Industry News

The Future: Technology Meets Snow in 2016-17's Newest High-Tech Accessories

March 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

As in all other aspects of life—and whether we like it or not—high-tech gadgets are here to stay in snow sports. And the way skiers and riders are using technology on the snow is changing as fast as the tech itself. What seemed like science fiction just a couple seasons ago is now not only reality, but reasonably affordable and accessible to the average participant. 

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Recco Avalanche Rescue Technology takes to the air with its latest high-tech innovation, the Sar1 Detector, a helicopter-enabled search device

No longer do we risk dropping our phone in the snow to answer a call or switch playlists. Heck, with new communication software, we don’t even need to use our phones at all. And it’s no longer sufficient to have the ability to take professional-quality video on the slopes or listen to music wirelessly through our helmets. Now we want to instantly share those videos with our social media followers and use that helmet-audio setup to talk to people all over the mountain and beyond. In the very recent past, techy gadgets were often more annoying than useful on the slopes (smart phones and ski gloves that don’t play well together, and we’ve all had to listen that guy screaming, “Get me a meeting!” into his Bluetooth earpiece while in the lift line.). However, many of today’s gadgets aim to enhance the mountain experience rather than be a hindrance. Retailers appreciate these advances, too. “Kids are talking about this stuff, so people come in looking for cameras for their kids. And helmet audio kits have been very popular,” says Michael Stachan, hardgoods buyer for Cole Sports in Park City, Utah. “The new technology is easier to control and has come a long way. Whether it’s an addon with a helmet sale or a separate purchase, it’s up to our salespeople to be knowledgeable and upsell this stuff.” The newest crop of tech gadgets offers seamless connectivity, hands-free functionality and greatly improved audio capability—all allowing skiers and riders to keep in touch, enjoy their tunes, and capture and share their experiences without missing a turn. Here’s a sampling of some of the nifty things you’ll find on the Snow Show floor this week.

REAL-TIME MOVIE SHARING

“Imagine being able to share your extreme-sports adventures in real time, without the hassles of downloading, editing and uploading your videos,” says David Abramowski, general manager of Sioeye, Inc., whose Sioeye Iris4G, the first unlocked 4G LTE action camera, enables you to do just that.

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Sioeye Iris4G LTE Action Camera

The Iris4G integrates a high-performance smart capture device with live-streaming cloud services and interactive mobile apps. Snow riders can broadcast their powder shots in real time via the camera’s “Livecapture” button or through a mobile app. Friends and family can watch instantly, and videos are also saved in the cloud and available for instant replay, eliminating the need to offload and upload videos from the camera for sharing. 

LIMITLESS WALKIE-TALKIES

Outdoor Tech, maker of the popular CHIPS Bluetooth wireless helmet audio drop-ins, is demoing its new “mountain-optimized” app for Android and iOS at the Show. The app allows for unlimited walkie-talkie range with no extra hardware (sorry, walkie-talkie manufacturers). Users can use the CHIPS’s glove-friendly controls to communicate with multiple groups (i.e. family in one group, friends in another) whether they are at another part of the mountain, in a condo at the base, or at home across the country (assuming all parties have cell phone service).

BEYOND FUN AND FAME
Using Tech for Safety and Comfort in the Mountains

Technology continues to vastly improve how skiers and riders keep themselves warm and safe. Seirus’s new SolarSphere gloves use new solar-absorbing insulation to harness sunlight, convert it to heat and transfer it to skiers’ hands. According to the company, the new product amplifies heat within the glove by 10 degrees. If you can’t see you can’t ski—at least not safely.

To that end, Abom uses patented technology in its snow goggle that places an invisible heat-conductive film between a twopart lens; a battery sends a current through the film to heat the lens and eliminate fog. 

For rapidly changing weather conditions, the Uvex Snowstrike Variotronic goggle features an internal light sensor and liquid crystal lens film that instantly reacts to variances in light and activates the appropriate lens technology in one-tenth of a second.

Backcountry Access’s new Tracker3 is the thinnest multi-antenna avalanche beacon on the market (0.9 inches). The new transceiver features the same ease-of-use, high performance and reliability as the Tracker2, but weighs 7.6 ounces, 20 percent less than its predecessor. 

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BCA Tracker3 Avalanche Beacon

Finally, Recco Avalanche Rescue Technology introduces the SAR1 detector this week, a helicopter-enabled search device that works in the backcountry. The company is also esting an avalanche-rescue drone equipped with a RECCO detector. “The drone with a RECCO detector is set p and airborne within three minutes,” says Pascal Duvillier, the French mountain rescue professional who eveloped the system. “Searching three victims in a 2,500-square-meter area takes only about four minutes.”

HANDS-FREE IMAGES, NO WIRES

When Zeal Optics introduced its HD Camera Goggle a couple of years ago, it rightfully stole the show. It shoots HDquality video and 12-megapixel HD photos with a wide-angle lens, instant light-level adjustment and in-goggle viewfinder—all built into photochromatic, polarized, anti-fog and scratch-resistant snow sports goggles. Now the updated HD2 is here, with a smaller and lighter frame and longer battery life. It also features WiFi connectivity via Zeal’s HD2 app, so users can easily share photos and videos.

BACKCOUNTRY-WORTHY AUDIO UPGRADE

A new take on wireless helmet-audio kits for snow sports is KEL52’s new POWR, which installs in any helmet and allows for onebutton smart phone control. For communication where there is no cell service, the POWR fully integrates with walkie-talkies, allowing users to keep their devices in their pack or pocket and talk via the POWR headset.

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Kel52 POWR

The POWR also features a built-in external microphone interface for GoPro, so riders can record their voices or music directly into the camera instead of adding voiceovers and music after the fact.


Find the FULL article in the 2016 Snow Show Daily, Day 1, Page 12.

Don’t forget to take a look back at all of the the 2016 SIA Snow Show Dailies; highlighting trends, innovations, brand stories, SIA research & participation data and so much more.

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