It’s just a few months before winter (at least for those residing in the northern hemisphere), and that means it won’t be long until we see snow again. If you’re worried about not being able to jog and enjoy your favorite outdoor exercises because of the weather, why not make the most of what you’ve got? Snowboarding, skiing, and ski flying for instance are just a few activities you can enjoy in the snow. And apart from staying fit, you also get to have fun!
But before going to the nearest ski resort, it is important to have the right gear. And some of the most overlooked tools are ski watches. Yes, just like how TAG Heuer excels in motorsports and Seiko in diving, brands like Suunto and Garmin shine when it comes to skiing.
Can I wear basic waterproof watches instead? The answer is yes, you can. But the thing is, there are a lot of features that you will miss out on. Depending on the model, some reliable ski watches can even show you maps of ski resorts from all around the globe! No doubt, a ski watch is not just another accessory but also a tool that you can maximize to help you improve in your sport faster.
How to choose the right ski watch
1. Know what you need.
Depending on your experience level, you’ll need different sets of features for your ski watch. So for an easier time finding the right model, ask yourself what you want from the timepiece. Make a list of features that are must-haves and what you can do without. This will make it easier for people to recommend what kind of watch you need.
2. Try it on for fit and comfort.
Ski watches come in different shapes and sizes. Some are heavy, some are light, while some are too big. Not to mention, each watch is also made with different materials which have different levels of comfort. So with that said, it is important to test it first on your wrist to know if it is comfortable on you. Get a feel if it’s light enough for you to not feel tired after wearing it for hours.
3. Set a budget.
Ski watches come in a large range of price tags so before going to the store, it is important to set a budget that works for you. Knowing and staying in your price range can narrow down your choices, thus making it easier for you to find the perfect model.
What to Look for in Ski Watches
Just like in any other sport, GPS is one of the most important things you should look for in a watch. Knowing your location and finding your coordinates in a map is extremely useful when climbing mountains for a quick ski. With a GPS on your ski watch, such as the Suunto 9 or Seiko Astron, you can also have a peace of mind that you won’t get lost when trying to reach the bottom of the slopes.
If your budget won’t permit you to get a GPS, the next thing you should look for is the ABC — altimeter, barometer, and compass. To expound, an altimeter measures how high you are on a mountain to give you an idea on your skiing location. Meanwhile, a barometer can detect atmospheric pressure readings and changes. And lastly, the compass can help you get in the right direction.
When skiing, it is inevitable that your watch will be exposed to snow and other harsh elements. With that in mind, it is important to look for ski watches that are durable enough to survive a few bumps. A few things you should look out for in the specs sheet are shock-resistance, resistance to cold temperature, and the material of the case itself.
4. Water resistance
When learning how to ski, it is expected of you to fall down a lot in the snow (and there’s no shame in that!) That being said, water-resistance in a watch is a must-have as melted snow can leak inside some watches’ cases. To be sure, choose watches that are at least resistant to 50m of water, such as the Tissot T-Touch. This level allows you to dip waterproof watches in shallow depths with no problem.
5. Heart rate monitor
For people who want to track their fitness status, a heart rate monitor is a must. This feature will allow you to see how hard you’ve been exercising and if you’re in the fat-burning zone. With that said, this is a handy feature for people who are skiing not just for fun but also to lose weight.
Recommended Best Ski Watches for Winter Sports Enthusiasts
1. Casio Pro Trek Climber Line PRW-60-2AJF
The Climber Line PRW-60-2AJF watch from the Casio Pro Trek collection is a robust choice for ski enthusiasts. For one, it is geared towards outdoor activities that include skiing. With that said, it features the basic functions that every skier will need whether a beginner or an expert.
Among those features are an altimeter that can take measurements every second. Apart from that, the watch also has a barometer or thermometer with a built-in alarm for sudden changes in atmospheric pressure. Lastly, this robust watch from Casio has a digital compass that can show 16 directions (e.g. NW, N, SW) and the direction angles for a more accurate reading.
All of these functions are all determined by a Triple Sensor for accurate readings. In addition to being accurate, it also detects changes in natural phenomena instantly. This allows the wearer to make the appropriate responses in time. Which is why you can feel safer when skiing in the mountains with the Casio Pro Trek Climber Line PRW-60-2AJF.
