© Lily Camera
It seems like there’s a gadget for everything these days, and skiing is no exception. Whether it’s to improve your comfort on the slopes, monitor your performance, record yourself in action, or stay safe, there are endless gadgets to enhance your time on the slopes. Here’s our pick of the best…
Every Tom, Dick and Harry on the slopes has got a GoPro or other action camera these days, so why not go one better with your own personal drone? Rather than having endless head cam footage of the tips of your skis, or trying to look awesome whilst pointing an action cam mounted ski pole-come-selfie stick in your general direction, make like a pro and get a drone to film you from above.
There are a number of 'throw and go' style drones being developed for action sports that will actually follow you as you move. Some, such as Lily Cam (pictured below) have a built in camera, whereas other like Hexo+ are designed to carry your existing action cam. GoPro is currently working on its own drone, so before we know it, flying cameras could well be everywhere.
VTech Kidizoom Action Cam
If you don’t want to let the kids loose with your expensive GoPro, get them one of these action cams designed especially for youngsters. Aimed at kids aged from 5 to 12 years, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam takes high quality photos and video, and even has a time-lapse function for taking great action shots. It comes with mounts to fix it to a helmet, and a waterproof case so it can be used in all conditions.
It’ll also keep them occupied off the slopes with stacks of editing features, including cartoon images, distortion effects and a selection of background music, to allow them to create their own fun movies to show their friends. And, when they’re done creating their masterpiece, the camera also has three built in games to keep them entertained for even longer.
If you already have an iPhone and don’t want to splash out on a dedicated action camera for your one ski holiday of the year, get yourself a Hitcase, which transforms your iPhone into a wide-angle camera for taking great action shots and video. It may not be as dinky as a Go Pro but it shoots similar footage, for a fraction of the price.
The Hitcase Pro is a waterproof case that fits the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, SE, 6 and 6S, and can be fitted with a range of interchangeable lenses: wide, super wide and macro. The company also produces a range of mounts, similar to those available for the Go Pro, including a monopod and chest harness.
Hitcase Pro iPhone 6/6s
Whether it’s to check snow reports, find the whereabouts of your friends and family, or see how far you’ve skied, there’s a whole host of ski related apps that you can download to your smartphone. One of the most popular is Ski Tracks, which uses your phone’s GPS and other sensors to measure and record your skiing activity, including speed, distance travelled, duration, altitude, vertical metres and slope angle. It even plots the information on a map so you can view your day’s movements at a glance.
Another good one is SkiLynx, which allows you to stay connected with your friends and family on the slopes. It uses GPS to track your movements, as well as those of your friends, and allows you to keep in touch via its chat feature. Great for arranging a lunch rendezvous or keeping track of the kids!
For those who like to keep a close eye on their performance, what could be better than having stats on speed, distance, altitude and vertical drop displayed on the inside of your goggles? Oakley Airwave 1.5 (pictured below) and Smith I/O Recon goggles do just that, and more. Using GPS, Bluetooth and other sensors, this clever eyewear not only provides the protection and optimised vision that you’d expect from both brands, but also presents you with performance stats, maps, info on your friend’s movements, and incoming call and text alerts at a glance, as well as an easy means of controlling your music and GoPro. However, at around £400 a pair, just make sure you don’t leave them in the bar!
It’s not just goggles that have gone smart. There are also helmets around that do much more than just protect your head. Poc has teamed up with Beats by Dre to integrate their bestselling headphones into the earpieces of the Fornix helmet (pictured below). Using a remote, you can not only control your tunes, but also answer calls to your smartphone, all whilst cruising down the piste.
Heated gloves and insoles
Cold hands and feet can ruin your day on the slopes, but invest in some boot heaters or heated gloves and you’ll never have to suffer from numb and painful extremities again. Big bulky battery packs and limited battery life are a thing of the past. The next generation of boot heaters and heated gloves, like the range from Therm-ic (pictured below) have discrete rechargeable batteries that will keep you warm all day long. The only downside is that you’ll need to find another excuse for all those hot chocolate stops!
It’s all very well having all these fancy gadgets, but when you’re on the slopes, the last thing you want to do is remove your gloves to operate them. Tech friendly gloves have progressed far beyond fingertips that work on your phone’s touchscreen. Beartek Bluetooth Smart Snow Gloves (pictured below) allow you to wirelessly control your smartphone, MP3 player and Go Pro by touching your fingers together in certain ways. Don’t worry though, it is possible to lock them so that you’re not sending your gadgets into meltdown with every hand gesture!
If you’re going to invest in one ski gadget, make it a transceiver, especially if you ever venture remotely off piste. Worn strapped to the body, a transceiver transmits a signal that can be picked up by other transceivers to help find the wearers if they get buried by an avalanche. With avalanche risk having been high in recent years, resulting in a tragically high incidence of death and injuries, this gadget could actually save your life. Just make sure you learn how to use it properly, and remember to bring a shovel and probe as well.
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Posted on Friday 17 Jun 2016