[Winter 2011 UPDATE: Just wanted to update this review since I've had the goggles for over 2 years now. They're still the best goggles I've ever owned! No complaints or problems to speak of.]
While I occasionally blog about cool products and gear that I discover or read about on the web, this is the first of what I hope will be a series of actual hands-on product reviews. But first, a disclaimer of sorts: For those of you who did your homework and read the About Us page on the Trek Light Gear website, you may have noticed that my last name is Haber. And here I am writing my first product review on a brand called HaberVision.
Is this a shameless plug for a favorite uncle with a goggles company? Not at all. Believe it or not, I hold absolutely no relation to the company or its founder with a very cool last name.
Located just down the road from Trek Light Gear (in Golden, Colorado) it was almost inevitable that I would cross paths with them sooner or later, but I was actually introduced to the company through my father who is a huge fan of their travel bags and sunglasses. I initially thought he just liked getting things with ‘Haber’ printed on them without having to pay extra for the personalization, but I quickly realized that he was passionate about the company’s products and that’s something that will always catch my interest.
The company was founded by Steve Haber, who founded Bolle America back in 1981 and developed the familiar Bolle brand of sunglasses and goggles. Steve ended up selling his interests in Bolle and in 2005 he founded HaberVision. According to the website, HaberVision.com is “the world’s first online only premium sunglass store”, although as this review indicates they certainly make more than just sunglasses.
When you first set eyes upon the HaberVision Riva goggles, it’s impossible to not be mesmerized by the bright blue and orange hues of its reflective lens. When it comes to sunglasses, I tend to think that blue reflective glass is something that hasn’t quite redeemed itself from the 80’s. Last summer I tried to ‘rock’ a pair of sunglasses with bright blue lens in an attempt to reclaim the look, but every time I saw a picture of myself I couldn’t help but think ‘Man, I need some new sunglasses’. But skiing is a whole different beast and with an attire that already consists of a bright orange jacket, blue boots and a helmet I knew that these goggles would feel right at home and make me a force of nature color to be reckoned with on the slopes.
Vail Shuttle Driver: Are those HaberVision goggles? Me: Yeah, I’m about to try them for the first time. Driver: You’re going to love ‘em, I’ve got a pair and they’re the best goggles I’ve ever owned.
That was an actual conversation that took place on my way to give the Riva goggles their maiden voyage at the skier’s paradise that is Vail. I’m not sure whether the great folks at HaberVision secretly planted that shuttle driver to influence my review, but in over over 25 years of skiing I’ve never had anyone comment on my goggles so I was more excited than ever to hit the slopes and try them out.
Test Day #1:
Instead of getting to test the goggles out in the bright sunny skies that typically frame a ski day in Colorado, I had what you can only hope for when you make the trek to Vail – a snow day. The sun spent the entire day behind the clouds while the snow fell, which made for a great day on the slopes and a lot of time for me test out the goggles.
Everything was as I hoped, the goggles felt great and fit well and performed amazingly. I never once had a problem with them fogging up and they completely kept the wind and cold air out of my eyes while still providing ample ventilation. On a day when visibility was already low, I was able to see clearly and never had to lift my goggles up to survey a steep slope ahead of me which I’ve had to do plenty of times with other goggles when the light is bad or the fog creeps in.
Test Day #2:My second chance to try out the Riva goggles came a week later on the slopes of Breckenridge. The sun was shining and it felt more like April than early January. Once again the Riva goggles proved themselves to the best goggles I’ve ever had the chance to try out. The polarized lenses were easily able to cut the glare on the snow and keep me focused on skiing and not worrying about the light. Normally I’ll switch to sunglasses on a bright, sunny day like that, but the goggles did the job perfectly.
All in all, I’m thrilled with the Riva goggles by HaberVision. It should be known that I’m in no way an expert on goggles, lenses or anything in between. But, I do know that I can’t wait to get some more days in with them and I can already see myself repeating the shuttle driver’s enthusiasm when I see someone else sporting them on the slopes. Fortunately, there’s no sticker shock when it comes to the price tag, which is something that always seems to frustrate me with any kind of performance eyewear. At HaberVision.com, the current online ‘Member Price’ for the Riva goggles is only $55. While you can certainly score goggles for less, after my tests I would certainly say it’s a fair price to pay for quality polarized goggles.
If you own a pair or end up buying a pair, let me know in the comments below.
(FYI, I setup an affiliate account with HaberVision after falling in love with the goggles. All that means is the links I’ve included in this post have an ‘affinity code’ which lets them know that you were referred from Trek Light Gear and works much like Trek Light Gear’s own Affiliate Program.)