The Heli-Ski Blog

8 tricks to keep your goggles clean while heli-skiing

Posted by Topher Donahue on Feb 19, 2010 10:22:00 AM

 Just returned from the CMH Gothics (my favorite photo from the week here) where we had a bit of everything: deep powder and clouds in the trees with sun in the alpine - and I picked up a few good tricks for keeping my goggles clean.

  • Dress down to avoid overheating.  If you’re sweating like a powder pig, your goggles will fog up.  Take off your hat, unzip your jacket, take off a sweater and put it in your guest pack before you start sweating.
  • Keep your goggles on your face.  If you push them up onto your hat or helmet, the snow and moisture there combined with the temperature change will cause instant condensation on the lenses.  Often they will fog up somewhat while you are in the warmth of the helicopter, but after you get out and the helicopter takes off, the wind from the rotors will blow them clear again.  
  • If your goggles are fogged to the point you cannot see through them, or snowy from a crash, take a seat next to the window and hold them over the heater outflow ducts located near the floor behind the front seats of the helicopter.  A couple of minutes there will clean even the most ice-encrusted goggles.
  • While looking down to put on your skis or board, make sure your mouth and nose are uncovered.  If your face is in your jacket collar or a mask, looking down will direct your steamy breath directly into your goggles – fogging them instantly.  Unzip your collar for a moment, or push down your facemask while you strap on your board or step into your skis.  
  • Buy bigger goggles.  They don’t look as stylish as little streamlined rigs, but having more space between your face and the lenses prevents them from steaming up.  You’ll notice all the ski guides wear big dorky-looking goggles and never have problems with foggy lenses.  
  • Buy goggles with double lenses and without vent holes in the front lens.  The vent holes work in drier conditions, but in the deep powder and plentiful face shots of the Columbia Mountains where we heli-ski, the vent holes allow moisture to get between the lenses.  
  • If you still have fogging problems after trying all of the above tricks, goggles with a battery-powered fan will be the solution.  Like a defroster in a car, the fan will keep your goggles clean.  Skiers who wear prescription glasses under their goggles often find this is the only way to maintain clear vision.  
  • Backup glasses.  It’s easy to stick a pair of sunglasses in your pocket.  Then if you have issues with your goggles, you can just put on your sunglasses and keep skiing until you are in the helicopter and have a chance to properly clean and dry your goggles. 
Do you have any other tips for better vision or for keeping your goggles clean while skiing?  Post it here!

Topics: First Timers, Gothics Lodge, Gear