Many people want to know the difference between mtb goggles vs ski goggles. The main reason why they want to know this from my research is because they have ski goggles and they want to know if they can use it instead of buying new mtb goggles for downhill mountain biking.
So I have gone through lots of material to bring you the differences and similarities between mountain bike goggles and ski goggles. Then you can decide for yourself. Plus you can see what I think about this further down the page.
Purpose: Mtb Goggles vs Ski Goggles
Mtb goggles are worn to protect your eyes from debris, branches, dirt, pebbles, water, and to help you see clearly.
Ski goggles are worn to help you see clearly, keep your eye area warm, protection from wind and snow, and prevent your eyes from watering up.
The goggle lens for mountain biking has a flat shape for running tear offs. This is because lenses can get scratched more easily when mountain biking compared to skiing.
Ski goggles are convex shaped in order to bead away the water and snow to the edges for better clarity. During skiing more snow and water hits the lens compared to mountain biking.
In order to keep goggles from fogging up the ski goggle lens has 2 layers. This is so both sides of the inner layer stay at a constant temperature so condensation does not form which causes fogging.
Mountain bike goggles on the other hand have a single walled clear lens. This is so many tear off lenses can be added for riding in the rain and mud. This makes mtb goggles lighter than ski goggles.
Because the lens of mountain bicycle goggles is lower in quality it is cheaper to replace than ski goggle lenses.
Ski goggle lenses are better optically for handling different snow conditions and sunny conditions. Therefore they are more expensive than mtb goggles.
Ski goggles are darker than mountain bike goggles because when you are skiing the reflection and glare from the snow is very bright.
If you were to wear ski goggles when mountain biking it would look darker which would be dangerous. You would not be able to see things as clearly and in detail, especially when you are riding through a forest.
Skiers don’t ski through a dense forest in the same way a mountain biker rides through a forest.
When mountain bikers are going downhill they usually wear a full face helmet. Because of this there is a helmet opening to look out for. This means mountain bike goggles need to be sized so they will fit into the helmet opening.
This makes them smaller by comparison to ski goggles. Ski goggles are larger than mtb goggles because skiiers helmets are half-shell, not full face for downhill.
Mountain biking goggles are designed to block the sun. While riding they protect your eyes directly from the sun’s rays and from debris.
Ski goggles are designed to protect your eyes from sun glare and from reflections off of the snow.
Mtb goggle lenses are scratch resistant because pebbles, small rocks, and sticks can fly up into your face and eye area.
Ski goggle lenses don’t need to be scratch resistant because you are only dealing with snow and water. Therefore ski lenses are more easily scratched if you were to use them to go mountain biking.
Mountain bike goggles provide more ventilation to keep your face and eye area cool. You don’t want sweat seeping into your eyes. Plus you don’t want to have to keep wiping away sweat from your forehead.
On the other hand ski goggles have less ventilation. The ventilation is meant for winter time and for keeping cold air out and your eye area warm.
A big difference between ski goggles and off road biking goggles is fighting the sun’s glare.
Ski goggles have lenses that are tinted and dark. They reduce the reflected glare from the snow. This helps you to ski on bright sunny days and not have to worry about hurting your eyes or squinting.
Mtb goggles have clear lenses so you can see the details on the trails in front of you. You will not experience any sun glare on the trails or in the woods. Only maybe if you are riding by water and the sun reflects off of a lake. So mountain trail lenses will only be slightly tinted for sunny days.
Ski goggles are more advanced than mtb goggles which makes them more expensive. In order to block the glare ski goggles use photochromic lenses. This actually detects the amount of UV light in your area and then automatically adjusts the tint.
Mountain bicycle goggles only need lenses that are tinted a little at the most and are scratch resistant. Which is perfect for the trails.
Mountain bikers go riding mostly in the spring and summer with some also biking in the autumn. More hard core riders will bike during winter on their fat bike. When they do bike in winter they don’t bike during such low temperatures as when skiers are skiing.
So ski goggles have more insulation to protect your face from the cold than mtb goggles. Skiers will ski at higher speeds in winter than mountain bikers will ride during winter. So the wind and cold is much worse for a skier than a mountain biker.
The double layered wall lens of ski goggles holds in more heat than the single layer lens of mtb goggles. The extra heat of ski goggles helps melt away snow that falls on the lens.
When skiing everything is pretty much white. The ground is all white and after snowfall so are the trees. In order to see dips in the slope while going downhill you need excellent contrast.
Ski goggles use different color tints to improve the contrast between shadows and objects. A dip in the slope of a hill appears differently on sunny days compared to cloudy days. The same holds true for other conditions.
Mountain bikers on the other hand don’t need more contrast but more clarity. Their lens needs to be very clear and clean to see the rocks, roots, and bumps on the trail.
Snow goggles are more durably made than bicycle goggles for off road. Because shi goggles have double lenses they are made with stronger and thicker material.
Mountain biking goggles are thinner and have a single layer lense. Plus the lens is straight compared to the curved ski lens. Mtb goggles are therefore lighter than ski goggles.
Can You Use Ski Goggles For Mountain Biking
Yes, you can use ski goggles for mountain biking. But if you use the ski lens you must make sure it is not too dark or tinted. Plus you must make sure the ski lens does not get scratched because it is not scratch resistant. If a ski lens is scratched it is expensive to replace.
Can You Use Mountain Bike Goggle Lenses in Ski Goggles
You can put mtb lenses in ski goggle frames as long as you can find ones that fit into the ski goggle frame. Not all ski goggles are compatible with mountain bike lenses.
Personally, I would just buy mtb goggles for mountain biking because they are not so expensive. Trying to match mtb lenses with ski goggles is not worth the trouble.