2. Suunto 9 Baro
Let’s get one thing straight — the Suunto 9 watches are made to last long, and the Suunto 9 Baro is one of the most durable ski watches you can get. Apart from its solidly-built body, its battery is optimized so that it can survive even during your longest training session.
Thankfully, its durability is paired with a good set of features. It has a fitness tracker that you will find useful even after your ski training sessions. When you’re done skiing, it can show you your recommended recovery time. Apart from that, it also has an extensive weather tracking list, which you can consult before scheduling a ski.
Most importantly, Suunto boasts this timepiece’s GPS accuracy. It uses the U.S.’s GPS, Russian’s GLONASS and Japan’s QZSS satellites. This means its accuracy is far superior to other ski watches. It also uses the Fusedtrack technology which retains the GPS’ accuracy in locations where satellite signals are hard to find. That being said, you don’t have to worry about losing the GPS function in case your ski location is full of trees.
Lastly, the Suunto 9 Baro is easy to use. Its screen is large and the touch screen is guaranteed to be flawless even when it’s wet with snow.
3. TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45
The TAG Heuer Connected Modular is a premium collection for people who love brands with a good pedigree. While TAG Heuer is mainly known for motorsports, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, in particular, is also a good ski or snowboarding watch.
One of the most obvious things that you’ll notice about this watch is that it feels premium. Indeed, it uses a premium metal body and metal backplate. Apart from that, it mimics the look of the famous TAG Heuer Carrera.
Inside, the watch features a lot of functions that you will need for your sport. It comes pre-installed with a Google Fit Workout app that includes a variety of challenges and sports modes. Apart from that, you can install other fitness apps that are to more of your liking. It also has a GPS tracker to help you monitor where you’re going.
Overall, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is a great watch for hardcore watch enthusiasts who love skiing, too. Its features and brand history are sure to be a conversation starter.
4. Tissot T-Touch
If there’s one thing the Tissot T-Touch line is good at, it is sports. Whether it’s ski flying, weight lifting, or cycling, this watch can meet your demands, thanks to the Tissot Touch Technology and professional sports instruments.
When it comes to an athlete’s timing needs, this watch nails it. In particular, it has six functional areas on the dial — The meteo (Barometer and weather forecaster), altimeter, thermo (ambient temperature), chrono (stopwatch and countdown timer), compass, and alarm. These features are a must-have when looking for the best ski watches.
Furthermore, the Tissot T-Touch has a water resistance rating of 100m. This will give you confidence that it can survive even after you’ve fallen a lot of times in the snow. And if functionality is your number one priority, look no further than this watch.
5. Tudor Heritage Chrono
As a brand, Tudor needs no introduction. This particular collection, however, is not as popular as the other collections. With that said, the Tudor Heritage Chrono is the brand’s iconic chronograph watch that is suitable for sports.
While it is a traditional mechanical watch, it packs a few functions that you will need during a ski session. For the features, the Tudor Heritage Chrono 70330B-Steel model sports a chronograph and a date indication. To expound, its elapsed time is shown on the 45-minute counter instead of the typical 30-minute counter. In addition, its pushers are screw-down, meaning you have to unlock it before you can use it. This means you can avoid accidentally resetting the timer in case you bump the watch while skiing.
If you’re an enthusiast, you’d be delighted to hear that this watch uses a reliable workhorse movement. To be specific, it runs on the ETA 2892. This movement runs at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has 55 jewels to ensure that pivots rotate without friction. Additionally, it has a power reserve of up to 42 hours.
All things considered, you can never go wrong with the Tudor Heritage Chrono. Being part of the Rolex group, Tudor is sure to deliver the right specs and features for your needs.
6. Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon
While the Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon was originally made for motorsports, you cannot deny its usefulness in skiing, too. To add, its carbon fibre-themed design is also a nice addition that will appeal to many people.
Moving on to the dial, this Oris Williams watch features a chronograph that has three sub-dials. It has an hour counter, a running seconds tracker, and a minute counter. Furthermore, it has a tachymeter bezel for measuring distance based on speed.
To add, its chronograph function runs on the Valjoux 7750, which is dubbed as the “world’s most iconic chronograph movement”. That being said, this watch from Oris is in great hands as it is a known reliable calibre that can do the job well.
