Marker Goggles and Helmets: If You Don't Know, Now You Know // Ski Reviews
When the brand Marker comes to mind, most of us think of bindings, and for good reason. Marker has been one of the companies leading the charge on alpine binding innovations since 1952. Their Royal Family binding collection has become one of the most popular on the market since the introduction of the Duke almost ten years ago. Today we see more Griffons on the slopes than perhaps any other model from any other brand. It’s also relatively common knowledge that Marker and Volkl have a strong partnership, and if you follow our blog you know we often rave about Volkl skis. It’s slightly less known that Dalbello is also a part of that family. So, within one organization you have really high quality skis, boots, and bindings. But helmets and goggles?
We’ve seen other big brands in the past try to gain a portion of the helmet and goggles market with little success. There’s so much technology in eyewear and helmets these days that it can be hard for a company that makes a huge variety of products to compete with brands more focused and rooted in that industry. Marker, however, has obviously done their homework with both their helmets and goggles resulting in some really high quality products that have gained high praise and respect across the industry. Here at SkiEssentials.com we’ve been very impressed and are offering a broad selection of their products. As most skiers aren’t quite as familiar with Marker helmets and goggles as some other more headwear specific brands out there we thought we’d put together an article highlighting the strengths of their products and why they deserve your consideration.
We’ll start with goggles. It’s easy to make a straight forward, basic ski goggle these days, but if you’re trying to compete with brands like Smith, Oakley, Poc, etc. you need much more than a basic ski goggle. Marker has developed a few key technologies that have earned their goggles a great reputation and already a strong following. The first innovation that’s worth noting is their NMT Optics technology, also known as the 3rd Eyelid. This is a lens coating that’s found on all the Marker goggles we carry at SkiEssentials that works just like the extra membrane some animals have to provide extra protection. Essentially it results in a scratch-resistant exterior surface that prevents water, grease, or dust from sticking and wicks moisture immediately. Think Rain-X for your face. If you’ve ever been out on a wet powder day or skied during the rain you know how annoying it is to constantly wipe your goggle lenses while trying to ski your line. Now you don’t have to! Marker also uses a Dual Bionomic Spherical Lens in their goggles. The thickness of the lens tapers from the middle to the edges, not just matching the curvature of the eye, but also delivering completely undistorted light beams for no eye fatigue.
We have three Marker goggles available at SkiEssentials, the Projector, Big Picture, and 16:9. All of these use the two technologies we just described among other high performance oriented features and designs. The Projector is a frameless design goggle that is somewhat reminiscent to the Smith I/O or Poc Lobes, but with its own distinct style. Swapping lenses is very easy thanks to the oversized exterior tabs and the goggles offer a broad field of vision. The 16:9 and Big Picture are essentially the same goggle in different sizes. You guessed it, the Big Picture is bigger. Both of these goggles have a super stylish frame design with a 4-point lens clip system that’s much easier to change lenses with than traditional goggles. If you like having the biggest field of vision possible, you’ll love the Big Picture. The 16:9 is really just a smaller version for those with slightly smaller faces or those who aren’t a fan of the oversized goggle look. All three of these goggles are available in “Plus” versions. If you see the term “Plus” at the end of a Marker goggle it means you’re going to get two lenses. The Plus goggles are given a sunny day lens and a low light lens for those who like to dial in their lens choice depending on weather and light conditions.
On the helmet side of things, we also have three models available: the Phoenix, Ampire, and Consort. The Phoenix is the top of the Marker helmet collection and has the most technology and features, so we’ll start there. Perhaps the most impressive part of the Phoenix helmet is Marker’s MAP Protection. MAP is a closed-cell foam with multi-impact properties. Developed with the University of Bolgna, MAP is a soft, flexible, low weight material that stiffens and hardens during an impact. After an impact the foam resumes its original shape quicker than other materials giving this helmet superior protection against multiple rapid impacts. MAP also results in padding that’s 28% thinner than competitors for low profile, light weight helmets. The Phoenix integrates this technology into a Hybrid Shell design with harder plastic on top and softer plastic around the bottom of the helmet for optimal protection for the entire head. Most of Marker’s helmets have a relatively distinct style with sharp lines and prominent brims, and the Phoenix is no exception.
The Ampire borrows the same Hybrid Shell construction and uses similar design elements as the Phoenix, but drops the MAP technology. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as the helmet comes in at a lower price point and for those who aren’t prone to falls where they might hit their head are just fine with a single impact helmet. In fact, most of us are pretty used to the idea that once we have a serious impact with a helmet, it’s time to replace it. The Consort goes a step further and drops the Hybrid Shell technology, but is still a very solid, high performing helmet that provides plenty of protection for most skiers.
All of these three helmets use Marker’s RTS Fit System which allows you to quickly and easily adjust the size of a helmet to fit your specific head shape resulting in a helmet that’s very comfortable and also very secure and safe. They also all use a 2 position climate control system allowing you to let airflow into your helmet or to completely close it off from the elements. The last thing we’d like to mention is that we always recommend matching helmet and goggle brands whenever possible. This has nothing to do with style, brand preference, or looking cool, but has everything to do with the helmet and goggle being designed to work together. Marker refers to it as MarkAIR, and the idea is that airflow from your goggles goes seamlessly through your helmet helping to reduce fogging to an absolute minimum. Chances are it will be fine if you mix and match your helmet and goggles, but there’s something to be said about using the products that were designed to work together.
Anyone who’s in the market for a new helmet, goggles, or both should take a look at Marker. It’s not a brand that jumps to mind when the conversation turns to headwear and eyewear, but the high quality products they’ve developed deserve consideration and attention in helmet/goggle conversation.