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Smartwatches for skiing (Garmin Fenix)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@kitenski, I was able to view your activity - thanks for sharing. I can't see total vert drop in the summary, can you see it on your side? I can see vert drop in the Laps view though and overall it is quite good. Your HR is very low - is that with a HRM strap or does the 935 have a wrist HR sensor? Finally, does the watch auto-pause if you stop mid-[ski]run to rest for lunch?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Ozboy, not on Strava, but you do get more stats on Garmin Connect. That track was taken with the 935 with built in HR on the wrist, as I said I don't find "normal" skiing exerting at all, hence the low HR. I can hit 190 HR cycling up some Yorkshire hills!

The Garmin manual for the 935 says

Quote:
Your device records the details of each skiing or snowboarding run using the auto run feature. This feature is turned on by default for downhill skiing and snowboarding. It automatically records new ski runs based on your movement. The timer pauses when you stop moving downhill and when you are on a chairlift. The timer remains paused during the chairlift ride. You can start moving downhill to restart the timer. You can view run details from the paused screen or while the timer is running.

Start a skiing or snowboarding activity.
Hold .
Select View Runs.
Select UP and DOWN to view details of your last run, your current run, and your total runs.
The run screens include time, distance traveled, maximum speed, average speed, and total descent.


Below is what Garmin Connect shows, and then below that a short run I did around Ischgl straight after skiing so you can see the wrist HR does work!



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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@kitenski, thanks for mentioning the 935 A’s was not aware of this. I read DC Rainmaker’s review and it seems identical to the Fenix 5 and includes wifi as standard. I will try to see them in the flesh to compare but I am leaning to the 935 as it will not be my everyday watch - only to wear on skiing trips and when cycling away from home.
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@Ozboy, yup the 935 is basically the Fenix 5 plastic Smile

If you have a nice cup of tea and a spare few minutes......

Oh and if you are a wiggle regular shopper, their loyalty discount helps on the 935 Smile

https://forums.garmin.com/forum/into-sports/running/forerunner-935-aa/155134-

https://forums.garmin.com/forum/into-sports/running/forerunner-935-aa/1308298-fenix-5-vs-fenix-5s-vs-forerunner-935
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Got a fenix 5 and used it last week for recording skiing - actually found SkiTracks on my (android) phone appeared to be more accurate.. a mitigating factor though: fenix was on my wrist, under at least a base and mid layer, GTX shell and cuffs of Hestra gloves so not sure how good GPS/GLONASS signals were whereas phone was in chest pocket of shell. The fenix seemed to record more false locations than skitracks too (i.e. big jumps off to one side) I take this to be because both the signal was interfered with by clothing and also maybe much faster location refresh rate on the watch than the phone...? Also, skitracks recorded MUCH higher top speed on an empty red run (we were out v. early with a guide hammering it round to where we wanted to be before the lifts opened properly..) than the fenix so that's what really matters!

Got the watch mainly for cycling and open water swimming though (where it is much more accurate than the phone - cycling at any rate, not swum with the phone!)
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@jma, skitracks on phones is notorious for massively over reading the speeds.....
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@kitenski, is it? I had no idea...
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@jma, This is good to know. Is your recording mode set to every second or the the slower 'smart' mode? (not sure what it is called).
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@Ozboy, @jma, read my garmin forum links above, sadly the Fenix 5 seems to have lots of issues with GPS, some speculate it's down to the metal body.
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@kitenski, @jma, I am most likely going for the 935 (birthday coming up in April Madeye-Smiley ) Just want to see each one in the flesh first.

@kitenski, have you have any GPS signal issues under your ski layers?
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Ozboy wrote:
@kitenski, have you have any GPS signal issues under your ski layers?


Not that I've noticed, not really worried about it though Laughing
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
If anyone’s interested I’m selling my fenix 3 sapphire. Only because someone unexpectedly bought me a 5X for xmas. £200 delivered to a snowhead. In good nick with box and charger. Good for skiiing, even better for running.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
@Markymark29,
Quote:

Agreed, I don't know why people want to map where they've been - its a bit like all the people who go to gigs and record using their mobile phone, just watch it! The memories are much more relevant than looking at a bunch of data or a video clogging up the phone.


