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When the temps have dipped below freezing and the wind is biting—either sitting on a chairlift or skinning the last few steps to a drop-in—having what you need at your fingertips becomes even more critical. Anything you need to take your gloves off to access or do could literally cost you the ends of your digits. Thankfully, a wrist-mounted supercomputer like the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro has made keeping your gloves on a whole lot easier. Capable of navigating, entertaining, increasing efficiency, and even helping keep you safe, the latest installment of the fēnix line is crammed with so many features, sensors, and smart software, it’s a miracle it hangs lightly enough from your wrist to be forgotten as you point your tips down and push off.
Ski Area Maps within Arms’ Reach
Let’s face it: Constantly taking out a folded piece of paper in a snowy environment to reference a map at every intersection is a recipe for disaster while skiing. Strapping a trail map to your wrist so you can reference it as often as you need, and pinpointing your position on it, makes staying on route and within your ability levels a whole lot easier. The fēnix 6 Pro comes preloaded with maps for more than 2,000 ski resorts worldwide so you can quickly know exactly which run you’re on and how difficult it is, so you never get in over your head.
In the backcountry, topographic maps make identifying nearby peaks or picking the right direction at a trail intersection as easy as lifting your arm. The watch uses three global navigation satellite systems (the standard GPS satellite array, GLONASS, and Galileo) to give you a better location fix in challenging environments and weather conditions, so you always know exactly where you are.
Expertly Plan for Upcoming Climbs
On a tour, getting advance notice before the trail begins climbing or descending, seeing your progress toward the summit, and gauging the steepness of a trail can all help you plan your effort for the day. It becomes easier to choose the best place for a lunch break, where to throw the skins on and off, and when to kick it into high gear for the summit push. The fēnix 6 gives you an easy-to-read profile of your day’s mission. It shows you where you are on the climb, gives you data about how much more you have to go, as well as stats on your climbing rate.
Elevation is the silent killer. It’s easy to forget that you drove from sea level to 5,000 feet and then headed even higher up a mountain in a single day—at least until the headaches and exhaustion kick in. The Pulse Ox sensor in the fēnix 6 bounces beams of light onto your wrist to gauge how well your body is absorbing the oxygen in the atmosphere and how well acclimated you are to the elevation. It simplifies decision making around how much elevation to gain, when you’ve gone high enough for today, or when you should maybe just be drinking more water.
Safety and Tracking
Nothing will ever replace a dedicated two-way satellite messenger (like the inReach Mini from Garmin) when you’re off the grid, but if your watch senses an accident like a fall while skiing inbounds, it will automatically send a message to your emergency contacts via the Garmin Connect app on your phone. Cell service is required, but if you’re hurt or unconscious and are unable to call for help yourself, your watch could take over to keep you safe. You can also pair your fēnix 6 with an inReach device so your watch can display messages received on your inReach and send messages using its satellite communication technology. Plus, beyond sending a notification to your emergency contacts, you can trigger an SOS alert to contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team.
No Phone Required
No friends on power days. That means get your helmet on, turn up the tunes, and zone everything but your skis and the snow. On cold days, leave your phone stowed safely inside your jacket and control the music coming through your Bluetooth speakers or earbuds using only your watch. Store up to 2,000 songs onboard from a handful of compatible services like Spotify or Amazon Music, then leave your phone in the lodge and DJ your own ski edit live.