–and seamless–as possible. This Lens Insterchange System places six self-locating magnets around the goggle frame and six around the inside of the lens, and when brought together the connection would require the yard sale of a lifetime to separate. These magnets are designed to actually lock together. “Click It and Rip It,” Giro says. To unlock, press a button at the top of the frame. The button can be pressed easily with gloves (or mitts) on, so no need to freeze phalanges when weather rolls in and you’d prefer a change of scene.
Giro’s semi-frameless Contact goggle features the SNAPSHOT Lens Interchange System as well as Expansive View Technology with exactly what its name implies–an incredibly expansive view. To round out the goggle, spherical lenses by ZEISS are used. They’re some of, if not the best in class. The Contact comes with one lens for most conditions, and another for low light. One-year warranty.