GPS ski goggles hit the slopes (pictures)
Have goggles, will slalom
During a December trip to Whistler Blackcomb mountain in British Columbia and two days at Crystal Mountain in Washington state, CNET's Jay Greene tried out several pricey GPS-enabled goggles with heads-up displays showing his speed, distance traveled, and more. The gadgets, alas, often proved as vexing as they were downright cool.
Here, Greene sports the $550 Zeal Optics Z3 goggles, which proved the most reliable of the batch that he tried.
Dashboard in your eyepiece
Zeal's Z3 goggles sport a tiny monitor inside to let skiers track their speed, the amount of vertical feet covered, and even map their location when they connect to a computer later.
Trip stats, tripped up
Ski data, uploaded from Zeal Optics Z3 goggles to Recon Instruments' Web site, mistakenly captured the wrong date and a wildly inaccurate distance measurement.
The $650 Smith Optics I/O Recon goggles, like every ski goggle that uses GPS speed-tracking technology from Recon Instruments, includes a wireless remote controller that can be attached to the goggle strap to navigate from screen to screen on a heads-up display unit inside the goggles. The remote can also be strapped on the skier's wrist.
At first, the I/O Recons worked pretty well, but after three days started to show some flaws.
Do you see what I see
These $600 Oakley Airwave goggles are simply beautiful, Greene says. As goggles, they work great, giving skiers fog-free viewing while filtering out 100 percent of ultraviolet light. The problem: the Recon heads-up display unit was finicky to a fault.
Ski Tracks on the iPhone
It turns out there's a much less expensive way to capture most of the data that matters. Before Greene left for Whistler, he spent 99 cents on iTunes to download Ski Tracks, an app created by Core Coders. It uses the GPS technology in an iPhone to capture data including speed, distance, vertical descent, number of runs, and more. It can't check the data mid-run, but Greene didn't really care much about that feature anyway.
Whistler Blackcomb Live
Whistler Blackcomb Live, a free iPhone app offered by the resort, tracks speed, distance, and more, as well as giving skiers trail maps and ski condition information.