Fresh powder, beautiful vistas, and REI winter sales mean one thing: ski season is upon us! When you are planning to visit Telluride, Park City, Whistler or Jackson Hole ski resorts this year, whether it’s your first time skiing or you’re a seasoned pro, you’re probably already browsing the sales and making your wish lists. And since you won’t find a ski gadget vendor walking among the skiers like a hot dog man at a baseball game, you had better plan ahead.
It’s quite the understatement to say that technology has changed skiing over the years. The early skiers were hunters and trappers in Scandinavia. Skis were made by woodcarvers. Metal didn’t come into the picture until the 1920s. Fiberglass, the main material in modern skis, was originally used for making skis in 1960s. Imagine going back to wooden skis today!
“Every season there seem to be more advancements in gear, from the shaping and makeup of the skis and boards themselves, to the release of new bindings and other products.” Time Magazine
While you’re not likely to ski in search of food, you’re wise to take stock of what’s available today in ski gear and gadgets. Usually gear refers to the protective equipment (or the skis and poles themselves), while gadgets refer to the techie items which most likely require a battery. Both categories are cool! And you’ll find they make a difference for your winter vacation on the slopes.
Before you buy, consider your purpose, and let that determine what you buy. Do you really need a GoPro Hero camera? Or do you just like to buy gadgets? If you’re not planning on filming yourself or others, skip the camera. Shiny things (like this new Suunto Spartan Ultra Titanium Watch) are attractive, but they’re not necessary for you to have the ultimate skiing experience this winter.
Protective Ski Gear
When you’re out there taking on the elements, you need protection. You’re not the abominable snowman. Here are some current offerings to keep you warm, dry, and less bruised.
Snow sports often mean you end up on your backside. Even the pros fall from time to time. Sweet Protection is here to help. Their Bearsuit Soft Back Protector helps cushion your fall. If you are a beginner, you might spend more time falling than you expect. It can’t hurt to have a little extra padding down there. The runs and bowls at Grand Targhee Resort will be a little more inviting with this Protector.
Goggles are the definition of cool. You’d probably wear them instead of sunglasses all the time if it was socially acceptable. The problem? Out on the slopes, they tend to fog up. Enter Abom anti-fog goggles. Designed to “keep your vision crystal clear” while tackling those black diamonds, Abom’s goggles feature Carl Zeiss lenses and KLAIR anti-fog technology. Just push the button on the side and you can activate the technology and expect clear goggles.
Some of us have colder hands than others. But when we’re braving the blizzards, we all have cold hands. These heated gloves might be a bit pricey, but your hands will thank you when you don’t visit the hospital for frostbite. These leather gloves include a built-in temperature controller. Give the button a push, and your extremities will feel the instant heat.
Only you can determine if you need a helmet for skiing. Snow sports demand warm clothing, so you’ll be wearing something on your head anyway. May as well protect it with a Giro Range MIPS helmet. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. It includes a venting system in case you get hot, and a mount for your camera.
Cool Ski Gadgets
You might consider buying some of these gadgets to impress others, but you’ll probably impress yourself just as much! They’re small, handy, and pack a punch.
Likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ski gadgets, the newest GoPro camera has voice control, a 2-inch touch display, a simple shutter button, and improvements in video stabilization. It’s waterproof, mountable, and works with your phone. It’s perfect for capturing all those jumps, flails, rolls, switchbacks, and stunts you’ll be performing this year.
The ultimate sports tracker, Trace claims to have 10x more accuracy than any smartphone GPS. It is the perfect companion to any GoPro camera. With its 9 sensors, it will track every move you make with precision. Great battery life and 100% waterproof mean you won’t be stuck in Park City Mountain Resort with a useless gadget.
Don’t underestimate how useful this little guy can be! Just because it doesn’t cost $500 doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. Just stick it in your pocket and whip it out anytime your hands need some warmth. The Zippo Hand Warmer comes in handy for any sport in cold weather. Extreme sports just became a little more manageable thanks to Zippo!
Another pocket item, the Celestron Elements Firecel gives you a portable power pack, a red and white LED flashlight, and a hand warmer all in one. The rechargeable lithium ion battery can charge most of your handheld electronics (smartphones, MP3 players, USB-powered cameras), even up to 2 full charges. Designed for rugged use, this gadget is a must-have for skiers and snowboarders who might be outside all day. You don’t want your camera to run out of juice!
Gear and gadgets make a difference, but the main thing is to get out there and conquer those pistes! Ski season, here we come!