Put your face between a pair: A comprehensive history of Pit Viper Sunglasses

Put your face between a pair: A comprehensive history of Pit Viper Sunglasses

Since the dawn of time, humans have been squinting at the sun, powerless against its harmful rays, wondering how to reduce its glare. According to the internet, the Roman emperor Nero in the 1st Century AD was the only mofo smart enough to protect his eyes from the sun during the entire development of the Western world. As it reads in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, Nero watched gladiator fights through polished emeralds to minimize glare from the sun. Other historical accounts note that Inuits used whale bones with slits cut in front of the eyes for the same purpose, but that’s beyond the point.

For hundreds of years, unless you held a position of political power, had immense riches or you were an unfortunate soul with “syphilis-induced light sensitivity”—gross!—you weren’t wearing sunglasses, nor were they really an option to wear at all. In the late 1920s, however, an inventor named Sam Foster popularized the first mass-marketed sunnies to beachgoers on boardwalks in New Jersey. Back then, the Jersey Shore was a lot classier and celebrities soon caught onto the trendy, functional look. In sum, the history of sunglasses is short and sweet, with only a few game-changing innovations over the course of thousands of years.

Today, there’s a growing fad in the world of sunglasses and eye protection stemming from a small but mighty headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Running a campaign in similar fashion to that of the Romans—eg. aiming for complete and utter world domination—former American Ski Actor turned briefcase-wielding salesman, Chuck Mumford, his business compatriot, Chris Garcin, and their crew at Pit Viper Sunglasses, are taking the realms of action sports and fashion by storm, offering military-grade eyeshades with extreme performance capabilities and neck-breaking style. Much like Nero and his emeralds, those who wear Pit Viper Sunglasses demand respect and authority in a way that cannot be described; it can only be experienced. 

Pit Viper Worldwide was founded in 2012 on the simple principle of making sunglasses that can take a beating. Back then, Mumford was using expensive, pretty-boy sunglasses that looked cool but were too fragile, and they broke on a day touring around the Tetons in Wyoming. Left without shades, Mumford found himself like the peasants and serfs of yore: blinded by the sun without a solution. Following this experience, in the spring of 2012, Mumford began developing Pit Viper Sunglasses as a rugged product that’s as eye-catching as the mountains themselves—shades that can stand up to bear attacks, gunshots, angry exes and everything in between. 

Mumford first approached FREESKIER about Pit Viper prior to its formal inception. Showing up to our offices—then based in Boulder, Colorado—sporting an oversized, three-piece business suit reminiscent of the one worn by a used car salesman with a lot down the block, Mumford, completely in character with his outfit, effectively pitched our staff on the awesomeness of Pit Viper and its necessity in the ski world. Needless to say, the FREESKIER team was on-board before Mumford could even finish his spiel.

Since these initial conversations, Pit Viper Worldwide has contracted action sports legend Travis Pastrana, social media mullet star Larry “The Enticer,” hip-hop enigma Riff Raff and other outrageous characters as its leading brand ambassadors. All the while, not taking business too seriously has afforded Mumford, Garcin and their crew unparalleled success in the eyewear biz, but it’s also allowed the culture of Pit Viper to grow into a true balls-to-the-wall, do whatever you want, “look at me” world of debauchery and good times. A good rule of thumb: If it’ll scare some kids or make you look outrageously cool, you should do it with Pit Vipers on your face. 

Diving into the tech-specs of Pit Vipers is extensive, as they have been developed to work seamlessly in nearly every situation imaginable, including but not limited to: childbirth, farming, skiing, ski touring, mountain biking, sheep shearing, partying, welding, fly fishing, visiting relatives you don’t see very often, sports, sports from other countries, sports you’re just learning the rules to, high-stakes Texas Hold ‘Em, mowing the lawn and throwing paper airplanes. The FREESKIER team has successfully worn Pit Vipers while participating in a majority of the activities mentioned above, but we urge you to see how many different excuses you can conjure up to wear your very own pair of Vipes.

Regarding the sunglasses, the original Pit Vipers have three adjustment points for the ultimate fit in any scenario. First, the patent-pending Turbo Adjustment angles the lenses toward or away from the user’s face to better protect from glare and wind. With the Turbo adjustment engaged, that beat up 2006 Honda Accord you’re driving might as well be a six-speed Ferrari with the top down.

Next, the Nose Bender adjustment helps keep those shades sitting snugly against your face no matter how large of a ‘schnoz you have. Just bend the rubberized nosepiece to match the contours of your nose, and behold, your PVs have just become the best thing ever to sit on your face. These shades aren’t going anywhere.

Lastly, the aptly named “E-Spot” lets you choose the length of the arms on your sunnies for an uncompromised fit that is sure to induce a climax of pleasure. Four adjustable length settings ensure they’ll sit just perfectly, hitting the E-Spot just right. Accompanied by interchangeable “reacharound” rubber arms extensions—ensuring hands-free pleasure—we can guarantee that your Pit Vipers won’t be falling off your face, even when you find yourself neck deep in fresh snow (or, preferably, at the bottom of a dogpile with a bunch of Instagram models).

With each of these adjustments made correctly, Pit Viper Sunglasses will keep your eyes protected from the sun’s harmful rays, while maintaining optimal peripheral vision and wind bucking ability. But beyond making the raddest sunglasses around, Pit Viper Worldwide exemplifies a lifestyle of doing what you want, when you want and how you want to do it. Whether that is pillaging fresh snow off the Wildcat Lift at Alta, taking classical guitar lessons, chugging beer with Australian rugby players or proposing to your longtime girlfriend at the ball game, whatever you’re doing, it’s always better with a pair of Pit Vipers on your face.


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