There's a slew of robust technology out there to handle even the extremes of winter sports. And, even the right piece of gear can have an important impact on your overall performance. Here's the best high-tech ski gear available for your next ski trip to the slopes. This list of new models and new services has been updated this year.
Much of the equipment here is battery-powered, including the top GoPros and other action games, as well as some ski-friendly earbuds and helmet speakers. However, not everything has a power component to it. I've included items with high-tech materials, cutting-edge designs, and basic protection for iPhones and Android devices. There are also several helmets and ski goggles in the mix.
As I find them, I'll add additional top ski gear items to this list.
At the moment, the GoPro Hero10 is the best single-lens action camera you can get from GoPro. It's not a big upgrade than the GoProHero 9, which is available for a little less, but it has a new GP2 chip that allows high resolutions at higher frames per second, according to GoPro's highest level of image stabilization.
For the Hero 10 Black, pricing is confusing. The camera is $550, which is less costly than the Hero 9's starting price. Upon purchasing directly from GoPro.com and register for the GoPro subscription program, the camera receives $200 off, putting the price at $350 (a year of the service, which costs $50 a year or $5 a month, is included for free).
The subscription service allows you to have unlimited cloud backups at original quality, damaged camera replacement, discounts on GoPro accessories and gear, and access to GoPro's premium live streaming platform.
360 cameras capture everything in a space around the camera, then you can make a decision on what you want to demonstrate, and what you want to do. For this type of camera, a lot of people like the, which is selling for around $430, but is also impressive, and some people prefer it to the GoPro.
The newer and cheaper Go 2 ($300) and the earlier are available on Insta360. Various mounts and accessories are available, from a chest mount to GoPro-style helmet mounts along with a pole mount.
Nic Henry, a former CNET Senior Video Producer, reviewed both the Go 2 () and the One X2 ().
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The GoPro Hero 9 Black is a $50 discount than the Hero 10 Black, but if you like the Hero 10, you may as well get the Hero 10. However, the older Hero 8 still has a good deal of savings, with its highest resolution and front-facing screen coming down from its initial $350 list (it's now $280). It was a CNET Editors' Choice Award winner two years ago.
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The Aleck 006 earpieces are ideal as wireless headphones for listening to music or as a microphone for making calls. Nevertheless, they make them even more powerful when you connect multiple Aleck 006 components together and create a walkietalkie technique.
With the Aleck Go app for iOS and Android, you may also map the location of any party.
The $750 Elevation Infinity 2.0 technical shell jacket from Helly Hansen features the company's, its new waterproof, windproof yet breathable material, which it claims is the "first to-market to be completely without added chemicals." However, waterproof jackets are chemically treated, but Helly Hansen claims that the "everlasting water-repellent protection never must be reproofed with chemical treatment after use."
For a shell jacket, it offers good flexibility and does not feel stiff. While it has a three-layer fabric construction and provides some warmth, it is not insulated, therefore in very cold situations, you'd have to wear another jacket underneath it, like the ($400).
The Elevation Infinity 2.0 is available at Backcountry in black, gray fog, and orange, as well as its Life Pocket Plus, which uses Aerogel insulation to help keep your phone from becoming too cold, thus keeping its battery intact.
Helmets with integrated lens shields or goggles have become popular in Europe in recent years, and Giro makes one of the best ones with its Orbit helmet that also comes in a version for women called the Aria (it looks very similar but has different colored trim elements). While these types of helmets tend to be expensive, they're useful for individuals who wear glasses or just like the convenience of eye protection integrated into a helmet design, so you may rotate the articulating "shield" up onto the helmet
This helmet, which has a foam liner and is designed to hang on your face like goggles, although the seal isn't quite as tight as a typical pair of ones. Excellent ventilation and excellent moisture handling are required. Giro's custom Spherical MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection) technology is also included.
The included lens shield is designed to perform well in a variety of conditions (it is resupplyable for $125) but I'm able to guarantee that it won't fog during difficult snow days, which may result in difficulty for most goggles (especially if you wear glasses or prescription lenses with your glasses).
Spy's latest and greatest goggles feature 60% more venting over the similarly-styled Spy Ace goggles (another highly-saved model). That makes it "nearly impossible to fog," according to the company. They didn't fog during my limited testing, but I have to put them through a wide variety of conditions to confirm that.
The lenses used in the goggles are magnetic and easily swapped out (two lenses are included). These are over-the-glasses, or OTG-type, that are suitable for RX eyeglasses and have subtle notches in the temples to allow your glasses to fit better. Spy's other premium lenses are "scientifically tuned" to increase mood and alertness while improving contrast.
