Gadgets and Tech

Best Smartwatches for Skiers

Wearable tech has gone from a nice-to-have accessory to an essential piece of gear for most skiers. Here are the best picks for the slopes.

Whether you’re ready to get in the best ski-shape of your life, want to have the best activity metrics around for your day on the ski hill, or just want to have a fancy watch that does so much more than tell time, here are our top picks for the best smartwatches for skiers.

Best Smartwatches for Skiers

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6
The Series 6 adds a blood-oxygen saturation sensor to the Apple Watch’s list of bells and whistles. Photo: Keri Bascetta

The smartwatch that needs no introduction, Apple’s new Series 6 is here with everything you expect from the Apple Watch and more. On resort days, leave your phone in your boot bag and stay connected and entertained with onboard cellular and music storage. What’s more, an altimeter and compass make the Series 6 the most backcountry-friendly Apple Watch yet.

Specs:

  • From $399
  • Blood oxygen saturation sensor
  • Brighter screen than previous models

Buy it on Amazon: Apple Watch Series 6

Suunto 7

suunto 7 smartwatch
The Suunto 7 is compatible with Android and iOS phones. Photo: Keri Bascetta

A household name in outdoor tech, Suunto’s latest smartwatch marries everything an outdoor enthusiast would want in a watch with the practicality and functionality of the latest high-tech smartwatch features. Although the tried-and-true Baro 9 is still Suunto’s choice for the backcountry skier, the Suunto 7 is the perfect all-around watch for the tech-savvy resort ripper.

Specs:

  • From $399
  • Over 70 preloaded sport modes
  • Built-in Wear OS by Google

Buy it at REI: Suunto 7

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

3rd Generation Samsung Smartwatch
The third-generation Samsung Watch is lighter and more durable than its predecessors. Photo: Keri Bascetta

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch got an overhaul with the release of the third iteration, featuring a lighter, sleeker body and bigger display backed by military-grade durability. The Galaxy Watch 3, stronger and more stylish than ever before, is designed to keep you connected on the go from the slopes to the streets.

Specs:

  • From $139
  • On-board cellular
  • Military-grade durability

Buy it on Amazon: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

FitBit Versa 3

fitbit versa 3
The value-minded FitBit Versa boasts built-in GPS and lightning-fast charging capabilities. Photo: Keri Bascetta

Sleek, functional, and affordable is the name of the game at FitBit, and the latest watch to join the Versa lineup is no exception. With built-in GPS, Google Assistant, and compatibility with popular apps like Strava and Spotify, Versa 3 is the perfect watch for the casual skier who wants to keep an eye on their fitness without breaking the bank.

Specs:

  • From $229
  • Built-in Google Assistant
  • Charges in 12 minutes

Buy it at REI: Fitbit Versa 3

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar Edition

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Smartwatch
Solar powers the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, so battery life is a problem of the past. Photo: Keri Bascetta

For the ultimate backcountry-ready smartwatch, look no further than Garmin’s new Fenix 6 Pro Solar. The proven Garmin tech beloved by outdoor enthusiasts and pros alike is now solar-powered for unparalleled battery life. Loaded with features such as ClimbPro tech and a barometric altimeter packed into a rugged, durable body, this watch is ready for any multi-day tour you throw at it.

Specs:

  • $799
  • Up to 16 days of battery life with solar charging
  • Preloaded backcountry-specific apps

Buy it at REI: Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar

Best Bang for the Buck

If you don’t need the latest or the greatest, consider one of these time-tested (pun intended) smartwatches—earlier-gen technology that’s half the spend but guaranteed to perform on the slopes.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy smartwatch
The Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch looks pretty in pink. Photo: Courtesy of Samsung

The Galaxy Watch is an appealing option for Android devotees who want phone interfacing accompanied by a bigger watch face (42 and 46mm) and great battery life. As for ski-friendly features, an altimeter tracks your vertical, and the watch is fully waterproof to 160 feet. Bonus: You can customize your watch face with literally hundreds of options, many of them free.

Specs:

  • From: $599
  • OS: Tizen Based Wearable OS 4.0
  • Compatibility: Android or iPhone
  • Internal Memory: 4GB
  • Battery life: Up to 6 days

Buy it on Amazon: Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus
The Garmin Fenix 5X Plus includes a pulse oximeter for high altitude endeavors (and better sleep metrics). Photo: Keri Bascetta

This member of the Fenix series offers all the skier-oriented features, plus a few new ones. In addition to tracking every mile traversed and vertical foot descended, the 5X Plus adds a pulse oximeter to record blood oxygen levels at altitude. Switch it into Downhill Ski mode, and all your ski metrics are automatically recorded, including the time, distance, vertical, and speed.

Specs:

  • From $599
  • OS: Tizen Based Wearable OS 4
  • Compatibility: Android or iPhone
  • Internal Memory: 16GB
  • Battery life: Up to 20 days

Available on Amazon: Garmin Fenix 5X Smartwatch

FitBit Versa

FitBit Versa
The FitBit Versa is so much more than that little plastic FitBit from 2016. Photo: Keri Bascetta

Fitbit’s top-of-the-line smartwatch is equipped with everything you need to measure your stats on the slopes including an altimeter, barometer, GPS, SpO2 pulse-ox sensor, and an activity app that tracks 15 pastimes. It also has ample battery life and a great entry-level price point for those not wanting to pony up big bucks for a Garmin, Suunto, or Samsung. A solid choice for skiers wanting to test the smartwatch waters.

Specs:

  • From $179
  • OS: FitBit OS
  • Compatibility: Android, iPhone, Windows
  • Internal Memory: 4GB
  • Battery life: Four-plus days

Buy it on Amazon: FitBit Versa 

Suunto 9 Baro Black

Sunnto 9 Baro Black
The Suunto 9 Baro lets you know just how long the battery will last before starting any activity. Photo: Keri Bascetta

Seeing your smartwatch die before lunch can ruin a ski day. That’s why the Suunto 9’s intelligent battery provides an estimate on how long the watch will last in sport mode before you begin, and can prolong battery use for especially long events—up to 120 hours fully charged. Add in a heart-rate monitor, barometer, and location tracking system that combines GPS and motion sensors, and the 9 is a perfect companion for the slopes and beyond.

Specs:

  • From $599
  • OS: Suunto App or Movescount
  • Compatibility: Android or iPhone
  • Battery life: Up to 120 hours

Buy it on Amazon: Suunto 9 Baro 

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch 3 with upgradable wrist strap. Photo: Keri Bascetta

The Series 3’s sleek look and touchscreen interface make for an ideal ski companion. Third-party apps, such as snoww and Slopes, utilize the altimeter to record ski stats in real-time, and the built-in GPS allows skiers to track location and find friends on the mountain. The Series 6 (from $399) adds a larger display (40 and 44mm) and ECG compatibility to track heart rhythm.

Apple Watch Series 3 Specs

  • From $279
  • OS: WatchOS 5
  • Compatibility: iPhone
  • Internal Memory: from 8GB
  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours

Buy it on Amazon: Apple Watch Series 3