Sports

Gadgets and gizmos aplenty

 | January 4, 2011
Every year we’re baffled by the new technology introduced into the ski world. This year is no different—there are some great new gadgets out there to benefit your skiing or snowboarding experience.
While many head to the slopes to escape the everyday hum of electronics and telephones it’s hard to leave behind some of the technology that makes riding that much more cool. While some things are really just gadgets or novelties there are some really innovative products that have unique uses on the hill.
On the top of the wish list are the new Zeal Optics Transcend GPS Goggles. Complete with polarized lenses and the option of a photo chromic lens, these goggles are very futuristic and allow you to keep track of your stats, such as speed on the hill. Just try to avoid trees—these goggles are not cheap to replace.
The GPS goggle is the baby of Zeal Optics and Recon Instruments. Together these companies have created a social network on skis. The Recon HQ software that goes with the goggles allows users to build a profile and join an online community where they can share the stats from their day, including what runs they took.
“Recon HQ allows the user to maximize the data stored on the goggles by providing the tools to analyze their season’s activity. Skiers and riders can re-live and learn from their experiences and also share them with other, like-minded people on HQ Online,” said Darcy Hughes, chief marketing officer for Recon Instruments.
When worn, the goggles somewhat resemble a dragonfly’s eyes. They feature greater-than-average peripheral vision, and a head mounted GPS display.
Zeal is all over technology, having also produced a solar powered backpack called the RELIANT. Available in rust or black, this 21 litre backpack features an organic plastic solar panel attached to the back pouch that reacts with both indoor and outdoor light. You can charge your cellphone, iPod, and even those GPS goggles through the mini USB ports attached to the recyclable solar panel.
The RELIANT is compatible with hydration systems for backcountry excursions and has adjustable belts for a custom fit. Plus, as a renewable energy source this backpack will charge your electronics for free! Consider this an investment in your environmentally friendly future.
The last product on the list is really gender specific. Have you ever heard of P-Mates? Made for women on the go, these nifty little contraptions save females from having to show skin on a cold day.
P-Mates, available online at
femalefreedom.ca have been popular with backcountry riders and campers alike. As the site claims, “The P-Mate does not get all wet and soggy after use,” and can even be used more than once, though that’s completely up to the user’s discretion. They’re inexpensive and allow women the convenience that men enjoy when a toilet is not available. What could be better than being able to pee standing up?
Christmas is over so it’s finally time to think about buying things for yourself. Whether you’re looking for some cool new computer-and-goggles in-one or something to make life a little easier on the hill these gadgets will get you off to a good start.

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