Featured Apple watch 3/other GPS smart watches and ski tracking

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Jason Kurth, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    Anyone using these for skiing? I was looking at fitness tracker watches since I want a HR monitor for other workouts and I was thinking it would also be useful to have a GPS enabled watch for skiing.

    The apple watch with cellular is really appealing since I could text and make calls without bringing my main phone which would be nice for racing and race training where I could still have the watch on me.

    So the other important piece is how the GPS function works for tracking skiing. I was looking at some of the cheaper garmin gps watches and people were saying they were lacking for skiing and some didn't track altitude.

    How does the apple watch do and what apps are available on it? I would like something like ski tracks but with the ability to save and export the entire route with velocity/altitude/position data and maybe somehow bring that in for video overlay. Similar to the gopro GPS functions.
     
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  2. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    You mentioned Apple but I have a Samsung Gear 2 smart watch the I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. It's fully synched to my android phone. There's a few different apps I'v used. Samsung hearth has a fitness app and skiing is one of the choices. I also love ski tracks. The main app I've used directly with my phone is Rossignol ski. I can control it with my watch and never have to open my phone. Samsung fitness app can also be controlled by my watch. Not sure about using ski tracks as I have new phone and I've not yet set it up with my watch for winter use so don't know if ski tracks is on there. Would be awesome if there was an app in the app store, need to check.

    As far as my watch in general, I see texts, can send auto replies back that I've set. I can control spotify and my bluetooth headphones that are in my helmet and I can do 100 other things and never have to take my phone out of it's pocket. I don't have cellular with this watch but it's fully synched with my phone so it's as if I have my phone attached to my wrist. The GPS works perfect with any ski track app I use. I love the heart monitor feature and have my favorite workouts shortcutted.

    I don't know anything about apple products but I imagine they have similar capabilities.
     
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  3. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    Cool. Just to clarify I'm not looking to control a phone app through the watch- it needs to work independently on the watch without having a phone on me.
     
  4. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    The S2 doesnt' have a line on it so I believe most things require the phone nearby. It shows heart rate and stuff like that and fully works as a watch but I've never had it apart from my phone so I don't know what it can/can't do without the phone nearby. There is however, an S3 that is out now that is fully functional and independent of the phone so you don't need it with you to get full operation of the watch with all it's GPS and sports capabilities. It requires a line on it but you can leave your phone behind when you participate in activities. You can still synch it with your phone but it's not required to get the full benefit of the watch. I always have my phone nearby in a pocket or my purse or my car so when my S2 dies I'll probably just get another S2.
     
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    Garmin Fenix 5 looks like it has some really good features for skiing



    It's more expensive than apple watch and loses the cellular capability that would be really nice. i wonder if the apple watch can have this functionality
     
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  6. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    hmm maybe the apple watch 4 will offer some improvements since it looks like the 3 would be lacking for skiing. the fenix 5 looks great purely for ski tracking
     
  7. MattSmith

    MattSmith Putting on skis Skier

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    HI Jason - I did a lot of research on smart watches preparing for last season. I landed on a kickstarter product called the LooK Smartwatch. It's off of kickstarter and available on the website: http://www.laipac.com/smartwatch.html

    I opted for the blue/silver model shown below:
    [​IMG]

    Other than this, I don't own a smart watch. My wife has an Apple watch. If you are an "Apple person" and not looking for a sport specific watch with a lot of outdoor features, go with the apple watch. It's size and function is much more compatible for everyday use. It's a great product, but it's not for me.

    I was looking for "emergency capabilities" which ultimately landed me on the LooK. I have no vested interest in the LooK watch other than seeing support continue. I have not put the watch through the ringer. Bummer about kickstarter, you never quite know when you'll receive the product. Mine arrived mid-March, 4 months delayed. This season will be the real test.