They are a fantastic pair of goggles, and although they are expensive, Spy has had problems keeping them up.
When your phone gets too cold, its battery drains quicker, and if it's really cold, it may shut off. That's where the message comes in.
The Phoozy is a simple sleeve or "capsule" for smartphones, which includes a Chromium Thermal Barrier Shell and a SpaceTech Penetration Layer. This handy tip will help keep your phone warm on extra cold days and prolong battery life.
Phoozy pouches now come in a few different versions and sizes and start at $30. Just make sure to get one that is enough to hold your phone.
The Redster CTD helmet from Atomic is rather expensive, but it has some great features that may someday be rolled into more helmets. The Atomic Shocksense app works on iOS and Android. A report on your helmet's condition is sent to your emergency contacts.
Atomic claims that the Redster CTD's Atomic Multi-directional Impact Deflector (AMID) dual-density foam system absorbs shock from all angles, giving it 30% lower impact protection than international skiing Federation standards. It's available in black, red, and white.
These glove liners are equipped with Seirus' Kinetic heat return system, which says increases body heat four to five degrees and refreheazas it back to you for 20% more warmth. Of course, how warm your hands are will also depend on how warm they are that go over these (they may be used as stand-alone gloves, but prefer for running in cold weather instead).
After a day of shredding, your body will certainly appreciate some percussion massage gun action. There are a variety of options available, but the travel-friendly Theragun Mini is designed to not weigh your luggage too much, and it is also a great little massage gun for $199, which is especially impressive for its structure.
The Mini is equipped with Quiet Force technology, which allows it to operate as efficiently as possible, but rather than in the previous generation of Theraguns. The Mini has three speed settings, ranging from 1,750 rpm to 2,400 rpm, and the battery lasts for 150 minutes of continuous use.
The One notable disadvantage of the Theragun Mini is that it only comes with one attachment, the standard ball head. You may pay a la carte because the Mini is compatible with all of the same attachments that come with other models, but that increases the cost.
Private lessons have become quite costly, so why not purchase a virtual one?
Carv is a digital ski coach capable of combinating hardware that you attach to your boots with an iOS app (Android coming soon) that gives real-time feedback about how you're skiing.
I'm still waiting to try this out but have had some friends use it and I really like it. The software was upgraded to version 2.0 with some minor hardware improvements, including a more compact battery with the same battery life.
Carv has moved toward a subscription model that reduces hardware costs (the original kit is now $149 instead of $349), but requires you to pay $199 per year or $298 for a two-year plan. That's still a lot less than what a single full-day private lesson would cost you at most resorts, at least in the United States.
If you want to pay upward of $200 for a set of Smith I/O goggles, there are a wide range of more affordable alternatives, including those from Colorado, which prides itself on developing goggles that offer similar or better performance than high-end models from other companies for much less.
The price of the Adapt goggles includes a Photochromatic Flux lens for $129. This is a lens that changes colors according to the lighting conditions you encounter. In other words, it's the chameleon of lenses, and typically photochromatic goggles cost a lot more.
The Smith 4D MAG googles are the company's most popular models, and have increased from $280 to $320. They feature a wider field of view (25% wider than the I/O Mag, according to Smith), and a 5x antifog inner lens with AirEvac Integration Technology that helps reduce fogging. With the MAG system, two levers release the lens, which adheres magnetically to the lunettes. One low-light and one bright-light lens are included.
The $270 I/O MAG XL goggles are a good choice, although they are quite pricey.
Smith's MAG lens change system, which combines magnets and an antifog inner lens, is enhanced with AirEvac integration technology that assists reduce fogging. These lenses come with two lenses.
The Smith I/O MAG XL goggles come in several ChromoPop lens colors.
Seirus' flagship are available for $450 for men or women. The gloves haven't changed for a few years, but the battery was upgraded last year to a more slim-down version with extended battery life.
At the low-heat facility, you can get up to 12 hours of battery life, with a medium set at around 8 hours and high at four hours.
It's also available in a mitten for.
I've used Smith's Vantage helmet, which has a visor. The Code is more geared towards snowboarders and free riders, but a lot of mainstream skiers dislike its smooth appearance.
Smith's helmet featured a variety of techniques, including some of the helmet's color choices. Instead of hard foam, you'll find inserts that are thermally welded together to provide excellent airflow. (Smith has added other materials and design elements to the helmet and has called the Aerocore construction.)
