Vision Quest: Low Light

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1.

Carrera Kimerik (Polar C Yellow SR lens) $90; carrerasport.com

Austrian Hermann Maier crushes the competition wearing this model, so it should get the job done for you, too. The polarized lens yields remarkably sharp definition to even the slightest of terrain features on overcast days. And should it start to fog up, it's easy to fine-tune airflow. The Kimerik has four vents, each of which can be opened independently.

gripes:

The height of this goggle will overwhelm faces without Easter Island proportions.

props:

Though not spherical, the Kimerik has so much downward peripheral vision, you could check for belly-button lint mid-run.

Comfort: 3.5 Peripheral Vision: 5

2.

Spy Soldier (Rose Silver Mirror lens)$120; spyoptic.com

The optics on the Soldier's rose/silver spherical lens are so crisp that objects seem to snap into high-definition focus. Surprisingly, for a lens that lets in about 84 percent of the light, we found it versatile enough for squint-free skiing when the clouds parted.

gripes:

Skiers with Jay Leno—size noggins might find the frame a tad petite.

props:

We loved the understated but funky plaid strap.

Comfort: 4 Peripheral Vision: 3

3.

Uvex Supersonic S (Litemirror Orange lens) $129; uvexsports.com

Minimalists will appreciate the low profile on the spherical wraparound Supersonic S. (Those of you with big heads, on the other hand, may just look silly.) While testers found the design does limit vertical vision, it affords a truly whopping lateral view.

gripes:

The bar that bisects the lens is distracting at first.

props:

Unlike most low-light goggles, the Supersonic is mirrored—which helps cut glare when the sun pokes out.

Comfort: 3.5 Peripheral Vision: 3.5

4.

Smith Prodigy (RC36 Rose Copper lens)$95; smithsport.com

The spherical Prodigy is the latest offering in Smith's popular Regulator series. Unlike most goggles—but like Carrera's Kimerik—the Prodigy has "active vents, which can be opened or closed when conditions change. The lens we tested wasn't bright enough for truly murky days. East-coasters and diehard storm-skiers should consider Smith's rose or yellow lens.

gripes:

Some testers found the fit awkward—especially around the nose, where there is a lot of foam.

props:

Smartly designed hinges pop out to accommodate a helmet—then fold back into the frame when not needed.

Comfort: 3 Peripheral Vision: 4