    You'll find the tech specs on the website, but real quick it runs Android and is compatible with Android and iOS phones, if you want to connect a phone. It's cellular and satellite (GPS) enabled. My initial impressions:
    • I was surprised at the size. I'm not a small person, but I don't have especially think wrists. The face of the Look practically covers my entire wrist. If desired, I'll attach a picture in a future post with the watch on my wrist. Other than that it looks great.
    • Initial set up and connections were easy. The interface is reasonable to utilize on a 1.5 inch screen. I have not enabled / connected to my cellular plan, but intend to do so before year end.
    • It's not the easiest keyboard to utilize given the size. I wouldn't want to type out entire messages on it.
    • Battery life and function seems to be consistent with what's listed on the site. The disclaimer here is that the tests I've run are in a warm climate. We all understand how battery life deteriorates in cold weather.
    • Heart rate monitor seems spot on. It's consistent with a chest strap monitor that I've used for 2+ years.
    • The Guardian Angle / LocationNow features are what sold me on this watch. As mentioned, I've yet to field test this, but tests at home have been successful. The GPS and Cellular communication capabilities work with sensors in the watch to to "detect" a physical fall and send an SOS. From the web site:
    Using combined G-sensors, the LooK Watch generates an emergency alert if a physical fall is detected. The emergency alert will then be sent to your pre-set personal emergency contact numbers and services with your GPS coordinates and incident location. Two-way calling then directly communicates you with your emergency contacts and reassures you that help is on the way. If it is a false alarm, the watch user simply needs to press the SOS button when prompted to do so, and the emergency alert will be cancelled.
    My focus is use outside of the resort. While never a good idea to play in the back country alone, the reality of life is that I do. This is the best piece of mind I can find for myself and my family to keep track of where I am and where I've been. I have not determined if I will attempt to integrate this into any sort of rescue or emergency service. At this point my alerts go to family, with GPS data and they'd need to contact rescue (likely to find my body, but hopefully to save my life). Lastly, I'm not sure what happens when you're outside of cellular service. The GPS will continue to function and communicate data to the LocationNow platform, but I don't think I'll be able to get a call via the satellite.

    Okay, this ended up being a longer post than anticipated. The website is pretty decent and has videos showing how to utilize different features. Enjoy!
     
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  8. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    ^interesting thanks

    I'm not concerned so much from an out of bounds/safety perspective

    The garmin still looks most streamlines for what I need for ski tracking

    i just saw https://getslopes.com/ for the apple watch. it looks like this offers the same functionality as the garmin fenix tracking where it auto tracks and saves runs without starting/stopping the watch. says it can be used standalone untethered.

    I'm leaning towards waiting for the new apple watch since I have an iphone and could put it on my plan and would really like to be able to make calls/texts without a phone on me during training and race days.
     
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  9. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Putting on skis Skier

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    I've got a Garmin Vivoactive 3 that I use for tracking my cycling, walking, running, and skiing, and although it won't make calls or texts, it's great otherwise.

    Here's an example from Strava of a day skiing: https://www.strava.com/activities/1391591069/overview
     
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  10. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester Industry Insider

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    I don't have a wrist mounted device other than a Citizen eco-drive watch.

    I start ski tracks on the gondola ride up, ski and then look at ski tracks on the gondola ride down. I don't need all that much information about my skiing other than what I can glean from my own body's sensors. :)

    Mostly I use ski tracks to keep track of my day count. Occasionally I look back at as a reminder of a particular line I took, particularly above treeline or in the backcountry. I work in IT so have plenty of tech to deal; I don't need it while I'm skiing.
    :daffy:

    (This isn't meant to disparage those with smart watches, just to offer another data point.)
     
  11. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, newbie Subaru driver and winter lover Skier

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    I do the same thing with ski tracks, just turn on and off. I do wish I could control it with my watch just so I could pause it when I stop for a break/lunch, etc. I guess it isn't a big deal to pull out my phone when I want to pause but I do find it annoying at times. Going to check in the samsung gear app store to see if there's a ski tracks shortcut I can put on the watch face. I mainly look for runs per day, vertical if I'm somewhere steep and a little bit of MPH not because going fast is better but I used to be slow, slow, slow and I've worked very hard on technique so I've noticed the speed has naturally increased so I like the beam of pride I feel when I see I've gone beyond a snails pace ;)

    I did have an issue with GPS turning on and off when using the Rossingnol ski app.
     
