Smith Optics Takes Goggles to the Next Level! Gear Interview Series

Smith Optics Takes Goggles to the Next Level!

Ketchum Idaho is the place to catch up with Tag Kleiner, Director of Marketing at Smith Optics.  The lastest in the Gear Interview explores Smith Googles, Helmets and Sunglasses.

heliskiing canada goggles, heli-skiing helmet and goggles


1.  I know you go heli-skiing in Valdez every Spring.   What goggles do you wear?

I wear our I/O…it forms a perfect seal on my face and I’m yet to have any fogging problems, especially with our new 5X Anti-Fog inner lens.  I’ve used our Phenom Turbo Fan in the past, but like the ease of lens change with our I/O and haven’t found that I need the additional fog-fighting technology of our Turbo Fan.

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2.  The I/O Recon has a built-in heads-up display and real-time tracking of you and your buddies!?!   That’s a game changer!

The new I/O Recon google gives you all the lens interchangeability of our I/O Family of goggles combined with Recon Instruments’ MOD Live heads-up display.

Speed, altitude, GPS mapping, jump analytics, vertical, and more are delivered directly to your eye as well as Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone for music, text, and call information. Add full helmet compatibility and two included Performance Mirror lenses with Vaportor Lens Technology with Porex Filter and 5X Anti-Fog inner lens, and you’ve got the I/O Recon.

Check out the video

Smith Recon Video


3.  Which is less likely to fog –  high volume or low volume goggles?

High Volume goggles are definitely less likely to fog, but often it comes down to the individual. If you’re prone to heavy sweating and creating a lot of body heat, you’re more likely to have fogging issues. Also, if you’re wearing a helmet, you’ll want to make sure that your goggle and helmet work as an integrated system. If there’s not a system like Smith’s AirEvac (which draws warm air out of the goggle and exhausts it through channels out the back of your helmet), you’re fogging issue might not be your goggle, but rather how your goggle and helmet are working together.


4.  I wear glasses, so I’m a HUGE fan of the Turbo Fan.   Does Smith Optics own patents around those?

Yes, we have a patent on the Turbo Fan technology. We actually introduced a more quiet, more stealth Turbo Fan on our I/OX Elite Turbo Fan this season.  [So the ringing in my ears was not the chopper after all!]

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5.  What’s the difference between the Spherical Series and Regulator Series of Smith snow goggles?

The difference is in the lens. Every goggle in our Spherical Series features our optically correct spherical lens with our patented Vaporator lens technology with Porex™ filter and our 5X Anti-Fog inner lens. The Vaporator technology seals the two lenses together with a silicone bead creating an airtight, bomb-proof seal and eliminating lens delamination (the #1 cause of between-the-lens fogging). The Porex™ filter allows the thermal lens to adjust to air pressure differences at different elevations while preventing water vapor entry.  [That’s key, as heliskiers change altitude more rapidly than lift-bound skeirs and boarder]


Our Regulator Series has a mix of optically correct spherical and cylindrical lenses, each featuring our patented Regulator adjustable lens ventilation, allowing the user to control the airflow through the goggle.


6.  What’s the latest on changeable lenses?

With our I/O Family (I/O Recon, I/O, I/OX, I/OS, and I/OX Elite Turbo), Change is Easy for every face shape and size, as well as Head-Up display technologies in our I/O Recon and Turbo Fan in our I/OX Elite Turbo. We invented the interchangeable goggle category, and the I/O remains the standard to which everyone else is measured.


7.  Can it be done in one chopper ride?

You can change a lens in an I/O in less than 10 seconds…easily done in a heli ride.


8.  I lived in Sun Valley for a winter, and did not meet too many people with real jobs.  How did you get so lucky?

I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but Ketchum is an amazing place to live and raise a family. I’ve traveled to most ski towns in the US, and very few compare to Sun Valley when it comes to community and access to an amazing outdoor lifestyle.


9.  Do you get out for some R&D on the hill?

As much as I can. We have a 7″ rule, and if there’s 7″ of new snow on the ground our office is pretty empty.  [My old girlfriend had a similar rule]


10.  Have you heliskied with Sun Valley Heliski Guides?

Yes. Amazing operation, amazing guides, and great terrain. It’s always amazing to get above the mountains in Ketchum and see how vast the Pioneer, Boulder, White Cloud, Smokey, and Sawtooth ranges are.


11.  You sell lots of products that are not optical.  I ski in one of your helmets, the Variant Brim.   I like it as much as you can like a helmet.  Do you sell a lot of brain buckets?

We were very excited to enter the helmet market in 2006/07 and felt we brought a new technology to the market. We looked at a helmet and goggle as an integrated system, both needing to work together to ensure your goggles didn’t fog and that your gray matter was protected. We’ve been very fortunate to have success in the category, and continue to innovate our helmet product to reduce volume and weight while continuing to provide world class protection.


12.  Your Evolve Technology uses re-ground urethane?

We use re-grond urethane as well as a material called Pearlthane ECO bio-TPU. The Pearlthane ECO is derived from plant-based oils separate from the world’s food supply and performs equally as well as traditional urethane while contributing up to 40% fewer global warming emissions. [Cool]


13.  Do all Smith Optics products have a lifetime warranty?

Yes. We’re proud to stand behind every product we make with the most comprehensive lifetime warranty plan of any goggle, helmet, or sunglass on the market.


14.  Where can I get a pair like this?    [Kidding]

heli-ski canada, helicopter skiing glasses


Thanks, Tag.

Hope to see on you the hill in Sun Valley!