Long gone are the days of strapping on the wooden skis, grabbing your favorite winter sweater, and hitting the slopes until your fingers go numb. The winter sports market is becoming more and more inundated with high-tech gear, fancy gadgets, engineered garments, and evolving technology to make our sweet powder curves easier and more efficient. Some may argue that fancy gear takes some magic away from the moments of complete solitude sought through various alpine challenges. We politely disagree.
We embrace the best of these evolving technologies as a way to keep the snowball rolling, making the sport of skiing both more accessible for those starting, and more advanceable for the brave pioneers. When used appropriately as a tool, hi-tech gear can help skiers make the most of their experiences, and promote safety, education, and sustainability throughout the industry.
In this article, we cover some of the best hi-tech ski gear and gadgets that will take your skill and comfort on the slopes to the next level.
Renoun Skis: VibeStop™ Technology
Before touching on clever accessories and fancy gadgets that may enhance your ski experience, it’s worth taking some time to point out the advances the industry has made in ski design and engineering. Through ever-evolving blueprints and countless trials (and errors), Renoun has stumbled upon VibeStop™ technology, an anti-vibration hyper damping technology (HDT) recognized worldwide as one of the most efficient gear stabilizing technologies on the market.
How does it work?
VibeStop™ is a non-newtonian polymer, meaning the state of the substance (hard, soft, medium) depends on the amount of activity it is exposed to. Skiers want versatile gear that can perform exceptionally in all scenarios, and VibeStop™ provides the best option. The faster you ski, the more this design will actively dampen the vibrations and reduce the chatter. The design combines comfort and precision with versatility and usability.
Renoun was recently named as one of the most Amazing Startups in Burlington Vermont and they are making their mark on the ski industry world-wide.
KJUS Hydro_Bot Ski Jacket
In 2018, Swiss sports apparel company KJUS announced its new Hydro_Bot ski jacket, the “world’s first wearable technology ski jacket that allows you to control your sweat at the touch of a button.” Read that again.
Using a clever combination of electrical pulses triggering electro-osmosis delivered through a mobile app, skiers can wick moisture away from their bodies and maintain optimal comfort. These ski jackets employ a breathable multi-pore membrane made from conductive fabric. When electrical pulses are delivered to this membrane, body sweat is pumped to the outside of the ski jacket, a process called electro-osmosis. The gear is user regulated through a Bluetooth-enabled mobile app.
The KJUS Hydro_Bot was designed to enhance skiers’ performance and comfort in varying environments and is the best wicking technology of its kind that can match human sweat rates.
CARV: Your Digital Ski Coach
It now seems you take AI with you to the hills. CARV is the first digital ski program designed to act as a virtual coach and technique analyzer. With this hi-tech gear, users can get real-time insights such as rotation, compression, and turn comparisons on each run, and have a digital coach in their ear, advising them how to improve.
The compact tracker device simply attaches to the front or side of your boot, and the “smart insert” pads are placed inside in a similar fashion to foot warmers. The CARV system is compatible with all ski boots, is lightweight and waterproof, and has a new 3-day battery life using low energy Bluetooth tech.
Not only has CARV’s virtual coaching gear been praised for its effectiveness and relatively low cost, but the company is on a mission to continually evolve the product to cater to new demands. In the 2018/2019 update, features such as smaller design and personalized drills have answered the call of avid fans.
Garmin Fenix 6 Series
The multisport Garmin watches just keep getting better and better. Building on the Fenix 5X technology, the Fenix 6 series keeps the best features of the older models and sprinkles on some ski-specific toppings.
The Fenix 6 is a versatile watch that tracks everything from body health (heart rate, O2 saturation, and respiration rate) to environmental data such as barometric altitude, GPS location, and speed analysis. When adding to your ski gear collection, this product will track your run’s speed, distance, and vertical drop, and will know when you have paused for a rest or jumped on a lift.
In addition to the core features that make this product top of its class, the Fenix 6 now offers 2000+ ski resort maps pre-downloaded on the device, giving you accurate information on the difficulty and designation of ski runs.
Phoozy Thermal Cases
It is safe to assume that it remains almost unavoidable to have a smart device accompany us on our winter field excursions. Our phones are now tools for analyzing our technique, tracking our progress, and acting as emergency devices should the need arise. As most smartphones were not designed for the variable environments of a ski hill, being prepared with protective thermal gear for your devices is a necessary measure.
Phoozy provides high-quality thermal casings for smart devices in all environments. They arguably offer the best gear for device protection on the slopes. The flagship Apollo Series uses a Chromium Thermal Barrier™, a technology created with similar materials to those found in a NASA spacesuit. The outer layers reflect heat while the inner layers insulate it, keeping your phone at an optimal temperature and preserving much-needed battery life.
Mammut Avalanche Airbag 3.0
We feel it’s appropriate to end our high-tech gear review with some high-tech safety. As once spacious ski hills now gain in popularity, there is a natural pull for eager skiers to move off-piste, seeking lonesome powdery pastures to graze. The Mammut Avalanche Airbag 3.0 line allows skiers to explore the mountain with confidence and added protection from the elements. In case of an emergency, this high-tech safety product can save your life by creating space to maneuver if caught or buried in an avalanche.
The Avalanche Airbag 3.0 series has various designs based on needs, from lightweight touring airbags to all-around trauma protection. The airbag itself takes up a mere 2L of the backpacks 22L capacity, leaving lots of room for all your other gear and gadgets.
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Cam Hookey grew up in the mountains of Canada and is an avid skier, snowboarder, and adventure sport enthusiast. He’s a ski instructor, SCUBA instructor, freediving instructor, and certified outdoor guide. When he is not enjoying the crisp mountain air or the salty ocean breeze, he is writing about it.