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.

heliski goggles, heli-skiing bc


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!]

bc heliskiing, helicopter skiing bc goggles


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!


Heliskiing in April? Yeah, April Heliskiing

Heliskiing in April

Does it get too warm to go heliskiing in British Columbia in April?    No.

Is the heliskiing season over in Alaska?  Not. It’s prime time up there. The days are twice as long in April as in February.

Does it quit snowing?   Nope

Why does heliskiing wind down?

We all get out our golf clubs, tennis rackets, mountain bikes and boats.

What does this mean?

There are great deals and great heliskiing in April.

Why is this blog post about heliskiing all questions? I don’t know. Why not?

Is it irritating? Sorry. Maybe I have listened to too many lame Bowl Game announcers this week.

What do I recommend for heliskiing in April?

great canadian heliskiing British Columbia Heliskiing

Great Canadian Heliskiing offers unlimited vertical during the first week of April for $8,820. You can rack up the vertical!

CMH Revelstoke offers a 5-day heliskiing trip, April 2-7 for $4775. This location gets rave reviews and that’s a great price. Also March 28-April 2 for the same price.

CMH Galena has a one-week heliskiing special March 26 – April 2 for just $5900. There is a slight catch. Call or email for more details.

Always wanted to go heliskiingski the Bugaboos, the birthplace of heliskiing? How about a week April 16-23 at CMH Bugaboos for $6400?!

cmh bugaboos heliskiing lodge, heliskiing bugaboos
Bugaboo Lodge, Canadian Mountain Holidays

CMH Cariboos are still heliskiing April 9-16 for $6600.

OR, try Alaska Heliskiing. Long runs, crazy steep, bucket-list worthy experience. We work with most of the operators and can set up a great experience for your group. Check out:


Valdez Heli-Ski Guides

Chugach Powder Guides

Alaska Heliskiing

helicopter skiing alaska, valdez heliskiing
Alaska Heliskiing is Steep and Deep








Email or Call about Heliskiing in April.


We will send the best options.








Alaska Heli Skiing, the time is Now

alaska heli skiing steep, heli ski alaska

Alaska Heli Skiing Season is MUCH later than British Columbia Heli Skiing

In the Rockies, many of us are putting away our heliski gear and dusting off the bikes, tennis rackets and golf clubs. But in Alaska, heli-skiing prime time is March and April.

What’s heliskiing Alaska like? How is it different from British Columbia heli-skiing?

  • Alaska heliskiing is almost all above tree line
  • Alaska weather is more problematic, both for travel and for skiing (I was once down for 6 days in a row in Valdez). You may have to drive from Anchorage (5 hrs.) because the flights in and out of Valdez are canceled, often.
  • AK is serious steep. They can get as extreme as you can handle. I’m an accomplished powder skier and former ski bum. There are places that will scare the hell out of me.
  • AK is beautiful and wild.
  • We work with some great Alaska heli-skiing operators in both Alaska and BC
  • Alaska helicopter skiing is a later season because of the temps and the daylight. March is the early season. April is still prime time.
  • AK accommodations are not luxurious. Sometimes you commute from a Valdez hotel or stay in a motor home.
  • There is an operator out of Mt. Alyeska that allows you to ‘warm up’ before you heliski/boarding, and offers backup options during bad weather.

So if you are not ready to give up on the steep and deep, drop me a line and I will find the best options for you to do some heliskiing in Alaska!

alaska heliskiing, heli skiing alaska, alaska heliskiing


Conquer Untamed Wilderness: Embrace the Majesty of Alaska Heliskiing

Craving an adventure that will redefine your skiing experience? Look no further than the untamed wilds of Alaska, where towering peaks, untouched powder, and the thrill of heliskiing await. Buckle up and prepare to soar above the clouds with Alaska Heliskiing, your gateway to an unforgettable winter wonderland.

Unleash Your Inner Adventurer Heliskiing Alaska:

  • Untouched Frontier: Explore over 5 million acres of pristine terrain, including dramatic spines, glacial bowls, and endless tree runs, all accessible only by helicopter.
  • Legendary Powder: Brace yourself for legendary Alaskan snow, averaging over 400 inches annually. Powder so light and deep, you’ll feel like you’re floating on a cloud.
  • Expert Guides: Rely on the knowledge and expertise of highly trained Alaskan guides, who will lead you to secret stashes, ensure your safety, and introduce you to the region’s unique wilderness.
  • World-Class Lodges: Escape the elements and find comfort in cozy, luxurious lodges offering gourmet meals, panoramic views, and warm hospitality.
  • Valdez Heli-Skiing in the Chugach Mountains is legendary!

Beyond the Vertical Rush:

  • Heli-Hiking & Ice Climbing: Trade your skis for hiking boots and explore hidden glaciers, alpine meadows, and stunning icefalls via guided heli-hikes and ice climbing adventures.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Keep your eyes peeled for iconic Alaskan wildlife, from majestic moose and caribou to playful foxes and even the occasional glimpse of a majestic brown bear.
  • Cultural Immersion: Discover the rich history and traditions of the Alaska Native people, whose connection to the land adds another layer of depth to your wilderness experience.

Alaska Heliskiing: Perfect for:

  • Seasoned skiers and snowboarders: Test your skills on challenging terrain and discover untouched lines that will push your limits.
  • Thrill-seekers yearning for the ultimate adventure: Escape the ordinary and immerse yourself in the raw beauty and unbridled freedom of Alaskan heliskiing.
  • Powderhounds dreaming of the perfect line: Sink your teeth into the deepest, lightest powder on Earth and let the weightless exhilaration wash over you.

Fuel Your Alaskan Dream:

  • Plan your escape: Visit the Alaska Heliskiing website to browse packages, explore breathtaking videos and photos, and book your unforgettable winter odyssey.
  • Follow them on social media: Get inspired with stunning visuals, discover snow conditions, and stay updated on special offers.
  • #AlaskaHeliskiing #UntamedPowder #WildernessAdventure #HeliskiingLegends

Embrace the untamed spirit of Alaska with an unforgettable heliskiing adventure. The majestic peaks, endless powder, and breathtaking scenery await. Unclip, ascend, and conquer the Alaskan frontier!

Heli Skiing Alaska, Valdez Heli-Skiing, Chugach Mountains, Alaska