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Snow glasses: polarized or non-polarized?


I am looking for the new set of snow glasses and wonder if the polarized glasses are better than non-polarized. 

I typically use the same glasses on both up and downhill (I kind of dislike ski goggles as I find that they limit my field of view, get foggy in moments I need it the least and somewhat dislike the feel on my face).

On one hand, the polarized glasses reduce the glare and improve contrast if you heading into the direction of sun. On the other hand, they can work the opposed way if the reflecting surface is not horizontal, and can create interesting shadowplay if you turn your head. It looks like there is no universal consensus among the ski goggles/glasses manufacturers on the subject.

So, what is the better choice for the ski touring, based on extended experience, skiing in flat light, poor snow, etc.?



4 Replies

Polorized messes with my spatial awareness, a minus for me, but whatever floats your yacht.

I do like non-polarized lenses better for flat light and I make sure that the tint is very low.  I have been using Ryder Sabre anti-fog for this purpose for about 3 years.  They are made primarily for biking I think. I can barely tell the difference between wearing them or not, but they keep me from squinting.  I use cheap anti-fog safety glasses if it gets really foggy/cloudy out which also work well for night skiing.  I keep both in my pack and a heavily tinted polarized lens for those rare bluebird days.

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Polarized, or not, depends...I’ve heard a saying, never ask the elves for advice, for they’ll say both yes and no, something like that, paraphrasing of course 

REI Member Since 1979

I spent a summer doing field work for the Forest Service in the Sierras surveying wilderness meadow stream systems to evaluate impacts of recreation and grazing primarily. My uniform was sandals, swim trunks and a t-shirt. I was given a pair of Polaroid glasses to make the work easier - seeing in the stream. I've used them before for fishing. I find the change in color saturation very unsettling when you move your head around. It's okay for fishing or for working so I can see where I am stomping around in the stream.

Wayfarer sunglasses with yellow lenses were my go-to eyewear for touring and teaching. I'd carry goggles on xc and peakbagging missions. That darn wind!

This elf has used both.