I agree. I actually don't have any problem with recording the routes, as long as one appreciates that 99% of the data will be incredibly dull. The only things that are of any vague interest are:

1. "Surprised we skiied so far today. Much more than Tuesday"
2. "Did we really ski Jerusalem five times today? Blimey, so we did!"
3. "My top speed is faster than yours" Embarassed Embarassed


You old curmudgeons obviously havn't been introduced to "Relive"
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ozboy wrote:
Currently thinking if getting a Fenix 5 mainly for skiing but also to use with gym spin bikes when I travel (to supplement my Garmin 520). The appeal is to to incorporate my skiing days into my overall fitness metrics held in TrainingPeaks. (I am a cycling data geek)

Could someone let me know if its worth getting the 5X over the 5 and also if opting for the Sapphire glass is necessary - is the normal glass sufficiently scratch resistant?

@endoman, How does the garmin deal with lifts - does it auto-pause for the entire uphill journey or it is logged as a separate Lap? Furthermore how does Strava plot the lifts if the garmin is paused for the uphill, does Strava automatically draw a straight line between the end or one run and the start of a new run which I assume mucks up the stats for distance and vertical drop skiied?


Don't know about the 5X, Ive had the 5 for a while and where the case has taken a beating the glass is like new. Sapphire every time especially with a monster like the Fenix strapped on

Not sure if the GPS pauses on lifts Ive mapped lifts with definite kinks and as for heli bumps... rolling eyes

Anyone out there tried to put together a custom widget for touring? got a whole bundle of questions on that
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Ozboy, it's set in smart mode. To be fair, it's much more reliable than the phone when cycling and other activities - but it has view of the sky (or at most 1 layer of clothing) then. Also, looking back, the worst location problems were when I did a guided off piste route down a couloir and deep valley surrounded by high cliffs so they may have interfered too. Overall, I'm very happy with the fenix 5 - but ski tracking is very much a bonus feature rather than core function.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Super Steezy wrote:


Anyone out there tried to put together a custom widget for touring? got a whole bundle of questions on that


I think I ended up using the XC country ski for touring so it would keep recording the "ups" (this was with a Fenix 3 I had at the time)

https://www.strava.com/activities/524680409

and a quick google found this (no idea if it's any good, let us know if you try it!!)

https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/3d367f94-896a-438c-bcff-973c9080a8d3
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I didn't notice any GPS issues with my 935 when using it for skiing. @Ozboy, as long as you're happy with the plastic look/feel, I can't imagine you'd have any regrets if you went for it – I love mine!

Off-topic observation: the Garmin software seems to be updated fairly regularly, which is encouraging, and some of those updates have significantly improved the smartwatch features (e.g. you can now delete emails from the watch when notifications come through, which wasn't an option when I first bought mine last year and was one thing that I missed from my old Android Wear watch – very handy when you see a 'junk'-type email flash up). I still haven't come across any real issues/bugs after using it continuously as a smartwatch, tracking GPS activities a minimum of three times a week, for nearly a year – touch wood!
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i sit firmly in the Puzzled camp.

i go snowboarding to get away from all that cr&p, i've got zero interest in knowing how fast, far, how many pistes, how many lifts etc.

keep technology out of skiing/snowboarding, resorts are slowly becoming theme parks on ice with people being funnelled down slopes checking go pro's, watches and phones on the way back up to check performance and statistics Sad
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@kitenski, @jma, We’ve had this discussion several times before about whether ski tracks over-reads but nobody has really provided any credible evidence to support that theory. The main argument seems to be that nobody could be skiing at 80kmh or 100kmh, and yet we have plenty of evidence from speed traps and Strava detail above that people DO regularly ski at that speed. I’ve tested it against car speedometers and other satnav devices and it’s always been within 1-2mph of the other devices. All gps can throw up the occasional anomaly, but even when I’ve delved into the actual gps data file there are very few outliers. I wouldn’t swear to it being 100% accurate but I do think it’s pretty close and no worse than any other gps tracker.
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@foxtrotzulu, We do - in Tignes they had a speed challenge with speed traps using all the race tech, ski tracks and the like were over reading by about 25-30%. I am sure they are getting better but I have heard a lot of bar talk of how they did 105kph, to which my reply was did you fall out of the cable car?
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chocksaway wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, We do - in Tignes they had a speed challenge with speed traps using all the race tech, ski tracks and the like were over reading by about 25-30%. I am sure they are getting better but I have heard a lot of bar talk of how they did 105kph, to which my reply was did you fall out of the cable car?


Interesting. Two questions:
1. Were the measurements taken on the same basis? I.e a speed gun captures speed at a specific moment while ski tracks captures peak speed at an unspecified moment during the run.
2. You mention ‘ski tracks and the like’. What were the like? Other gps devices like Garmin or something different?
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j4meseaton wrote:
I've got a Fenix 3 and was spot on for skiing last year. it's a great watch for all round sport and has apps on it for skiing.

