10 New Ski Tech Ideas For 2020
Every winter a remarkable new set of ideas are announced, all aimed at making our ski holidays that little bit easier and better in one way or another. Some of them will soon become “must haves” that we can’t imagine how we did without them in the past. Here are some of the best new ideas for winter 2020.
The North Face are promising a complete revolution in ski wear with the grand unveiling of their FUTURELIGHT material for their ski gear - and potentially a lot of other gear too. What's different to all the other "light and breathable" claims all manufacturers make? Well most manufacturers are tied to the same ingredients like GoreTex, but The North Face have created their own material from scratch and say the secret is programmable "nanospinning" the fabric so it can be made lighter, more or less waterproof and more of less breathable according to a particular garment's needs. The most immediately obvious difference to ski jackets to date though is they not longer need to be hard and crispy to repel water, they can now feel like a soft shell, which is quite something.
Who needs a ski instructor when you have Carv, the 'digital ski instructor' that got a lot of positive press at its launch earlier this tear and seems to be still getting five star reviews from Amazon users, where you can buy the system for about £230. How does it work? Well you put the 'ultra thin' Carv footpads inside your ski boots, connect that to a tracker on the back of your boots and the tech uses dozens of pressure points to precisely track how you're skiing. It then tells you via Bluetooth how well you're skiing and gives you tips on how to do better. Developed alongside professional ski instructors and Olympians the consensus is it really works.
One common problem many of us find when we're out on the slopes is sudden battery drain from our phones. It's such aa common problem that Helly Hansen have created a special 'Life Pocket' in some of their jackets designed to keep your phone dry, warm and thus fully charged. The pocket is made of "thermal resistant" material and a special aerogel developed by Nasa, no less, to keep the pocket twice as warm as a, well a normal pocket.
Garmin fēnix 6X – Pro Solar Edition
Garmin’s wrist-top computers (or ‘watches’ as they call them) have continued to evolve year on year and along with having pre-loaded ski maps for more than 2,000 resorts around the world, this latest model features a 1.4" Power Glass™ lens which uses sunlight to extend the battery life for off-grid adventures. In any case smart power management means the watch can go a week without needing a charge. All your ski activities are tracked of course and it goes without saying your pulse and heartbeart are too. You can also sync your favourite streaming services and listen to music without needing your phone.
Airbrake® XL Snow Goggle
Interchangable lenses have become a standard feature on many top-end goggles but Oakley reckon their Switchlock® lens change technology is the best of the batch, with easy lens changing in all conditions and a secure hold once the new lens is in place. The lenses themselves are special too incorporating the company’s trademarked Prizm™ optics built on decades of colour science research. Prizm™ lenses provide unprecedented control of light transmission resulting in colours precisely tuned to maximize contrast and enhance visibility – always handy on the slopes.
Super Skull Spin
Ever considered spending more than £700 on a helmet? Probably not but this new model from POC is at least worthy of gawping at in awe, even if you eventually opt for one of their still very cool but much cheaper models. Super lightweight, FIS approved and designed specifically for elite-level racers (ah…) the helmet provides head protection at a weight previously unimaginable thanks to a carbon fibre shell. Integrated in the helmet is POC's patent pending silicone pad technology system, SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside) which uses innovative materials and design to complement POCs whole helmet approach to deliver superior levels of comfort, fit and performance.
Wiley X XL-1 Advanced Sunglasses
If you like to wear sunglasses rather than goggles but know they’re not ideal when the snow starts falling, or in a lot of other conditions other than, well, sun, then ‘advanced’ sunglasses designed for snowsport could be for you. This model, which the makers claim are the preferred choice of military and law enforcement personnel worldwide, feature a facial cavity seal – essentially a removable foam surround that gives you complete physical eye protection in all conditions and delivers distortion-free views you can depend on when it matters most.
Savior Heated Gloves
Heated gloves are one of those things which sound great but (if you study the user reviews) often fail to live up to expectations. There's a big range available now from £350 cheap and cheerful to nearly £500 pairs which can apparently sense how hot your hands are and make micro temperature adjustments to make sure you're perfectly comfortable. They still only get three stars on Amazon though. Savior seem to take a successful middle ground, costing around £100 and making it to 4 stars overall with two thirds giving them top marks. They have rechargeable li-ion batteries, a power left gauge so you can see how long you're going to stay warm and as a bonus are touchscreen friendly so you can tap an app without needing to take them off.
Some ski and boot manufacturers have cottoned on that whilst lots of start ups are clipping sensors to peoples skis and boots to analyse performance, they could actually just build the tech in to the boot themselves. Step forward the Hawx Ultra Connected boot, soon to be released (we’re told) by Atomic. Developed in conjunction with biomechanics experts from Salzburg University and Salzburg Research, the boot will deliver state-of-the-art digital tracking and analysis capabilities through Atomic's free mobile Connected App for instant on-slope feedback and an enhanced skiing experience, they say.
RPG In&motion Airbag Vest
It’s only recently that Alpine racers have begun wearing airbags but the technology is now available to anyone else who wants it, for around 1,000 Euros. Rossignol have worked with INEMotion on the FIS approved vest designed to protection your abdomen, thorax, spine, neck and hips. The vest, which weighs in at 1.7kg, is worn under your ski suit, has breathable stretch fabrics and integrated certified back protector and is available in sizes from small to XL. Like all airbag technology it has a totally autonomous system which analyses your movements in real time and inflates if it detects a major fall.