What's new in snow-sports technology this season?
Wed August 15, 2018
Technology is never far from the forefront of our minds here at VIP SKI. When we think back to the company’s earliest days skis were little more than two planks of wood strapped to clunky plastic boots, and you’d be lucky to make it to the top of a painfully slow chairlift without suffering from frostbite in several appendages. Luckily, the ski industry has taken leaps and bounds forwards and is embracing technology in all its guises to make your holiday experience more enjoyable. We’ve compiled a rundown of the top exciting developments which are set to take the ski industry by storm (no pun intended) over the coming seasons.
...has become integrated into daily life – simply ask anyone who sports a fit-bit or uses GPS devices on a daily basis if they could imagine life without regular pings to measure step count or deliver directions. It’s hardly surprising that skiers have embraced apps which track speed, altitude, distance and form such as SkiTracks and Snocru. Add another element to your apres ski debrief with definitive proof as to who hit top speed on the last run of the day or challenge your siblings to an endurance test by measuring who covers the most miles in a day.
Wearable tech doesn’t stop at GPS devices. How many hours have you spent on a cold, slow chairlift, wishing there was a way to take your bedroom radiator out on the mountain with you? These days that dream can become a reality with heated jackets and gloves finally available to purchase.
Something which has also really caught our eye in the VIP SKI office is the launch of heated phone pockets to prevent the cold from sapping your phone’s battery. Having a mobile to hand whilst skiing is an important safety consideration – whether you’re lost on the mountain or on the dancefloor it’s imperative that you can contact your friends easily.
Avalanche safety kit has benefitted hugely from technological advancements. The old radio transmitters have been replaced by digital transceivers which operate over three frequencies to allow for more accurate triangulation of anyone who has been caught in an avalanche. The development of airbags, which trigger automatically when a skier is in danger, has been boosted by new manufacturers entering the mix and designing portable options which can convert an existing backpack into an airbag. Helmet technology has moved on too with hundreds of options available to suit any size, budget and style. Off-piste skiing is never entirely safe but mitigating against the potential risks has never been easier.
It's always sunny
Climate change is looming large on the horizon and resorts which do not take steps to secure their ski domains now will suffer in the future. Thankfully there is a sure-fire way to ensure that there is plenty of cover for years to come: snow cannons. Although we all hate skiing through them we’re certainly thankful when they magically transform an icy piste into an oasis of powder. Today’s cannons are networked in such a way that they can produce the best snow for the prevailing weather conditions, meaning that it sticks around for longer and feels more like a real dump of powder than ever before.
On a wider scale, resorts which are close by are making steps to join forces, linking up to widen the potential ski area and develop areas akin to the Trois Valles in France, which is so huge that there is always guaranteed to be good snow somewhere. We are particularly excited about the potential link being planned between Alp D’Huez and the neighbouring Les Deux Alpes. This idea has been floating around for years but it would appear that plans are being drawn up to make it a reality by 2021. We can’t wait to see how this development will shake up the ski industry and how competing resorts will react.
There’s clearly plenty to get excited about both this season and well into the future. How long do you think it’ll be before skis themselves are GPS enabled, or virtual reality will let us ski from the comfort of our own homes? Actually, scratch that last one, there’s no substitute for really being in the mountains.
If reading this has made you excited to hit the slopes and try some of the kit out for yourself then call our sales team on 0208 875 1957 to start planning your next holiday.