Lastly, people overlook comfort when looking for ski watches. Fortunately, the Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon features a rubber bracelet that fits nicely on different wrists. Apart from that, it has a deployant clasp that makes the watch more premium. It’s a guarantee that you’ll be able to ski for hours without feeling uncomfortable about the watch.
7. Citizen Bluetooth
The Citizen Bluetooth is an analogue watch that you can connect to your phone. It combines the smart functionality of technology and the charm of an analogue timepiece. Which is why it’s the perfect ski watch for people who love features but can’t go fully digital.
As for the features, the Citizen Bluetooth BZ1045-05E model has a chronograph that can measure up to 60 minutes. Apart from that you can also set-up an alarm. This can be useful when you want to remind yourself that it’s time for skiing practice. Another useful feature that you will appreciate from this watch is its Smartphone Search. In case you drop your phone in the snow while skiing, the watch will warn you by vibrating.
In terms of performance, its Calibre W770 (Eco-Drive) movement can run up to 4 years when fully charged. Especially when you maximize its power save function. It is also light-powered so you don’t have to change its battery every now and then. And you don’t have to worry about recharging this Citizen watch as it charges from any kind of light, from sunlight to dim light.
8. Seiko Astron 5X Series
The Seiko Astron 5X Series is perfect for every type of lifestyle and situation. And that includes demanding sports like skiing, snowboarding, and the like. Apart from being durable, this watch delivers enhanced comfort on the wrist.
In terms of accuracy, the Seiko Astron line is one of the best, if not the best. It connects to one or more GPS satellites and automatically adjusts to the exact time up to the second.
When it comes to comfort, this iconic timepiece from Seiko can also deliver. In particular, it is one of the world’s slimmest GPS watch with a depth of only 12.2mm. You don’t have to worry about fitting it under your skiing jacket. Apart from that, it has a new buckle adjustment system to let you do minor adjustments at the touch of a button. This is extremely important when out in the snow as change in temperature can make the wrist expand or contract.
9. Garmin Fenix 6
Garmin is one of the most famous names when it comes to sports watches. They are known for producing durable and feature-rich timepieces that can survive the outdoors. With that said, their models are also appropriate as ski watches as they have the features needed by skiers.
One particular model you should check out is the Garmin Fenix. It has preloaded TOPO maps and ski maps that feature over 2,000 ski resorts globally. To add, it also indicates the difficulty so you can choose the right place for your skills.
Meanwhile, if you’re planning to go on a long backcountry skiing sesh, the Expedition Mode can give you up to 56 days of GPS track points. It also has a Pulse Ox Acclimation feature which keeps track of your oxygen saturation levels. This is an important feature if you’re often skiing at a high altitude.
The bottom line is that the Garmin Fenix 6 has everything you will need for your skiing sessions. In fact, it was made with skiers in mind that’s why you can never go wrong with this model if you want to be serious in the sport.
10. Apple Watch Series 3
If you’re already a proud owner of an iPhone, you should consider getting the Apple Watch Series 3. After all, using Apple devices together works well due to the efficiency of the Apple Ecosystem. It will also let you track your data easier as it syncs perfectly with your phone.
The smartwatch is available in two versions — one with GPS only and one with both GPS and cellular connectivity. Both versions have a water-resistant casing and a heart rate monitor, which Apple improved on. In fact, it doesn’t only count your heartbeats per minute, but it also records your resting heart rate and workout ranges.
Additionally, it has a dedicated workout mode where you can track the calories you’ve burned while skiing. And with 50m water resistance, your watch is safe in case you fall into melted snow while practising your skills.
To conclude, the Apple Watch Series 3 is one of the best you can get for your money if you’re an Apple user. No matter what sport, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, or swimming, you will find its features helpful in crushing your goals.
Tips for Ski Beginners
Starting a new sport might be scary at first. But don’t worry, here are a few tips that will get you on the right track!
1. Find a good ski teacher.
One of the fastest ways to progress is to find a good ski teacher. Finding someone who knows what they’re doing can make a lot of difference than trying to figure things out on your own. For one, they can watch every bit of your form and tell you which parts you should improve on. Apart from that, they can also help you avoid bad habits that you are prone to do.
