How mobile and social technology have forever changed the skiing and snowboarding experience
The tunes are playing in my helmet as I drop into Cornice Bowl at California's Mammoth Mountain, one of the top ski resorts in North America. I'm holding a GoPro selfie stick in my right hand, capturing the POV from behind as I slash turns down the face, looking for soft spots along the side of the run. This is my tenth lap or so, and I'm finally getting it right -- the camera angle, that is, but also the ability to isolate my back arm as a camera mount. I'm able to refine my technique by watching each run on my iPhone while on the gondola. From this, I'm also sharing the best shots to Instagram.
This is the new reality of skiing and snowboarding. With a smartphone at the center, we have an integrated system of technology that tracks our runs, captures the experience with immersive detail, and shares it to our friends in real time. Below is the system I've implemented and it's various components.
Smith Vantage Helmet & i/07 Goggles
In the selfie era, the look of one's helmet and goggles is more important than ever. Which can make it tough to pair multiple brands. The tightly integrated Vantage helmet and i/07 googles not only have a superb look, but they fit and perform at the highest level. The helmet's Boa FS360 fit system is like a vacuum seal on your head, while the goggles provide maximum visibility and quickly interchangeable lenses.
CHIPS Universal Wireless Helmet Audio
These Bluetooth wireless headphones drop right into the ear pads on the Vantage helmet, providing up to 10 hours of play time while you play on the mountain. So there's no messing with wires or pieces of plastic stuffed into your ear canal. The volume is plenty loud, and the controls are easily managed with gloves. You can take or make phone calls and use any of your phone's audio apps.
This just happens to be my preferred streaming music service, a technology trend that recently surpassed CDs for the first time. I like the ability to create and store offline playlists, to get passive music suggestions from friends as they use the service, and to opt for radio when I want to discover new music. However, I've noticed recently that the radio feature can tend to repeat tracks more often than I'd like.
The GoPro platform (truly a media platform) has transformed the skiing and snowboarding experience. The cameras and mounts seamlessly integrate t0 helmets and packs, such that they are persistent aspects of the equipment mix. And with the GoPro mobile app, you can view each run in retrospect, download select photos and video clips to your phone via WiFi, and share them out to your network... all before the next run starts. Pro tip: You'll need three batteries to capture a full day of riding.
Facebook is great for albums after the fact, and Snapchat is where you share the steady stream in real time, but Instagram is where you post the art of skiing and snowboarding. You edit the video clip just right, selecting the perfect cover frame. You tune the contrast of each image and add the right filter for that moment. This is the essence of your day on the mountain in a few choice shots.
In the spirit of the quantified self, the "Trace" mobile app records all of the key data from a day of skiing or snowboarding with fantastic detail. Each lift ride and run with total vertical, top speed, average speed, number of jumps, air time, calories burned, and more. Plus, it integrates with both Instagram and the GoPro app so you can give your multi-media content a contextual data overlay.