It seems every other picture of the World Cup shows a racer wearing a pair of Casco Nordic Shields. I've been wearing a pair for the past three seasons and have loved them: they protect the face and never, ever fog.
But with great snow in Europe and the US this season, the Casco's have completely sold out worldwide.
So what do you do if you need something more skier-friendly than typical sport shades? An alternative to the Casco line is Salice's Nordic Shield. I've had an opportunity to train and race in a pair for the past three weeks and wanted to write a review for those who can't get a pair of Casco's.
What I found is that the Salice Shield provides excellent protection and anti-fog capabilities at a great value price. In addition, the Salice Shields fit over glasses - something you can't do with the Casco.
In the package
The Salice Nordic Shield comes with a single lens (amber or dark tint), a protective bag, and an instruction sheet. The instruction sheet says the same thing in 26 languages and are pretty much the same instructions that come with Casco's:
Unique with the Salice Nordic Shield is that you can wear then over glasses. I sent hours do easy skiing while wearing glasses: the large lens kept light from peeking over the top of my glasses and were clearly superior to the clip-on lens I use while driving.
Air circulation around the lens - a necessity to prevent fogging - is excellent. While doing long slow distance workouts in temperatures ranging from the low single digits up to around 20F, I had no fogging issues with the Salice shields or my glasses. I also did one interval session at around 18 degrees with the same result - no fogging.
I assumed the Salice Nordic Shield would not fog, but I was somewhat surprised that my glasses did not fog either. If you buy a pair, I would experiment with skiing at high effort before heading into a race just to be extra sure glasses won't be a problem.
The reason glasses fit under the Salice Nordic Shields is because the wide and comfortable brim pad supports a piece of plastic that juts forward over the eyes, putting the lens well forward:
The strap is wide, easily adjustable, and comfortable.
At race time, I'm not going to trust any glasses: it was on with contact lens. I skied to two races where the temperatures were from the mid-to-high teens and the low-to-mid 30's with no fogging of the lens.
Visibility through the lens is excellent, including peripheral vision. Probably the best thing I can say is that you forget you're even wearing them.
The lens on the Salice Nordic Shield pivots up. I found three instances when this is useful:
The first actually occurred to me. I was out for a three hour ski and was 30 minutes from my car and it was almost dark. I simply flipped them up to see better - and immediately wished I could leave them down. I hadn't realized how cold the air was until it hit my now exposed facial skin. Definitely a testament to the Salice Nordic Shield's wind protection.
Whistle while you ski
One unusual occurrence happened several times while I was in a tuck heading quickly down a hill: I could hear a quiet whistling noise coming from the Shields! It sound very like the noise made by the side mirror of older, less aerodynamic cars.
This happened maybe three or four times in 15 hours of skiing.
Comparing Salice to Casco
Here's what I found to be the major similarities and differences between the Salice and Casco Nordic Shields:
|Salice Nordic Shield||Casco Nordic Shield|
|Lens:||One lens. You can order amber or dark tint||Three lens: dark, amber, and clear|
|Flip up lens:||Yes||Yes|
|Fits over glasses:||Yes||No|
|Shield protection:||Comes with soft storage bag||Comes with hard storage case to Shield and extra lens.|
|Lens material:||Stiffer||Softer, more flexible|
Clearly, if you want to use a Nordic Shield over glasses or if you're on a budget, the Salice Nordic Shield is the way to go. If you need changeable lens, stick with the Casco.
In either case, both products come highly recommended.
Both products are sold by Chi-Town Sports.