Moreover, a good ski teacher can help you discover and guide you to other terrains that you wouldn’t be able to see on your own.
2. Wear the right clothes and equipment.
Unlike in other sports, skiing requires you to face harsh environments. With that said, it is important for you to wear waterproof clothing as you are expected to fall a lot in the snow. You should consider getting snow pants to help keep you dry and warm.
Apart from that, you should also wear a helmet and a pair of goggles. The former to keep your head safe and the latter to keep things from hitting your eyes. Wearing a ski watch like a TAG Heuer Connected Modular or a Suunto can also do wonders for your progress as some of those have ski maps preloaded in them.
Remember that the more comfortable you are, the longer you’ll be able to stand practice sessions. If you’re hesitant to shell out money for gear as a beginner, you can always rent. Believe me when I say that wearing proper-fitting clothes can make learning a lot easier and fun. And not to mention, a lot safer.
3. Don’t skip leg day.
Skiing is a sport where you’ll be thankful you didn’t skip leg days during gym class. In case you didn’t know, this activity requires a lot of leg power. To be specific, your quads and calves will do a lot of work while skiing. That being said, having stronger legs will give you the endurance to make more runs in the mountain. And being able to practice more means the faster you’ll improve.
4. Bend your knees.
Not bending your knees is one of the most common mistakes beginners make when skiing. By bending your knees, it centres your body above your legs to keep you balanced. Thus, it is easier to gain control of your ski. Apart from that, you will also be more prepared for small jumps and uneven terrain.
Other Winter Sports to Try Besides Skiing
There are a lot of other things you can do to make the best out of winter. So if you’re not too keen on skiing or if you’re adventurous enough to try more, here are other snow sports that you can try.
If you’re a skater who’s frustrated about not being able to skate because of the snow, why not give snowboarding a try? In fact, this sport was inspired by a mix of skateboarding, skiing, and even surfing. There are a lot of snowboarding styles, but the main gist is that you glide down a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard that’s attached to your feet.
Compared to skiing, a lot of people would argue that snowboarding is harder to learn. However, once you’ve overcome that steep learning curve, it becomes a lot easier to master tricks in snowboarding.
While the sport is fairly new (snowboarding was only developed in the 1960s), it is considered as part of winter Olympic sport events.
2. Ski jumping
If you want to take skiing to the next level, then check out ski jumping. Simply put, the goal in this sport is to make the longest jump after descending from a ramp on your skis.
In this sport, participants make two jumps and their score depends partly on the distance jumped and their form. As for the latter, points are deducted for errors like touching the ground with a hand after landing, etc.
It is also important to note that ski jumping has been included in the Winter Olympics since the 1924 games in France.
3. Ski flying
Much like ski jumping, ski flying is a sport where athletes jump from a much bigger ramp than ski jumping. In fact, it is considered an extreme form of ski jumping.
The rules and scoring in ski flying are similar to ski jumping. However, the difference lies in the hills where contestants jump off. In particular, the ramps for the former are constructed so that athletes can jump 66% longer in distance.
4. Ice climbing
For people who have overflowing adrenaline, ice climbing may be the best for you. It is a lot like rock climbing, however, instead of climbing on rocky surfaces, you climb on ice using picks, ropes, and crampons.
There are a lot of ice climbing venues but the most popular are glaciers and waterfalls. Other adventurous climbers can be flexible and practice mixed climbing which is climbing a combination of rock, ice, and snow.
Due to the conditions involved in ice climbing, it is considered an extreme sport and should be done by people who know what they’re doing.
5. Ski paragliding
Have you ever wondered how it feels like to fly? Ski paragliding can quench your curiosity! Ski paragliding is an extreme sport where you launch yourself with ski and use skydiving parachutes to descend from mountaintops.
For this sport, experience in both skiing and paragliding are essential. It is not suitable for beginners as the activity can be extremely dangerous.
Although it is not often mentioned by enthusiasts, ski watches are helpful when going on a ski session. Apart from telling you the time, a lot of those timepieces have life-saving features, whether you opt for a high-end watch from Tudor or a reliable one from Casio. A few of those are the compass, the weather forecaster, and the GPS. Yes, skiing can be dangerous at times, but wearing a ski watch can help lessen your worries.