Winter sports are a growing area for wearable technology according to a new Club Med report, Mapping Ski Trends Winter 2017/18.
We have come to associate fitness trackers and smartwatches with step counts, keeping tabs on calories, distance and sleep, but there is a growing range of high-tech gear designed specifically for winter sports. This includes everything from smart ski goggles to GPS enabled helmets. Some, such as the POC Spine VPD Vest which molds to your body to protect you from nasty falls, have even been approved by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
The Club Med’s report says that this year, nearly three quarters (74%) of skiers will take at least one piece of wearable tech to the slopes with them. Topping the list, of course, are smartphones. But winter sports lovers are increasingly exploring other options. In order of popularity, this includes GoPros, fitness trackers, generic smartwatches and ski goggles with interchangeable lenses.
Essential reading: Hit the slopes with this connected tech
Wearables in general are growing in popularity so its not surprising that skiers and snowboarders are increasingly turning to technology to enhance their experience. Whether they are seeing any real benefits and are buying these gadgets purely to try something new is another question. The report says that more than half of skiers admit that their fitness trackers make no difference to their skiing performance.
For some, the cold winter months are an excuse to stay indoors in front of the TV. But an increasing portion of the population uses this period to participate in activities typically associated with colder climes. Some 60 million Americans are expected to head off to one of over 460 ski resorts in the US this year.
The main international event for the sport are the Winter Olympic Games. Occurring every four years, the next ones are scheduled to take place from February 9th to 25th in South Korea. These will be South Korea’s second Olympic Games and its first Winter Games. Seoul hosted the Summer Games in 1988.
With preparations for the event already in full swing, there is also gathering momentum for the sport amongst the general public. But the Club Med report makes it clear that many of us are not exploring the full potential of winter sports’ technology. Perhaps the latest generation of wearables will help when it comes putting to good use the data these gadgets provide us with.
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