The BOA FS360 fit system (with a 360-degree halo design) has been introduced, enabling you to get a snug, "custom" fit. This year, a Wayfinder strap system, which is basically a quick-release magnetic system that allows you to open and close the strap.
The helmet comes in a, which provides enhanced protection. In a MIPS Brain Protection System, the shell and liner are separated by a low-friction layer that "allows the helmet to slide relative to the head."
Giro claims that its Jackson helmet's "modern profile" comes in many color choices and features the new Passive Aggressive Venting system that's "inspired by the aerodynamic airflow of high-end automobiles." It's a good helmet, but it's also quite lightweight and comfortable while offering MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection).
The Emerge company has a Spherical MIPS technology found in its Emerge helmet ($150), but this model has Giro's Form 2 Fit system (like Smith's dial-in fit), which allows me to get a snug fit. The Emerge uses the company's Stash Fit system that allows you to remove or add layers of padding to customize your fit.
Both the Emerge and the Jackson are designed to provide maximum compatibility with Giro goggles, but they work in just fine with other ones.
Giro makes a couple of goggles in the $150 range, including the Method and Article. It describes the Method as having a "bold retro style" that has been refined with "most modern technology." It's a comfortable goggle with a wide view and excellent venting that helps keep the goggles in most situations (I haven't encountered a goggle that is truly fog-free in all situations).
The Method, which includes more rounded Article goggles ($170), uses Giro's Vivid lens with Zeiss' optics and a second lens. The Method is available in a few different shades.
These Beringia tops and bottoms may be the perfect fit for you, especially if you want to get the ultimate Merino wool base layers. Diomede is Beringia's proprietary fabric "that seamlessly knits multiple layers of fabric into one ultrastretchy waffle." The bottoms ($175) are quite expensive and there's no deal if you buy both together, although you can get 15% off with your first purchase.
The Beringia Diomede base layers are available in a few color options and three sizes, as well as. The top also comes with a snorkel hoodie for $25 more.
The Spy Helm Tech sunglasses are a traditional take on glacier sunglasses that includes removable side shields so you may keep both the sun and all the "haters" at the same time, according to the company (they transform into standard wayfarer sunglasses without the side shields).
The sunglasses are fully functional, including sweat channels in both the nose pads and inner temples for breathability. The company's Happy Tech lens technology, which it claims is "scientifically tuned to increase mood and alertness while improving color and contrast."
True or not, I will say they are standard, the optics were excellent, and I was genuinely happy with them.
Most new phones, including the iPhone 13 models, offer a solid rate of water resistance. However, Lifeproof still sells its waterproof and shockproof Fre case -- and the latest version is designed for MagSafe accessories.
The Fre case is available for some Samsung Galaxy models, but the version does not include MagSafe, a feature that adds $10 to the case.
You're not going to want your phone to be dead on the mountain, so it's always good to pack a battery pack.
Superhero Mag-Lock, a brand-new range of magnetic power banks, has been dubbed a savior. I was amazed by their design. Not only do the batteries, which range in various capacities, hold strong magnets and stick perfectly to the back of your iPhone 12 or 13, but they have increased coils, which are supposed to help with heat retention while charging. It does not seem to work.
The 3,000-mAh battery is lightweight and slim and is convenient to have around for some emergency charging. However, it will not receive you a full charge, and you'll probably want to upgrade to one of the higher-capacity options, like the 6,000-mAh model, which retails for $60, but is currently being discounted to $36. The 9,000-mAh version is beefy and feels like your phone is tied to a small brick, but the combo certainly isn't pocket-friendly.
Qi-enabled iPhones are charged at 5W, although you can get faster charging if you go wired and use a USB-C to Lightning cable. I liked how there's a chime when the charging starts, and your phone tells you how much juice is left in the battery pack (it's tied to iOS 15), but the Mag-Lock will not stick unless you have a metal ring on the back of your phone. Stick-on rings are available for sale.
The MyCharge SuperHero Mag-Lock is available in a few colors and has a nice glossy finish. It currently is the best-designed magnetic power bank, even better than Apple's.
The Torus goggles come in a range of sizes for $120 (or less) but I used the step-up version with the company's high-contrast Volt lens, which is more difficult to find in stock. The Ice Blue Cat 3 lens (with a pink base tint) provides some flexibility in terms of lighting conditions you can use it with. The goggles offer a broad field of view and excellent ventilation.
Biolite has a new range of portable batteries that can support USB-C PD quickcharging (up to 18W) and two additional USB-A ports. It's slim, lightweight, and fits easily in a pocket. To charge iPhones at 18W speeds, you'll need to bring your own USB-C-to-Lightning cable to the charging party (the latest iPhones include that cable).
