As the world continues to advance technology, snow sport companies are not ones to be left behind and as such have produced a vast array of extraordinary gadgets and gizmos. Some may seem excessive but to the high tech ski gear head they are necessary to ensure as fun and comfortable a holiday as possible. Here area few of our favourites this season.
Ski Gadgets and Gizmos for 2016
From the top down…
Whilst it may not sound too interesting there have been great advances in helmet technology. With the current trend in skiers adopting helmets as the norm the Smith Vantage helmet has utilised a lightweight eco-friendly polymer to provide their equipment with great protective capabilities whilst remaining lightweight.
Helmets have also started to incorporate speakers into the earmuffs to sync with your smartphone; Beats and POC Fornix communications are state of the art models of this.
From helmets to goggles, there is some pretty damn awesome technology incorporated into goggles now. Smith and Oakley lead the field with their own version of the Google Glasses: Oakley Airwave and Smith Recon. They integrate GPS and bluetooth technology to give a real time display at the bottom of the lens of speed, location, vertical feet covered, buddy tracking, performance stats, time spent aerial and much more. The bluetooth capability allows synchronisation with smartphones, and hence text messages, caller ID and music can all be toggled with this. Pretty swanky for just $650. Excessive? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.
Slightly less exciting but still phenomenal technologically is the new Abom goggles that utilise a invisible heat conductive film that with the simple touch of a button warm up to prevent/remove any fogging up. It has a rechargeable long life battery that is great for removing that constant goggle wiping and ensure top visibility always.
Surprising, gloves are high tech as well
Gloves are an unexpected area full of revolutionary, comfort friendly technology. From simply including heat pads within the glove framework to being able to control your smartphone with a tap of the finger, gloves are getting brushed with the technology wave.
The most impressive are the BearTek bluetooth gloves. The index finger is a touch sensor and can alter music (Spotify or iTunes), take calls and even control a GoPro. All this for a bargain price of $175. And don’t worry they do lock automatically do you wont drive yourself mad by accidently pausing/changing tracks.
If you didn’t get it on film, it didn’t happen
Mentioning GoPro no extreme adventure is complete without fully documenting it on film then putting it to a banging soundtrack. GoPro are the most famous with their two new models, Hero4 Session and Hero4 Silver. The Session is small, lightweight with immense ease of control. The Silver is more recognisable, with a touchscreen and ability to trim videos on the go, whilst retaining high image quality. These go hand in hand with the smartphone app. This uses a localised Wi-Fi signal from the camera to remotely take photos, review footage and turn the camera off/on.
As an alternative the Sony Action Cam Mini is a cheaper, lighter version that still offers high quality video along with many accessory options and great image stabilisation.
Still a much cheaper option Hitcase, is a convenient possibility. It turns an iPhone into wide-angle camera, great for shooting those action shots. It is a waterproof chest case that is also GoPro mount compatible.
All are great for capturing that awesome line, gnarly trick or great carving piste.
There’s an app for that…
You can’t do anything in the world nowadays without someone making an app for that. Skiing is no different. The world of skiing is full of useful and not so useful apps. A couple of the best are mentioned in the following section.
- Ski Tracks – A very popular one that is widely used is ski tracks. Using just the GPS signal off your smart phone it can collate a vast array of data to compare at the end of each day. Distance covered, number of runs, average speed and more, for an extremely reasonable £0.69.. A useful app for those interested in logging every aspect of their skiing, though the only danger is when people try and outdo each other by attempting to reach a ridiculous max speed.
- Trace Snow – However if that 0.69 is too much, Trace Snow is a free version that logs the above data. It evens maps jumps and airtime and calories burnt. After a hard day on the slopes the info and route is all neatly mapped out for you.
- SNOWCRU – A way to combine this data with a competitive edge is with SNOWCRU. It allows communication between you and your fellow boarders/skiers and direct comparison of runs done, speed and vertical angle. All this can then be uploaded to social media if you choose to give your friends stuck at work a little ski envy. All these features and it is a free download, pretty good.
- Skilynx – If you have that one friend who no matter how hard you tell him your route, he just doesn’t listen and still gets lost then Skilynx is a great app. It gives real time locations of your friends on the slopes and how far down said slope they are. It is also fantastic for meeting up with friends on the mountain.
- Onthesnow – For weather reports one of the best out there is Onthesnow ski and snow report. It is the most downloaded ski related app out there, as it does what it promises. Gives a 5 day forecast for over 2000 ski resorts, live webcams and a powder alert when your favourite spot gets a good dump. Pretty handy.
- Avanet – For the more adventurous Avanet is a great app to ensure safe backcountry riding. It crowd-sources, using data submitted from other users to pinpoint dangerous snow conditions and hazards for the seasoned off piste skier/boarder. It is useful for planning routes and helping out your fellow riders.
All these apps and gear help enhance your skiing experience and comfort for the week, but don’t doing anything foolish or rely and them to keep you safe, make sure that that is all you.
What will they come up with next? We have no idea. Have you tried any of this gear or use any of these apps? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And at the end of the day, all of the best high tech ski gear in the world will not make you an amazing skier. That’s what lessons are for.