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We get it: The idea of having too much tech in the backcountry makes a lot of people cringe. After all, we go out there to get off our phones, wean our eyes off screens and literally unplug. But what if we told you there were a handful of battery-operated items that could actually enhance your time at the resort or on the skin track? Whether your loved one is taking lessons on the bunny slope or dropping big couloirs in the backcountry, these are the tech gifts your favorite skier will want to make their off-the-grid experience even better.
Garmin fēnix 6X Pro Solar Smartwatch
It’s a lot easier to avoid getting in over your head when the trail map is strapped to your wrist. The fēnix 6X Pro Solar comes preloaded with 2,000 ski resort maps including inbounds trail names and difficulties. It also includes full topographic maps and GPS navigation capabilities literally within an arm’s reach, so you never miss a turn. Plus, real-time elevation tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and a ton more features are easily-accessible on the go. Its 1.4” Power Glass™ lens uses sunlight to extend battery life for off-grid adventures.
Black Diamond JetForce UL Avalanche Airbag Pack
Thanks to a blend of argon gas and CO2 to provide a strong initial blast, the JetForce can blow open its 150-liter airbag in under five seconds, keeping you safe if you find yourself in the middle of a torrent of snow. Plus, the sealed cartridges are travel-friendly, so you can take the bag on the road. And the super-light 26-liter bag still has enough room for your avalanche safety gear and enough essentials for a full day on the skin track.
Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger
Keep everything juiced on longer days and overnight hut trips with this high-output 1-pound power pack. Recharge your headlamp, phone, and more again and again without the need for carrying a solar panel thanks to the Venture 70’s 17,700 mAh of power. A waterproof and dustproof IP67 design keeps it from frying when the snow falls and a ruggedized rubber design means a drop is no big deal.
Outdoor Tech Chips Ultra Helmet Headphones
Drop these completely wireless speakers into your audio-compatible ski helmet and pump up the tunes. Connect them to a bluetooth device (like your Garmin fenix 6) for clean sound with a big bass while you rip groomer laps. A single big button on each ear makes them easy to operate with gloves or mittens still on and a built-in microphone means you can even take a phone call (or more likely choose to ignore it) from the top of the chair.
inReach Mini Two-way Satellite Messenger from Garmin
No product is as valuable as your loved one’s safety, which is why the inReach Mini is every concerned friend’s favorite gift to give and every skier’s favorite gift to get. The two-way satellite communicator lets off-grid adventurers send and receive text messages and location updates, get weather reports, and communicate with rescuers if anything were to go wrong (subscription required). From saving people with injuries to lost tracks to avalanches, this device can quite literally be a life saver. Pairing the inReach with the fēnix 6 smartwatch lets you see incoming messages at a glance, as well as send preset messages and more right from your wrist. You don’t have to worry about being within range of a cell tower or encountering spotty coverage.
If you spend any time in the mountains, the Peakfinder App is critical. The augmented reality app lets you hold your phone up to the horizon and identify the mountains you can see from that spot. Look at the horizon on-screen using a sketch-like black and white outline of the peaks, or overlay the peaks on your camera to make picking them out easy. Plus, the app works completely offline and even lets you choose a different peak or spot to preview the view before you even get there.