Although Biolite claims its powerbanks are "durable," they do not have a water-resistance rating. That said, they should survive a snowfall in the face just fine.
Zeal goggles are great optics and a wide field of view, as well as many features the company's Rail Lock System, which makes lenses simple to change, and the goggles simple to vent when you're in hiking mode.
The base models with standard lenses are fairly affordable, ranging from $129 to $159. Things get more expensive when you upgrade to the Automatic Plus GB lens, which is photochromic and changes rapidly with the lighting and works in any conditions. Add that Automatic Plus lens and the price goes up to $279.
I like the (on right), which starts at $249 for the standard two-lens option. It has the widest view and is an OTG type that allows you to wear glasses.
The, which starts at $129, has a spherical frame with upper and lower ventilation and triple-layer face foam. It's not a RLS system, but the lens quality is quite good for the price.
The Jaybird Vista 2 sports buds have a similar design to the previous Vista versions, but include a few enhancements: active noise cancellation and a transparency mode called SurroundSense, which allows you to hear the outside world, and a significant safety feature for skiers as well as runners and bikers.
The Vista 2 buds have an IPX68 water resistance rating, which means they are both dust-proof and fully waterproof. Jaybird claims it's also sweat-proof, crush-proof, and drop-proof. And the compact case is now splash-proof and dust-resistant, with an IP54 rating.
Once you modify the EQ settings, they're not quite up to the expectations of some other premium ears. However, their noise-canceling, transparency, and voice calling are excellent, although they are unspectacular (the Beats Fit Pro perform better in all departments). But if you're getting these, you're making sure they're secure fit and durability.
The Wildcat ($200), a Smith goggles-sunglasses hybrid, is designed to provide plenty of eye coverage and airflow, but they do not require a lighter pair of sunglasses. The Wildcat sunglasses come with a bright ChromaPop lens and a secondary clear lens for flat-light overcast days and are available in three shades.
This copy comes on the recommendation of CNET editor Justin Jaffe, who lives in New England.
"I've taken up alpine trekking since Covid arrived this winter, both after skinning up a mountain and skiing down. The benefits are enormous, but you can often get by without a lift pass and it provides a much more fulfilling cardio workout than pure downhill skiing. This highly adjustable USWE backpack has become an essential tool for me, providing the right amount of room for gear as well as an insulated water bladder that has never once been frozen up. And there is a strap and pocket for everything, from go
Outdoor Technology is one of the few Chinese companies that does the game, but some have said that true wireless headphones have come along, but they're still available at a discounted price, reaching $90.
You can even use the Chips to encase them into the helmet's earflaps, making sure that no excess padding in your helmet is covering the Chips; you'll lose some volume; you'll want them to be as close to your ears as possible. The ODT Walkie-Talkie app allows you to share photos with friends who use the Chips 2.0 headphones. This means that a minimum of 99 persons can be a part of your private group.
I found the headphones were decent for Bluetooth but they were poor. That said, it's nice to have them built in without worrying about anything. The Chips are sweat- and water-resistant but not waterproof.
Outdoor Technology sells the, a true-wireless version of the Chips, which costs significantly higher (about $163). I don't believe the Ultras are worth the money.
The Heroclip comes in in a variety of sizes and sizes, but this souped-up rotating carabiner hook clip costs $23.
The original Garmin inReach Mini has become one of the most popular satellite communication devices with backcountry skiers. Unlike the original, the new inReach Mini 2 features a more energy-efficient processor that greatly improves battery life (now up to 14 days of battery life, using default 10-minute tracking, and your location is sent to your MapShare page for friends and family to view), a higher resolution display and user interface, as well as compatibility with Garmin's Explore app, as well as some new navigation features.
While most users will interact via their phones or connected Garmin devices, you may still send a check-in, read incoming emails, and reply with either a pre-canned QuickText or a custom message from the device itself.
To receive the inReach Mini 2 with basic or $14.95 for a one-month subscription, you must have an active satellite subscription.
Black Diamond (480) is the first avalanche beacon on the market to offer Bluetooth capabilities. That Bluetooth connection allows you to manage settings, software updates, and battery optimization from your smartphone via the Pieps mobile app, while the housing features soft-touch contact points.
The 60-meter circular range, the mark and scan feature for multiple burials, and a mobile antenna switch that automatically adjusts to send the finest signal, respectively. There is also a self-check function for always-accurate antennas, and Digital Signal Processing to account for incoming beacon signals. A harness-style pouch is included.