Ski Gadgets of Winter 2014/15
With the Winter Season 14/15 well and truly laid to rest, Jonny, a returning Resort Representative from La Rosière, takes a look at some of the bits and pieces to come out of it.
You might wonder why this is a category of my ‘tech’ post, and not the matched ‘gear’ one. Well, purely, because these are the goggles with tech in them, rather than how pretty the lenses are. Aesthetics aren’t everything.
With the increase in cameras that are around for that awesome POV (Point-of-View) footage, (think Abe Kislevitz at GoPro), there is, naturally, a larger market for useful skiing tech involving said technology. If you’ve played POV video games, you’ll be familiar with the abbreviation ‘HUD’ (that’s heads-up display for everyone else). They’re now real, and implemented. You can, with the Oakley goggles for example, view your present speed, jump analytics, navigation & listen to music.
The argument could be made that wearable technology isn’t taking off – we all know what happened to Google Glass. You don’t know what it is? Exactly.
After plummeting off our radars, the Internet giant’s wearable-tech glasses have gone back to the drawing board. With fewer features being required (only Bluetooth, WiFi and a HD Camera), ski goggles have quickly adopted a homely place within the wearable-technology market. Here’s a few suggestions to look at when replacing your current goggles.
- Zeal Optics HD2 Camera Goggle – zealoptics.com
- Oakley Airwave 1.5 Goggle – oakley.com/en
- Liquid Image 339 Apex HD & WiFi Goggle – liquidimageco.com
Continuing the theme, here. POV camera shots are the all-important mission of the moment for anyone looking to record that epic moment of powder-surfing, first time on skis, the sick black run that you did etc. You get the idea. Take Abe Kislevitz’ photo on the left for example, “Superman!” all the way.
The trouble is, which camera do you go for?
Honestly, I’d go for a GoPro Hero every time. I own a White Edition and love it, and I’ll shortly be looking into a GoPro Hero4 Black Edition. That isn’t to say, however, that you can’t go for one of the other many brands on the market – their stuff is comparative and often better priced for similar spec gadgets. There is no stigma attached to using other gear, I think it all comes down to GoPro’s marketing for its popularity.
Here are some action cameras that are seriously worth looking into:
- Sony X1000V 4K Action Cam w/ WiFi & GPS – sony.co.uk
- Veho Muvi K-Series VCC K-2 NPNG WiFi Handsfree Camera – veho-world.com
- GoPro Hero4 Black Edition – shop.gopro.com
Now that you’re sorted for cameras and eyewear to catch that awesome POV footage, the latest fad in this winter season was drone usage to obtain footage of you cruising down the sun-lit runs under bluebird skies.
Banned in certain places because of the potential danger to property and other people (i.e. airports), I would highly recommend checking your local laws as well as those of any areas in which you intend to fly your drones. In the United Kingdom, the body that governs any such laws is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
“The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft … for the purpose of avoiding collisions.”
For full legislation regarding small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), please visit the CAA’s webpage by clicking here.
There is some real Herculean effort going into the design and production of UAVs, however it really is a moot point for some areas. Whilst drones are, unarguably cool, resorts will no doubt clamp down on their usage to prevent injury to fellow trail-users. I can imagine, should I be hit by a passing drone, that I would be rather piste-off too.
More fun, than serious gadgetry, I can’t imagine James Bond using many of these. But, then again – who knows with Daniel Craig & co. filming in Sölden, Austria during the course of Winter 2014/15.
There’s nothing quite like a unique take on an idea. Here, we certainly have two unheard of ideas. The padded ‘bumsaver’ is, as described, probably a very good idea. I spent my season learning to snowboard and the amount of times I fell on my tush is beyond counting on fingers and toes. It hurts, especially at speed.
I’ll leave you to consider the AlpineHawk product video. It’s a great concept, especially the feature of sounding the alarm remotely in order to find your skis in powder (it has happened to us all). However, the Kickstarter funding did fail. Would you even use this sort of device?
As for the SkiTaker… I have no words.
Did you come across any interesting or bizarre gadgetry during your skiing this year? Let us know in the comments below what you thought about it.