The debut of the SPY Ace EC snow goggle with ONE Lens technology caught the attention of media and retail buyers alike when it made its public debut last week at the inaugural Outdoor Retailer + Snow in Denver. The Ace EC is the first snow goggle from SPY to leverage electrochromic technology through the new battery-powered ONE Lens, giving skiers and snowboarders the ability to rapidly change the tint of their goggle lens between three distinct tints with the press of a single button. SPY received one of only four Gear of the Show (link is external) awards from Outside Magazine, along with one of Gear Institute’s Winter 2018 Best New Gear Awards (link is external), the Show Stopper award from SKI (link is external), Gear Junkie’s Best In Show (link is external), and the Innovation Award from Digital Trends.
“SPY is known for innovation, but we were still humbled by the media and retail response we received during the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show. Energy in our booth was at an all-time high when the Gear Institute team dropped off our award early Thursday morning, but we never expected that SPY would receive four more awards during the show. The hard work our team put in before the show paid off and our booth was constantly packed with journalists and retail buyers looking to demo the new Ace EC goggle,” commented Charlie Ninegar, SPY VP of Wholesale.
Charlie continued, “When we brainstormed the development of the Ace EC goggle, we wanted to make sure that we could develop a high-tech goggle that not only included features that our customers will use, but that we could price it in such a way that is within reach compared to other premium products on the market. And with the Ace EC’s advanced electrochromic lens design, the ability to operate it without taking off your gloves or mittens, and a retail price point of $275, I think we nailed it.”
The Ace EC ONE Lens’ tint is controlled by a removable lightweight battery pack featuring a one-button design. One press of the button sends an electronic pulse through an invisible filament sandwiched between the dual lens to instantly change its tint. With three distinct settings, skiers and snowboarders can now change the tint of their lens, on the fly, while still keeping their gloves or mittens on.
The ONE Lens is powered by a lithium-ion battery, rechargeable via the same style of micro-USB connection many smartphones and other electronic devices use. The Ace EC’s ONE Lens can cycle through three levels of visible light transmission (VLT), ranging from the darkest setting for bluebird conditions to a very light persimmon tint suitable for flat light conditions. With an expected price of $275, the Ace EC is also less expensive than most goggles featuring integrated electronics.
“The Ace EC’s ONE Lens is a technology that anyone who skis or snowboards in variable conditions can get behind. The Ace EC takes the guessing game out of what lens someone should head to the lift with and eliminates the need for those who go all day to carry a spare lens with them for when conditions change. Whether you’re dipping into a shady section of the trees for a quick minute, or the weather goes from bleak to bluebird, the Ace EC has you covered,” commented Curtis Ellis, SPY Brand Director.
While lens tint systems have existed in snow goggles for decades, the Ace EC’s electrochromic ONE Lens has some distinct advantages compared to what has come before it. Photochromic lenses typically change tints at a slower rate than the ONE Lens’ electrochromic design, making them less than ideal for situations where a quick change is necessary. In addition, photochromic lenses do not allow the wearer to control the tint themselves, which can leave users stuck with a lens tint they don’t want at any given time. While battery-operated liquid crystal display (LCD) tint changing lenses were developed with a similar purpose in mind, cold can adversely affect this technology and liquid displays can show ripples or waves that may affect clarity. LCD technology can also be significantly more expensive than its electrochromic counterpart, putting it out of reach for many skiers and snowboarders.
Built using the existing Ace snow goggle chassis, the Ace EC comes standard with all of the existing features that make the original Ace goggle exceptional, including SPY’s proprietary Scoop® and RISE™ ventilation systems.
Expected details and features for the September 2018 launch of the Ace EC will include:
- Medium-large size, the same as the original Ace
- Three tint settings (dark persimmon, medium persimmon, light persimmon), appropriate for sunny, mixed and flat light conditions
- A transition time of 4-8 seconds depending on which level it is being switched to
- Weight of battery pack is 25 grams, comparable to the weight of an AA battery
- Injected cylindrical, 6-base curvature lens
- Features the same Quick Draw lens change system as the existing Ace snow goggle, which incorporates sliding levers that allow you release and reload the lens
- Flexible polyurethane frame
- Anti-fog and anti-scratch lens featuring 100% UV protection, along with SPY’s Scoop and RISE ventilation systems
- Triple-layer Isotron face foam featuring moisture-wicking Dri-Force™ fleece for all-day comfort
- Compatible with the most popular helmets on the planet
- Fully charged battery pack will last for more than 450 lens tint changes
- Battery pack designed for all-day comfort and a perfect fit, even with a helmet on, without uncomfortable warming that some battery-operated devices can cause when pressed to skin
- LED light on battery pack changes color, from green, to orange, to red, to indicate level of charge
- Built for excellent cold weather performance and tested to 5° Fahrenheit
- Charges via standard micro-USB cable (included) and can be charged from laptops, portable battery packs and car chargers. Battery charges in approximately 120 minutes, based on charger