Ski-goggle guru "Bob" Smith developed a type that didn’t fog up

KETCHUM, idaho — Robert Earl “Bob” Smith, 78, an orthodontist whose passion for skiing deep powder snow helped turn him into a goggle and sunglasses pioneer, has died of complications related to heart surgery. Smith’s family confirmed his April 18 death in California.

Born in San Carlos, Calif., Smith went on to graduate from Stanford University and the San Francisco College of Dentistry.

He served as a dentist in the U.S. Army in Germany in the late 1950s. While there, he traveled to Kitzbuehel ski area every weekend.

After enduring frustrating goggle-fogging experiences while skiing in Utah, Smith in the 1960s began developing prototypes for an advanced pair of goggles to solve the problem. Smith sat at the kitchen table with his wife, Jean, using dental tools and foam to create a double-lensed, vented ski goggle whose inner lens was protected from the cold.

“The goggle really just came out of his need to see while skiing deep powder,” his son Drew Smith told the Idaho Mountain Express. “Everyone else just got to benefit from it.”

He patented his invention, which is now considered the industry standard.

Smith founded Smith Sport Optics in 1965 and established its headquarters in Ketchum, Idaho, in the early 1970s. Before he struck a deal to manufacture Smith goggles, however, he often would trade his goggles for lift tickets.

He sold the company in 1991. The Associated Press

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