(The Gear Loop) - Is there anything more annoying than your goggles fogging up as you’re halfway down a line? Not much, but it’s part and parcel of the ski or snowboard experience as you get hot in the pow or just zipping up your jacket to protect your face.
Our quest for seamless, fogless fit eyewear and lid is reaching the point that the once Eurotrash visor is becoming increasingly commonplace. Purely from personal choice, we won’t be seen dead in a ski helmet with a visor, so decided to test one brand’s helmet and goggles, built to fit together seamlessly, wondering whether could they do the same "anti-fog" job without the style stigma.
This reviewer has skied for nearly 40 years, but has never tried a seamless, integrated fit until recently, when we took POC’s Fornix helmet and Nexal Clarity goggles on a trip to Flaine. It was the first trip of the 2022-23 ski season, and it was cold. To put the chill into perspective, the driving wind on the first morning allowed only one lift to open in the entire resort.
Ideal testing conditions
The Gear Loop has previously reviewed both of the Fornix helmet and Nexal Clarity goggles from POC individually, but not put them together on the ski slopes. The whole point of using same-brand ski and helmet goggles is that the ventilation system is designed to work together, and the fit between the two is as close to seamless as possible.
In a nutshell, during two days in the most challenging conditions, we didn’t get any fogging or discomfort whatsoever. The ventilation worked perfectly even when we got too hot and too cold on the same run and the Nexal’s "zygomatic bone covers" kept the face protected from the chill.
The POC Nexal pairs with the brand’s Obex helmet, too, but we wear the Fornixd due to an oval-shaped head, something we picked up on in our best ski helmets buying guide.
The goggles have frame "outriggers", essentially an extra section to the frame that covers more of the face so the frame sits further into the ski helmet and the sides beneath the ear covers, giving a comfy and secure fit.
They work. And while friends took great delight in ribbing the "zygomatic bone covers" (a feature borrowed from ski racing) the extra protection over the cheekbones kept the face protected against the elements and the triple layer of foam ensured there were absolutely no gaps for cold air to sneak in.
The POC Fornix MIPS helmet aligns perfectly with the top of the goggles, while still letting heat escape (another essential to prevent fogging) and there’s a goggle clip on the back of the helmet to keep them attached if you fall. You can open and close the ventilation at the top of the helmet according to how hot you are, and while we kept the vents closed in Flaine due to the chilly conditions, there was no heat build up or discomfort.
A perfect combo?
POC’s Nexal goggles look quite big and bulky, but they don’t feel like that when on. They didn’t push the helmet back or pull it forwards, and needed none of the constant readjustment you get when pairing different brands.
The cylindrical lens has a really wide, uninterrupted field of vision, one helped by POC’s Ri-Pel hydrophobic treatment that ensured the snow, when it turned to rain at a lower altitudes, stayed in big drops and cleaned off easily, always remaining clear.
The downsides? There aren’t really any to the helmet. We did find a couple of small issues with the goggles though. The toggle to turn ventilation on and off is stiff and fiddly, so we left it open (which was fine - never any fogging and not cold).
The lenses proved quite tricky to change, it’s a system you need to practise and can’t do while wearing ski gloves. Finally, the shape of the goggle with outriggers means you can’t put a protective goggle sock on the lens, but they come with a soft bag so you can take them off the helmet.
All in all, a fairly life-changing experience and one we wish we had explored before. The ability to ski all day, and in terrible conditions, without worrying about vision being hampered further by fogging is great. It’s easy to think that POC is overthinking things here, but it really works.