4 GPS watches for skiing (downhill, background, rando)



the snow fell in abundance this week. Then direction the mountains!


you can do more and more things with a GPS watch. Polar offers 80 different sports profiles with its watches. With Suunto, there are altogether 100! Then of course, some are rather oriented race walk, but others more outdoor. And among these, some can be used for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or ski touring.


then of course, there is no need as much info for a marathon training, but a GPS watch can bring a little more to your practice of skiing.


is already quite expensive, even in rental equipment. You can also book your equipment with Simplytoski . But for a watch GPS, better is to choose the right criteria before you buy.



the specific needs of the downhill skiing


in downhill skiing, there is really need to watch live statistics, except perhaps its speed to see how much you can get in points. Some GPS watches can automatically count the number of runs that you have made. On the other hand, there are some data that may be interesting to see the evening: speed, distance and elevation.



the specific needs of the cross-country ski


cross-country, needs are quite similar to those of running. We must know the distance, time, speed and heart rate to measure performance. So, it’s pretty simple. For the cardio, forget optical sensors and opt for a belt.



the specific needs of ski touring


without thinking, we can say that ski touring combines the needs of downhill and cross-country skiing: distance, time, speed and heart rate. In practice (I do ski touring), one needs more than that. The field where they practice the ski touring is by definition wild, so the navigation (at least a compass) can prove to be very interesting, especially a white day to find the way back to the starting point. Then, a follow-up of the atmospheric pressure and a storm alert can also help you make the decision to turn around at the right time.



note on autonomy


recording GPS, the autonomy of the GPS watches is not huge. Generally in the order of 10 hours, rather 20 for high range outdoor models. It is a parameter to take into account to avoid running after an electrical outlet for each Weekend of skiing. Sometimes, it is possible to reduce the GPS accuracy to improve the autonomy and thus to have 50, 100 or even 200 h autonomy.



the 10 criteria of the perfect GPS watch for skiing


  • measure the altitude and elevation (possibly vertical speed and the slope)

  • provides guidance on the weather (barometer): atmospheric pressure, alert storm

  • Navigation along a route (at least compass)

  • autonomy at least 10

  • robust

  • waterproof

  • gives the sunset hour Sun

  • counts the number of descents

  • backlight (to be readable at night)

  • Temperature (but requires wear the watch over the sleeve of jacket)

Suunto Ambit3 Peak – versatile


is the GPS watch acclaimed by the world of the mountain, for its precision and robustness.


features : navigation, compass, trend alert, weather storm, FusedAlti (merges GPS and the barometer elevation data), running 20 h, 30 h, 200 h, waterproof to 100 m.


data: altitude, altitude graphics, altitude, vertical speed, speed and time of sunset, temperature.


for yet more robustness, opt for the Sapphire version , which the sapphire glass is scratchproof (except talking diamond).


the bonus, it’s the heat maps on the platform Movescount . You see, for each sport, the routes borrowed by other Suunto GPS watch users. It allows to find new routes to adventure.






Suunto Ambit3 Peak €271 Bouton commander amazon

Garmin Fenix 3 – versatile


the ship Admiral Garmin, regularly updated to date since its release early 2015. This is the watch to do everything, the best GPS watch to me.


features: navigation, compass, atmospheric pressure, alert storm, running 20 h / 50 h, waterproof to 100 m.


data: altitude, altitude max, min altitude, vertical drop, vertical speed, slope, speed, max speed, time of sunset, temperature.


for yet more robustness, opt for the Sapphire version , which the sapphire glass is scratchproof (except talking diamond).



TomTom Adventurer – downhill skiing


an outdoor watch a little more funcky, with an integrated MP3 (usable with headphones). Also easier to use and less expensive.


features: navigation, compass, autonomy 11 h/24 h, waterproof 50 m, automatic detection of the ski lifts.


data: altitude, vertical drop, slope, downhill, speed, speed



Suunto Ambit3 Run – cross-country skiing


the little sister of the Peak retains its strengths (including the GPS accuracy) but loses the GPS altimeter for orientation more trail than outdoor. It is possible to create and customize sport modes. So, this is a less expensive and sufficient option for those who don’t practice cross-country skiing.


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