There won’t be too many products in the Whitelines Buyer’s Guide that pique the interests of skiers, but a GPS smartwatch might do the trick. Now, we’re not here to knock down the classic Casio F-91W, it’s as old and reliable as father time itself. But for backcountry enthusiasts (or even just the fitness junkies who want to track their data in the mountains as well as the gym), a GPS wearable is a very worthwhile bit of kit to consider for the season ahead.
At the most rudimentary level, nobody should be venturing out of the resort without keeping track of how much time is left before the heli-pickup, last chair or even the sunset.
“For backcountry enthusiasts, a GPS wearable is a very worthwhile bit of kit to consider for the season ahead”
On a more analytical level, monitoring your active heart rate, step count, or total vertical metres climbed can help you pace yourself in the backcountry more effectively and avoid the sweaty transitions at the top of the skin track or burning out long before you even get there.
Lastly, but undoubtedly one of the most valuable features of a GPS watch, is the accurate information they provide to your whereabouts. Having a device that helps you to accurately follow a pre-planned route, retrace your steps or – in the worst-case scenario – provides an accurate location of your whereabouts should you need to call for help makes it an accessory with the potential to save lives in the mountains.
Then, of course, there are all the convenient (if not entirely essential) features. These include the likes of on-screen phone notifications, contactless payments, built-in storage for music. And let’s not forget synching your latest tour or workout straight onto Strava for the hollow glory of some Kudos in exchange for the lung-busting, sunrise slog on the local skin track before breakfast. Totally worth it, right?!
“Having a device that helps… provide an accurate location of your whereabouts should you need to call for help is something that has the potential to save lives in the mountains”
In all seriousness, we’re not here to suggest that a smartwatch belongs among the throngs essential backcountry equipment, such as a transceiver, probe, shovel and appropriate hardware and apparel. They’re arguably pretty niche products among the wider snowboard community.
However, for those who like to keep track of useful data, or want the safety net and reassurance of a device that keeps them on track when out in the backcountry, a smartwatch could be a pretty wise purchase for this season.