Julbo may not be a name you are too familiar with and I must admit I had not heard of the brand, but having used a couple of their goggles for some time now I strongly recommend you check them out.
Founded in France they have been producing eyewear for mountaineering and other outdoor activities since 1988.
The Welcome goggle I would be testing, is a collaboration between pro skiers Sam Favret and Enak Gavaggio and is one of Julbo's top end goggles.
It features Julbo's XL frame and the Snow Tiger spherical lens, a lens which is both polarized and photocromic.
Looking at the google they do not have a huge size and certainly don't look overly big on the head but the minimal frame and the positioning of the lens close to the face give one of the best field of visions I have ever had from a goggle.
One of the ways the goggles give such a good field of vision is by offering an excellent fit to the face. Unlike most brands which use a polycarbonate lens, Julbo choose to use a NXT material instead. The NXT used allows the lens to be slightly more flexible which means that the goggle can conform and fit to the face very well. It also offers a very comfortable fit as they conform really well to the shape of the face.
The foam used on the inside has a nice almost fleece feel and gives a great seal to the face helping prevent fogging and also gives an extremely comfortable fit without becoming overly warm
As I mentioned before the lens has some pretty interesting features. Look wise the Snow Tiger Lens is similar to the Fire Iridium from Oakley but it does give a pretty different vision.
Being polarized, any wet or shiny surface, ice for example, is given an almost metallic look. At first I found this a little unusual but after a few runs I was really liking the unique look the lens offered.
Possibly more important then being polarized the Snow Tiger is also a photocromic lens. If you do not know what this means, it is basically a lens which can get lighter and darker depending on weather conditions.
This lens claims to be able to darken from a Category 2 condition (overcast conditions) to Cat 3 (fairly bright). In practice I did find that the lens was very usable from bright sun to overcast conditions. I never really noticed it changing which I take as a good thing, but I did always seem to have a fairly optimal vision.
Even in very overcast conditions, where traditionally a fully mirrored lens would struggle the Snow tiger still offered good definition.
The anti fogging has won a number of awards and I can say I never had any fogging issues at all. I also like that unlike some brands the anti fogging is not just applied to the inner lens. This method can cause problems when snow gets on the inner lens. If you wipe the lens when wet you can permanently damage the anti fogging possibly resulting in you needing a new lens.
I had one particularly big fall while using these goggles and completely filled the goggle with snow. I had to scrape the snow out and wipe the lens out to be able to continue and I did worry I may damage the lens. Luckily they were absolutely fine and the anti fogging is just as good.
I really like the idea of these photocromic lenses as they can effectively remove the need to change lenses as conditions change.
Julbo offer 4 different lenses which may not sound a lot but shows in my opinion just how versatile the lenses are.
Overall I have become a huge fan of the Welcome goggle from Julbo. I really like the style, the fit is excellent as is the field of view and lens really does offer a great amount of versatility.
Julbo have got quite a few new goggles coming next season including a really interesting Touring Goggle called the Areospace. The Areospace features a lens which can be pulled forward to help keep you cool on the uphills. I am currently testing the Areospace so look out for a full review soon but I strongly urge you to check out Julbo, you will not be disappointed.