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The new ski goggles taking the Winter Olympics by storm

Cat Weakley
Never mind the Olympic gold medal Chloe - what are those cool goggles you're wearing? - This content is subject to copyright.

From teenage snowboarding sensations Red Gerard and Chloe Kim, to speed demon skiers extraordinaire Aksel Lund Svindal and Mikaela Shiffrin, the gold-medal winning feats of the Winter Olympic athletes in South Korea are keeping us on the edge of our seat.

But as well as gold medals, these heroic skiers and snowboarders have another thing in common - seriously eye-catching eyewear.

With their bright-orange reflective lenses and distinctive half yellow, half orange frames, the Oakley goggles decorating the Olympians' faces as they compete and stand on the podium are almost as attention grabbing as their achievements.

Not only were American 17-year-olds Chloe Kim and Red Gerard flying the orange and yellow flag as they blew the opposition out of the water in women's snowboard halfpipe and men's slopestyle respectively, so was US teammate Jamie Anderson, 27, when she won the women’s snowboard slopestyle event.

Svindal won the first ever downhill gold for Norway, in the process becoming the oldest ever winner of the event at the grand age of 35. And, after missing out on an expected medal in the slalom, 22-year-old Shriffin won gold for giant slalom.

The best ski goggles for 2018

So what are these goggles? Part of a limited-edition collection by Oakley called Harmony Fade that also includes sunglasses, they were designed especially for the American-based company’s sponsored athletes to wear at the Winter Games.

Rousingly, Oakley says: “The collection features orange to represent the fire that burns inside each and every competitor, and yellow for the sun that lights the path of athletes brave enough to pursue their dreams.” The models the Olympians are wearing have just been released for the skiing and snowboarding public to buy, and Oakley has successfully stirred up a buying frenzy - the Line Miner model worn by Kim and Gerard is already sold out online.

Mikaela Shriffin flying the yellow/orange Oakley flag on her way to giant slalom gold Credit: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

But there’s more to Harmony Fade than the cool orange and yellow colour-scheme. As every skier and snowboarder knows, being able to see what’s coming can make all the difference to slope enjoyment – and it also comes in handy for competitors dealing with terrrain park features and race gates at speed. Lenses that can cope whether contours are bathed in shadow or bright sunlight, and are equally high-performing on sunny or snowy days, are the holy grail of ski goggles.

Winning team | Oakley's medal tally so far

Oakley’s orange/yellow Prizm Torch lens is the engine-room of Harmony Fade, and inspired the frame colours. It has contrast-enhancing technology that helps lumps and bumps in the snow stand out much more clearly than they could to the naked eye; it also means less need to change lenses as weather changes. Contrast-enhancement is a growing trend in ski goggles, and Oakley was one of the first to embrace it.

Line Miner - the most wanted goggles in the Harmony Fade collection Credit: CRAIG SARUWATARI

Prizm is available in different versions across the Oakley range. The Torch version best suits bright conditions; some Harmony Fade goggles come with an additional spare lens.

The collection consists of five Oakley goggle styles, and five sunglasses. Flight Deck goggles - in two sizes for £185 and worn by Shiffrin in the smaller XM size - and Canopy, £170, worn by Svindal, have a distinctively bulbous spherical lens. This type of lens follows the curve of the eye and tends to give a more realistic view of the slope than a flat, so-called cylindrical lens.

The medal-winning snowboarders have generally opted for the more streamlined – and currently more fashionable -– look of Line Miner goggles (£145), which have a cylindrical lens and give wide peripheral vision. Line Miner also comes in two sizes. Mark McMorris of Canada, who claimed a bronze medal in snowboard slopestyle, bucks the trend with the extra large, spherical-lensed Airbrake XL (£225).

What to buy | The best ski and snowboard kit for 2018

Svindal and McMorris are not only non-Americans in on the Oakley act – Ayumu Hirano of Japan and Scotty James of Australia, who gave US rider Shaun White a run for his money in snowboard halfpipe claiming the silver and bronze respectively, are also wearing wearing Line Miners. Svindal's fellow Norwegian, Henrik Kristoffersen, wearing Flight Decks, won giant slalom silver, and Tina Weirather, skiing for Liechtenstein, won bronze in the super-giant slalom. She's down with the snowboarders, wearing Fall Line.

More medals could be on the cards for Oakley. Norwegian snowboarder Ståle Sandbech is wearing the framless Fall Line model (£180), which like the Line Miner has a cylindrical lens. Sandbech narrowly missed the podium of the slopestyle event, finishing fourth, but is a medal hopeful for the men’s big air this coming weekend.

The Harmony Fade collection is now available at oakley.com and in Oakley stores – bag it while you can.