  12. rcc55125

    rcc55125 Putting on skis Skier

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    This article is from February, https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/28/apple-watch-apps-now-track-ski-performance/.
    It says, "If you’re wondering how many calories you’ve burned or how fast you were going, all that data is available and more."
    Apps include, "Ski Tracks, Slopes, Snocru, Snoww, and Squaw Valley’s apps all getting updates." "an Apple Watch update that combines GPS and altimeter (altitude)"

    In the standard Series 3 apps there is a feature in the Workout app listed as Other. It tracks time, heart rate, calories, steps, flights (vertical) and location weather. When you save the workout it gives you the option of naming the workout, one of the options is Snow Sports. Seems to work pretty well.
    I have Ski Tracks on my phone, a 6S, but not on the watch. I have the basic Series 3 watch not the cellular version. I bought the Series 3 specifically for the built in heart rate monitor.
     
  13. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I have an Apple watch but I don't use it for ski tracking. I do use it connected to Strava, but I have the 2 watch which isn't independently cellular.
    The one that is independently cellular will require its own phone plan which, depending on your phone plan, may be an extra 10-20.00/month.
     
  14. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester Industry Insider

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    Calling @Dick Tracy to the atom-powered wrist radio...

    upload_2018-9-7_8-39-25.jpeg
    upload_2018-9-7_8-37-30.jpeg
     
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  15. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    So Apple Watch 4 was announced today. Some improvements/bigger screens but didn't hear much that would indicate it would be better in this application specifically. They said battery life same as 3 not better which is a little disappointing. I think I remember hearing slightly improved battery life in GPS mode though. Still would prob go for the 4.
     
  16. Eagle93

    Eagle93 Booting up Skier

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    I have the Apple Watch Series 3 (non-cellular). Love it for notifications and alerts, occasionally use it to send a text, receive a call, or listen to music w/ BT earbuds. I can get about 2 days on the battery life with my typical usage. With that said, when I have used it for tracking activity - hiking in Yellowstone/Tetons this summer, the GPS drains the battery much faster than normal. I have not drained it all the way, but I doubt it would survive a full day of skiing with the cold affecting the battery. I use my iPhone for tracking my skiing - primarily using Trace Snow, although I've used the Rossignol and ski tracks apps in the past as well.
     
  17. firebanex

    firebanex Getting on the lift Skier

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    I've been in the Fitbit ecosystem for a while now, my wife got the new Versa watch earlier this week and it's pretty impressive for being primarily a fitness tracker with a side of smartwatch. I'm highly considering getting a fitbit iconic even though it's pretty ugly, because it has the GPS built in and it still within the fitbit ecosystem. I've been using a HR strap with all of my cycling this summer to track fitness with Stava's freshness and fitness graphs, I would like to add similar HR data from skiing this winter to make it into an overall fitness quantification. I would rather not kill my phone during the day and it would be a bit cumbersome to bring my cycling computer skiing to track everything
     
  18. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    On the apple watch 4 specs:

    Up to 6 hours outdoor workout with GPS
    Up to 5 hours outdoor workout with GPS and LTE

    So it would be close but if that's true could possibly last a typical day of skiing with not much to spare


    garmin fenix 5 gps battery life seems a lot better at 2-3x as long in gps mode


    Definitely considering the fenix 5 again, which also has GLONASS so should theoretically be more accurate than GPS only
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  19. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    ok apparently apple watch has glonass too
     
  20. Thread Starter
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    Jason Kurth

    Jason Kurth Florida Downhiller Skier

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    Also just saw there is the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. Adds tiny bit better battery life and stuff like music/pay I don't need. Also adds 3rd satellite network Galileo which could make it more accurate. $700-$800 though is crazy so would go for regular 5.
     

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