Garmin Fenix 2
Most skiers (minus the skimo crowd) don't care much about fitness or workout stats. We're not interested in our pace on the skin track, we just want to ski fresh snow. And after a long day in the backcountry, or even at the resort, it’s not about the calories we burned. It’s that we've earned the right to a couple beers.
I have to say, though, that devices like Garmin's Fenix 2 multisport watch have finally started to suck me into the wide world of data. That's because the Fenix 2 can track information that I, as a skier, care about, like how much elevation I've gained and descended. For example, this spring when I finally get into that couloir I've been waiting for all year, I'll know precisely how many vertical feet of corn I shredded. Skiing inbounds, the watch also has a run counter—with an auto-pause for when I'm waiting in a lift line—so I know just how many laps I pulled off.
Because the watch has GPS, it allows me to track my route and drop waypoints on a digital map. Waypoints are useful because they let me remember, or tell other people, about spots of interest, like the best place to enter a particular couloir off the top of a peak.
Other features on the watch that come in handy are the compass, altimeter, and thermometer. Skiers need to be especially careful about temperature in the spring to avoid wet slides, and it's nice to know just how high I was when I bagged that peak.
The Fenix 2 costs $400—hardly loose change—and there are plenty of free iPhone apps out there that provide similar information. So why invest? Because unlike my iPhone, which is dead after just a couple hours of running those GPS apps, the Fenix 2 and its GPS will go for days (50 hours) without any problem. The watch is on my wrist, so it's more accessible and it isn't afraid of the cold like my iPhone's battery. Finally, once the snow melts, the watch also tracks stats for running, hiking, biking, and swimming, so I can use it all year round.