For most people “fun in the sun” means summertime warmth, but the reality is there’s still plenty of sun when you’re outdoors in the winter, and with all that white stuff on the ground it’s actually even harder on your eyes. It’s why goggles are an essential part of any snowboarder’s kit, and is the drive behind Burton’s own-brand eyewear company Anon’s attempt at making something that’s between goggle and sunglasses.
The Anon Strategist Sunglasses are a premium pair of sunglasses, hand assembled in Japan using titanium and synthetic parts with Perceive Polarized lenses. They draw inspiration from old-school “glacier glasses”, the highly modified frames worn by arctic explorers and high-elevation mountaineers to provide maximum protection in white out conditions. But those old-school metal-and-textile frames have a lot of shortcomings if you’re planning on wearing them regularly, like lenses so dark they’re specifically called out as being unsafe to drive in.
So theses Anon Glasses tone down some of the more extreme elements of the style, while still providing much of the function, and protection, you need.
As Glacier Glasses
If you’re looking for set of specs for dedicated above-treeline wear, you probably want to look elsewhere. While the frames of the Anon Strategist Sunglasses to reach around the face to block peripheral sun, they are too shallow to provide meaningful coverage and don’t offer the same protection that true glacier glasses, or even a more wrap-around pair of athletic sunglasses, can provide. And the lenses, while extremely clear and of the highest quality, are not quite dark enough to provide the powerful fatigue-fighting brightness reduction you’ll need on super bluebird days.
But that’s doesn’t mean they don’t have their place.
“Real” glacier glasses can provide powerful light exclusion, but those skirts also prevent airflow. And anyone who’s dealth with foggy goggles knows airflow is extremely important when snowboarding or especially splitboarding. So while the frames don’t wrap around quite as far as we like, they do still allow for plenty of airflow allowing these glasses to fight fog more than well enough to make them a good pick for sunny skintracks.
It’s also worth noting that they retained the “hook” style earpieces of true glacier glasses. Not only does this make them lighter, sleeker, and more comfortable for most ear shapes, they also help the frames stay on your face. Which could be important when you’re a below-average split skier and know you’re going to eat it at some point on the approach. Also worth nothing that the thin wire construction allows these frames to work comfortably with most over-ear and around-ear headphones, if you’re into that kind of thing.
So if they’re not “real” glacier glasses, are they “only” sunglasses?
No. They’re great sunglasses.
As mentioned above they’ve got real performance advantages like the hooked ear pieces and a bit of extra peripheral coverage built into the frame. They’re light, stay on your face, and are great for situations where goggles would be too much but aviators wouldn’t be enough.
But the real star of the show are the lenses. While they’re not the high-powered tint found on “real” glacier glasses, they’re better off for it. You can wear these sunglasses normally, even while driving, without experiencing compromises in your visibility or safety. And they’re still on the darker end of the spectrum for standard sunglasses, meaning they’re more than capable of providing protection in all but the most extreme environments. And you’ll want to wear them too, since the Perceive Polarized treatment allows for an extremely clear, crisp image.
Which really tells us where the Anon Strategist Sunglasses are really meant to thrive. They’re great for the skintrack, as well as the drive back into town from the trailhead. You’ll get powerful protection, no dangerous blindspots to worry about, and performance features like superior fog resistance and those titanium ear hooks. They look unique, but despite the functional shape they can still be worn casually so you won’t have to feel weird wearing them on the deck at the resort while getting your après on.
To use an automotive metaphor, glacier glasses are like a highly modified Toyota Pickup. Extremely capable, but not exactly what you want in a daily driver. The Anon Strategist Sunglasses ($229.99) are a Mercedes G550. Nearly as capable as the Toyota, but way more comfortable around town and good looking too.