For me the unsung hero of a snowboarding kit bag is the goggles. If you can’t see, you can’t board, and if you can’t board, the rest of your kit is useless. With that in mind here’s my review of Oakley Canopy goggles, the latest piece of gear in my snowboarding kit bag that I recommend you add it to yours.
Conditions on the mountain vary greatly. From bright sunny days with extreme glare, to white outs where you can’t see more than a few meters ahead. Your eyes need to cope with a lot of variation and your eyewear can make a huge difference. Your eyes also need protecting, and not just from UVA and UVB light.
Travelling at speed in cold conditions without goggles would leave my eyes streaming (and my mates taking the piss). Falling snow, flying ice, force five winds and face plants can cause anything from an irritation to a serious eye injury.
There are a multitude of goggle styles and brands to choose from and a bewildering amount of lens options. Personally I like to have one pair of goggles that are suitable for all conditions. This is because in one run you can pass from sun to shade and then go below the cloud line into a blizzard or flat light and I want good vision all the time.
Stick with what you know
When my old Oakleys got one scratch too many I never seriously considered replacing them with anything but another pair of Oakley goggles. They performed well in all conditions, never fogged up, were very comfortable and had been resilient to scratches despite me not following the care instructions.
I went for a pair of Oakley Canopy goggles mainly because they have a expanded lens area and low profile frame. This means you get to see more of the slope and less of the frame. I found them very good for peripheral vision and looking down, which is helpful when strapping in after a big lunch!
The Oakley Canopy goggles have ‘O-Flow Arch’ technology which is designed to make breathing a lot easier. To be honest I have never found breathing a problem and these goggles certainly did not inhibit my breathing. The face foam is triple layer with moisture-wicking fleece on top which is made for all day comfort.
Review of Oakley Canopy Goggles in different light conditions
From the multitude of lens options I went for a VR50 Pink Iridium with 41% light transmission, mainly because its a middle of the road lens good for most conditions. On my recent snowboarding holiday to Italy I encountered a bit of everything so i have summarised the performance below:
Sunshine: The pink iridium eradicated glare and meant that staring at bright white snow all day was not a problem and my eyes were happy!
Shade: With sunshine comes shade and when passing between the 2 I found my eyes adjusted very quickly and a excellent visibility was maintained.
Overcast: The VR50 lens is billed for overcast to lightly cloudy conditions and in these conditions they excelled. I found the contrast level was great meaning there were no surprises.
Flat Light: A few of my friends really struggled in the flat light but the pink iridium provided me with OK contrast and adequate visibility.
Blizzard: I did not get to ride while it was snowing on this holiday but I feel they would perform adequately. Viability is always reduced in a blizzard but I feel they would have let enough light through and created contrast as they did with flat light.
**Addition, I have now worn these goggles in a blizzard (with a hangover) and they performed very well. They add enough contrast to see the snow ahead, but as to be expected, they are not as good as high intensity orange lenses in these conditions but they are more than adequate.
Dusk and Low Light: I rode down the mountain a couple of times after the sun had set, it was not completely dark but was at the very edge of what was safe. I found visability was impaired but again it was adequate to ride safely (if i slowed down) with the odd little surprise.
Nightrider: I did not ride at night but feel they would have been just about suitable, visibility would have been reduced and clear but high intensity lenses would be better.
I feel the VR50 Pink Iridium lens provides very good visibility in most conditions and adequate visibility in those harder to ride conditions. You will only get better all round visibility by taking more than one pair of goggles/lenses up the mountain and I don’t plan to change them each time the conditions change.
Review of Oakley Canopy Goggles: Am I over the Canopy?
On my recent trip I nearly had a high speed collision with a skier that veered across piste from my blind side. I was travelling flat out and approaching from upslope so it would have been my fault.
Luckily at the last second I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and changed course, skis and board touched but we both stayed on our feet. That split second can probably be attributed to the increased peripheral vision provided by the Oakley Canopy goggles.
We all know that Oakley make very good, comfy goggles that do not fog up but with the Canopy product they have increased your peripheral vision which as a snowboarder is vital. I am off snowboarding again this weekend, and I will end this review of Oakley Canopy Goggles by declaring, whatever the conditions I will be all over the Canopy’s.