Gear Talk: Not A Tear Was Shed

Putting Vuarnet ICE sunglasses to the test on the Cascade’s second tallest peak, Mt. Shasta.

Born in the French Alps in the late 1950s, Vuarnet has been fashionably thrust into the mainstream in recent years thanks to some high-profile figures you might have heard of—think Miles Davis, “The Dude” Jeff Bridges, Jake Gyllenhaal, and most recently, Daniel Craig as the legendary “James Bond”. Over the years, they've stayed true to their roots with eyewear “at the pinnacle of sport and style.” With this mantra in mind, I figured there’s no better place to put their new ICE style to the test than on a ski descent of the second tallest peak in the Cascade Range, Mt. Shasta.

The Vuarnet ICE retails for $340. 

The journey up Shasta’s south face, Avalanche Gulch, took me through seven-plus miles of extreme sun over the course of 7,200 vertical feet. Like a modern glacial goggle, the removable shades on the sides and across the bridge of the ICE proved invaluable for protecting my eyes from refracted radiation. The polarized, Grey Polar lenses assassinated glare and kept my eyes alert during the day’s solar onslaught. A popular critique of skiing in sunglasses is that they can’t stand up against the wind generated during speedy descents, but thanks to these babies’ near-complete facial coverage, not a tear was shed during the 4,000 ft corn harvest down the peak’s steep and less traveled west face.


I rocked these shades the entirety of our 8-hour, 15-mile journey – only taking them off to lather on sunscreen—and have never been more optically impressed. As we returned to our trucks, although my feet ached, legs began to whine, and skin felt abused, my eyes were alert and as fresh as ever. Vuarnet is known for their exceptional-quality mineral lenses and overall attention to detail. The ICE is no exception. Not only would I 10/10 rely on these during my next demanding ski mission, I can be sure to rely on these glasses to keep me looking 007-ready during my more stylized, urban pursuits.


The author makes a turn near the top of Mt. Shasta's West Face. Photo: Maddie Crowell. 



Nat Houston is an outdoor loving, maple syrup slurping, East Coast native who grew up skiing at Bromley Mountain just outside his hometown of Landgrove, Vermont. After graduating from University of Colorado in 2014, he stuck around Boulder for business and pleasure, working for companies like Freeskier Magazine and Dynafit, but mostly skiing and climbing in the vast mountains of the American West. Today, he lives in Berkeley, CA so he can explore the mountains of California and the Pacific Northwest, sample the local taco offerings, and write gear reviews for Warren Miller Entertainment.