Kim Jacobs and her husband own an international adventure travel company called Mountain Spirits that takes people trekking, skiing and climbing all over the world including Asia, Europe and South America. When Kim is not working, she is climbing rocks somewhere on this planet, normally close to where she just finished guiding be it Utah, Idaho, Thailand, Spain, Italy, or Argentina. More about Kim here.
This winter I tested a pair of Upslope goggles from Native’s new line. This was a particularly fun test for me because once upon a time I had a ‘real job’ working as Customer Service manager for Smith Optics in Sun Valley, Idaho. My experience at Smith gave me some extra knowledge going into this test.
These goggles fit well even though the Upslope frame was a bit big for me. If I were doing the shopping, I would buy the next frame smaller but even so, I loved how these fit in my helmet. The spherical shape of the lens gives you some extra volume which is nice for both clear, wide range of vision and keeping the moisture down. The foam on the face is comfortable and does not pinch down on the nose like some goggles do. The strap is wide and has silicon beads to help it stay in place on the helmet. The strap is easily adjustable but does not have a clip to open and close, and this is one thing that I prefer.
My hometown ski resort (Sun Valley, Idaho) is known for long, sustained, high-speed groomers. Everyone skiing there is skiing fast and in a helmet, so you want to be able to see them in your peripheral at all times! This goggle has terrific peripheral vision and you don’t have to actually turn your head to see what’s going on around you. This is hugely important for me and for those who wear helmets while skiing.
If your goggles fog up then all the other great qualities get cancelled out. I skied in all conditions in these goggles and never once had a trace of fog. Clear days, stormy days, spring powder days with lots of heat and exertion happening. No fog!
The goggle comes with some different lens options which I think is super important. The light early winter (and lens required) is much different from the lens that you want to ski in during the spring. The lens I have is green with a reflective coating and although it appeared sort of “dark” for my taste, it turned out to be perfect going in and out of sun and shade this spring. My only complaint is that the reflective coating scratches easily right out of the box. The scratches are superficial and did not change my view but disconcerting nonetheless.
All in all, I think Native is on the right track in adding goggles to their optical line. I was impressed right away and can’t wait to try out some of the other models next ski season!