I was sceptical when I first received the Sportviz goggles with my prescription inserts but after only 3 days on the slope they have already become my most important piece of equipment and resulted in the most impressive improvement of my riding to date. That’s right you heard me correctly, prescription goggles improve your snowboarding.
I’ll go so far as to say that if you wear glasses for driving then you don’t need to read the rest of this Sportviz goggles review, go straight to the Sportviz website and buy some right now – the goggles with standard prescription inserts cost £65-£85. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re interested in why I was sceptical and what convinced me otherwise then read on…
The box they come in is a very solid lovely cardboard box with a magnetic catch. I would usually throw the packaging into the recycling bin without second thought but decided to keep this as it looks nice on the shelf and I’m sure my 2 year old daughter is going to end up storing all sorts of goodies in it.
As for looks well I’m that guy that almost always forgets something each trip and therefore borrowing gloves and/or goggles is a way of life for me. Accordingly, I’m never too precious about the look of my attire but I was pleased to find they look considerably better than some pricier goggles I’ve forked out for in the past. Another bonus was that the blue non slip headband matched my boots!!
So far so good then, but next my attention turned to the Sportviz prescription inserts, putting the goggles on in my bedroom (my wife likes it when I dress up), I couldn’t help but notice the inserts seemed clunky. My eyes were naturally drawn to the rims and I was worried they may actually impair my vision! My wife pointed out I should remove the protective film before casting a judgement, so I duly attempted.
I spent a good 20 minutes carefully removing the larger lenses from the frame, being afraid they were going to crack, cursing as they kept popping back in. I then noted after removing the protective film that the goggles have a nifty quick release mechanism (pull the headband strap anchors forward and you can pop the top and bottom fixtures with ease) allowing release of the lenses in seconds.
I’m presuming this feature exists on other makes of goggles but it’s not something I’ve ever come across before so some guidance would have been appreciated. I double checked and no instructions were included so it wasn’t me just being a man.
Having fathomed the quick release and removed the film, I was still unsure of the inserts. I’m a relatively new wearer of glasses. I tend to use them for driving and when watching movies or presentations and as such, I’m still prone to tripping up or down stairs when wearing glasses as my eyes pass from the zone of clarity the glasses provide to the fuzzy peripheral areas.
I had a feeling the Sportviz goggles review was not going to end well. How wrong was I?
Turns out I was very wrong indeed.
These Sportviz goggles are a game changer for me. It took me zero time to become accustomed to them and they immediately resulted in faster more confident riding from the first run.
The first run of our Les 2 Alpes snowboarding holiday was more of a transitional blue from one lift to another than a real run but never the less busy and unknown. I was riding a new board and following my friends as usual; only it dawned on me that for once I didn’t have to keep looking out for my fellow riders for cues on where to go!!
Things only got better as the day progressed. I noticed my focal point moved further out and because I was looking further ahead I was able to anticipate other slope users actions better and noted potential trouble spots earlier. This resulted in less occurrences of the dreaded speed scrub.
On our third lift we hit the boardercross, the first attempt we came in as a pack with me a very close 3rd out of 4. Our second run I was seriously fast in comparison and left the others bunched up 20 or so metres behind me as I passed the finish line. Proof that prescription goggles improve your snowboarding.
Usually I’m last or second to last in these things and have been for years but this time I was confident and looking far in advance picking my own line and hunkering down for some straight line action.
You could argue this win was partly due to my new Pathron Flaxer board which was seriously fast, but frankly I was still learning the boards capabilities, so more than a little of this result was due to the goggles.
In the park I was hitting jumps faster and boxes straighter. I even negotiated the junior halfpipe without mishap. On the third day we were lucky enough to get knee deep powder so we spent all day finding off-piste runs. I found I was picking lines well in advance and therefore getting more of my own fresh stuff to float on rather than following the lines my buddies had made. Yet more proof that prescription goggles improve your snowboarding.
I know what you’re thinking at this point, how blind is this guy without glasses? The fact is I’m not that visually impaired at all. My prescription is -1.50 , -1.25 sph for left and right respectively, that’s on a range of +-20.00 sph. It’s worth noting at this point that Sportviz do polarized, single vision, bifocal and progressive inserts for the goggles.
I can quite happily board without glasses, I have done for years on piste, in power, or park without issue so it would seem these goggles shouldn’t make such a huge difference. But the proof was in my performance, I am considerably less fit this year than previous years and yet my boarding was far better.
How is this possible? The glasses did one thing very well. They encouraged me to look further ahead safe in the knowledge I could read the nuances of the terrain at a greater distance. As far as improving goes, this is the single most important thing I’ve done to improve my riding in a long time.
No Sportviz goggles review would be complete without considering the cons? There are not many I can think of but..
Any goggles I’ve owned have have always had a tendency to ride up my nose which can be uncomfortable and start to impair peripheral vision. The Sportviz goggles didn’t eliminate this but the non slip strap did help to keep the goggles lower down on the bridge of my nose more than usual.
Also I found I was cleaning the inserts quite often, I concluded this was mainly due to my long greasy hair (it’s a snowboarding trip, hair gets greasy under a lid) which I kept forgetting to tuck away before donning the goggles.
The goggles as usual come in a micro fibre pouch that serves very well as a means of cleaning the lenses. Usually I leave the pouch in the chalet but I’ve learnt to take it out with me now.
My original Sportviz goggles were for medium to bright light snowboarding or skiing. So after a few days in low light conditions, where I could not see a great deal, I purchased the Sportviz low light goggles for the bargain price of £39.95.
The great news is the prescription insert fits in either goggles. At first it seemed like it was going to be a faff to swap it over, but that was more user error and as soon as I figured out how to do it, it was very easy. The frame is a slightly different shape to the original goggles but it still fitted my helmet and face well
The sportviz low light goggles come in either a blue or red frame with amber lenses. The amber colour allows more light through and adds definition in flat light, low light and white out conditions. The lenses have full UVA/UVB 400 protection so even if you end up riding in bright conditions you will not damage your eyes.
Every great day on the slopes ends in a drinking establishment of some sort, our first day ended in the Pano bar so talking was not really an option. However when we later retired to Smithys for some tasty food, I proceeded to bore my mates all evening with how great my new found vision was.
They were on the whole in agreement, if only for the fact that for the first holiday ever they hadn’t lost their voices shouting for me to stop as I followed someone who looked a bit like them down the wrong slope.
It occurred to me as the shots started lining up and the music got louder that their voices would be still lost despite this new advantage but that’s a story for another time.
If I was forced to sum up in one line…….
Snowboarding is first and foremost about riding with your friends and it’s so much easier to do this when you can spot them.
Sportviz ski bright goggles cost £44.95 and the low light goggles £39.95. The prescription inserts cost £40 (although curently reduced to £25) for a standard single prescription: www.sportviz.co.uk