Excessive-performance face masks for fog-free snowboarding and snowboarding

A year ago there was only one place where a face mask didn’t seem out of place: the ski slope. Neck tubes, masks, gaiters and balaclavas have always been part of the uniform on the slopes. COVID just made them a duty.

“Nobody is allowed to enter the mountain without a face covering,” said Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, which operates 37 hills in North America and Australia.

Virtually every ski resort across the country has announced COVID safety plans that include wearing nose-to-chin covers in lift lines, while loading and riding lifts, in all buildings and during classes. The only place you’ll feel the cold on your face this season is to slide downhill.

What exactly a face covering on the slopes means is a little less clear. Most of the resorts didn’t provide information, but according to Deer Valley Resort, Utah, single-layer face coverings aren’t good enough. Local government agency Summit County Public Health requires two-layer face coverings with no vents or valves.

The other thing to consider is fog. Tuck most neck warmers under protective glasses and you can expect to see a lot of them and not much else. New designs breathe out directly, so this isn’t such a big problem.

For those whose ski tubes can’t meet this winter’s additional requirements, there are three options that will keep you from constantly adjusting, blind or worse, and holding your breath when tourists get into your gondola from a red zone.

Best if you are often hot or COVID-noid

Buff filter tube
Buff took his popular neck tube and added a filter bag to make one of the safest neck warmers on the slopes. Put one of the included three-layer, replaceable, paper-like filters in your pocket to weed out 98 percent of bacteria and more COVID viruses than any other neck warmer alone. It’s not too difficult to breathe, but the channels breathe out through the filter and keep moisture away from the goggles. (Buff sells boxes of replacement filters separately.) The neck tube is one of the lighter ones from Buff. It’s made from recycled polyester and is form-fitting so it stays in place over the nose. It’s lightweight, ideal for warmer days or skiers and riders who run hot. [$29; buffusa.com]

Best when you also need new safety glasses

Anon M4 Goggle Toric + MFI face mask
We have been adapting goggles and helmets for years to ensure seamless integration. With the M4, you can do the same thing to avoid gaps in virus filtration. The M4 glasses require four magnets to hold the lens to the frame and most importantly make it easy to swap out when the clouds roll in. It’s still the case – it comes with an extra lens – and the bottom magnets are twice the size of storage for the MFI face mask. There are also magnets hidden on the upper edge, which are also adapted to the shape of the glasses. Pull up the goggles or mask and the two will automatically (and snuggly) fit together. Lighter material on the mouth acts like a chimney to prevent fogging. The mask, which is also available individually, is also cut a little looser and forms a small air pocket around the face. [$300; burton.com]

Best if you hate tight fitting face masks

Seirius mask winter face maskSeirus EVO Arc Dynamax Dana
The Dana combines three technologies to create a safe, warm, and easily breathing facial tube. It is made of Dynamax, an insulating, moisture-wicking and wind-blocking fabric, and is shaped like Seirus’ EVO Arc masks. The contoured shape keeps the fabric away from your nose and mouth. It also contains HeiQ Block, a proven antimicrobial treatment that is applied directly to the fabric to kill viruses and bacteria on contact. This also means it won’t start to smell as quickly. The treatment will wash off over time, so it’s not quite as effective as Buff’s replaceable filters, but the mask is more comfortable to wear – and warmer, perfect for cold days. [$30; seirus.com]


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