Being a Colorado family, my husband and I are trying to be good sports regarding winter with our kids. This includes exposing them to skiing. Our youngest daughter, Gabby wears glasses. Last season we really didn't know what to do when it came to skiing. If you think goggles over glasses seems like a bad idea, it is. Prescription goggles just sounded really...PRICEY and we weren't sure how they'd work on such a small face.
And since she initially got glasses towards the end of last season, we just decided to procrastinate on making any decision and...let her ski practically blind. This sounds awful. I know. Moreover, I felt her pain. Both my husband and I got Lasik about 10 years ago because we were tired of the hassle when doing anything athletically. Contacts, glasses, bulky, ill-fitting prescription sunglasses, etc. It was a mess. Often times I'd just opt to go somewhat blind rather than deal with the hassle. Sound familiar?
Enter Sports Optical. Kris had met Kyle from Sports Optical at Interbike last year. Kris passed on his contact info. I looked them up to find that they are an independent, Veteran-owned optical boutique in the Highlands. They specialize in custom, handcrafted sport lenses; cycling, skiing, and a whole host of other sporty things. When I called to see if they worked with kids, Kyle assured me that they did. He asked about Gabby's "current set-up".
"Well, she pretty much just takes her glasses off and skis with her goggles," I whispered ashamedly.
"Mmm-hmmm. Does she at least wear a helmet when she skis? Do you give her a coat to wear?", he jokingly asked. We bonded instantly.
We set up a casual appointment and a week later we were headed to the Highlands with Gabby's prescription from our optometrist, her ski-helmet and current goggles (which were juuuuuust about too small for her big-girl face). The beautiful little shop is easy to get to, easy to park at and upon glancing out the side window, it's clear that everyone who works at Sports Optical commutes to work by bike. All of which made me smile.
Kyle greeted us and led us through the surprisingly simple process. As a parent, you can tell very quickly if someone is adept at working with kids or not. Sports Optical was fantastic. We picked out a new pair of goggles and then Kyle carefully marked where the prescription inset would go. We picked a great time to go. It just so happened that they could do Gabby's goggles on the spot right then and there. We just walked down the street to Tenn Street Coffee and Books, and came back to her finished goggles 20 minutes later. IMPRESSIVE. Plus, it wasn't outrageously pricey like I feared. It helps that prescription purchases through Sports Optical (including goggles) are valid with Flex Spending or Health Savings Accounts.
While they make their goggle insert lenses with the help of a machine, their sport lenses are fully-custom and literally handcrafted, with elbow grease. I got to venture into the back and meet the owner, Bret Hunter* to see where the magic happens. Their prescription lenses involve proprietary optical adjustments and formulas and are unique to any other lenses in the world. The usual wait time on prescription lenses is usually around 7-10 days at the most. If you need them to put a rush on it for a special event/race/situation, they can usually accommodate.
Everyone at Sports Optical was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. While Gabby and I were there a random guy visiting CO from Chicago came in. His wife was at the consignment store next door and he figured he'd come in to buy some new nose pieces. Not only did they warmly greet him, but they also helped him out free of charge and gave him suggestions for a better set-up for when he skis and bikes back home. And not in a freaky sales sort of way. Just making conversation and being nice.
The moral of this story? Stop biking and skiing blind. There is simply no excuse. Give Sports Optical a call or stop in. You'll walk out seeing clearly and you'll be ready to tear it up on the bike or in the snow (or perhaps both, if you're into that sort of thing...fat-bikers).
*Sports Optical founder/owner, Bret Hunter is a cyclist and a former racer of bikes in various forms. He now spends more time racing cars, though he remains active in the Colorado cycling community. He lives in Conifer and has three children.