There is a decidedly high tech movement afoot on the ski slopes this season. First, we saw stat tracking and social networking brought to the mountains courtesy of RFID tags embedded in lift tickets in Colorado and now we have a set of high tech goggles that incorporate GPS functionality, a tiny LCD display, and a multitude of other features that will keep you in the know while playing in the snow.
The new Transcend Goggles from Zeal Optics incorporate a GPS chip that keeps track of speed, distance traveled, vertical drop, direction and location. That data can be examined on the LCD screen, which is mounted in the lower right hand corner of the goggle frames. The screen also displays the current time, temperature, altitude, and so on. Data is stored in an on board memory chip and can be uploaded to your computer later in order to measure progress and performance gains. The GPS tracking can also plot your tracks on Google Maps as well.
The new goggles are available now and come in two flavors, with the style of lens being the only difference. The “basic” model includes polarized lenses and costs $399 while the $499 models offer polarized and photochromatic lens, which provide even more protection for your eyes on those sunny days on the slopes. Both models also include built in lithium batteries that are good for seven hours of use between charges.
While I haven’t had a chance to try these goggles personally, they do look like the would be a lot of fun to use. It is amazing how technology had pervaded so far into our favorite outdoor pursuits, but when it is used in a unique and interesting way, it can really be a useful enhancement to the experience. These goggles look like they fall solidly into that category.