I've got an Apple Watch 3 too - it's good for basic sport tracking but not as good as the Garmin for more serious stuff!

I'm actually going to take both skiing - probably put the Fenix in my bag to track and upload to Strava, Phone in inside pocket and Apple Watch for taking calls when on the lift!


What are the differences between a Garmin/Suunto and an Apple Watch 3? Don’t they both have GPS etc?
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To be honest, I'm not really concerned with the accuracy of the speed as I assume it's not going to be particularly reliable - from either a phone or a Garmin - when there's such a huge range of speeds. I just like seeing where I've been overlayed on a map. I'm fairly sure I wasn't going 108km/h though! I was doing big carved turns down an empty and not particularly steep red run - and yes, the guide did say he'd need to put some rocks in his pack to keep up with me (but that has more to do with him being, well, a guide and 7 stone wet through and me being a prop forward!) However I'm on mid fat all mountain skis with edges than haven't been touched in 25+ days skiing and didn't feel anywhere near the limit so you tell me if I was going nearly as fast as Aksel Svindal!

As I said above, overall I found SkiTracks to be more accurate than the Garmin. Maybe I should qualify that with it actually being more representative of the days skiing - including uplifts etc - and I suspect that is because SkiTracks is designed to be a ski app and has better (or simply more ski-appropriate) backend processing of the data it receives than Garmin or Strava (including the speed X 2 multiplier!) - if someone produces a ski-specific app that the Garmin can send the data to, that would be a better comparison.
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@foxtrotzulu, The speed gun was capturing speeds at the fastest point, ie just before the bottom of a perfectly pisted Trolles.
'And the like' referred to other Apps.

My view is the speed gun on a men's downhill at the fastest point is normally between 125 and 130 kph. Yes there are extremes (Johan Clarey's record is one). These are elite athletes on water injected slopes with highly tuned and waxed skis and wearing little more than a thick condom. To suggest your average overweight Brit on hire skis and wearing baggy kit comes within 20kph of this is fanciful - a bit like saying your average 40 year old can run the 100m in 11.7 secs.
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@chocksaway, well summed up sir!
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Have the Garmin 5s as needed a multisport watch. Not a sapphire screen but not yet scratched - and has been truly abused in the sea, gym, mud, rain and hot tub! Have got the triathlon heart monitor as well - although the wrist monitor seems fairly accurate up to about 155bpm if I'm doing spin threshold sessions not sure that it is as accurate above this!!

The 5s not quite such a monster in size - I have wrists like twigs - but I can still read all the bits I need to with out my specs... Embarassed

Used it skiing this year and got some lovely maps in Garmin connect - especially when we were heliskiing - and more data than I would ever look at. Very happy with it, and much more intuitive than the 910xt that I had before...

It does draw a straight line for the lifts, but separates these out from skiing, and also vertical skied and distance. Have far more info than I would ever look at in Garmin connect/strava etc.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Sat 24-02-18 21:45; edited 1 time in total
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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chocksaway wrote:
... To suggest your average overweight Brit on hire skis and wearing baggy kit comes within 20kph of this is fanciful - a bit like saying your average 40 year old can run the 100m in 11.7 secs.

+1

I think you need to sit in the bunker on a speed ski course and watch a few people go past before you can really appreciate what speed is like.

If the overweight holiday skiers with their electronic devices are so hugely quick then why aren't they winning races and breaking records? And I don't mean records for gullibility.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
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Reviving this thread from earlier this year as I am about to add the Garmin 935 to my Christmas wish list but wondering amid anything better has come out this year? Looking to use it for general mountain activities and skiing. Want it mostly for fitness data to complement regular bike training.
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You know it makes sense.
Ozboy wrote:
Reviving this thread from earlier this year as I am about to add the Garmin 935 to my Christmas wish list but wondering amid anything better has come out this year? Looking to use it for general mountain activities and skiing. Want it mostly for fitness data to complement regular bike training.

Not really. 935 or Fenix 5S (they're the same bar the case) are still top of the class. Can even detect when you’re on a lift vs actually skiing.
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The fenix 5 plus range has added music Inc Spotify as well as maps if that's important?

Still can't beat the 935 for features, price and weight though in my view.
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@kitenski, I definitely prefer the 935 over the Fenix.
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Father Christmas brought me a Garmin 935. Very impressed so far, used for running as a all day ‘fitbit’ on steroids.

Planning to use it skiing in a weeks time and wondering if the GPS works under jacket sleeve?
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@Ozboy, yes mine worked fine under multiple layers last week
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I got an Apple Watch 4 for Chrimbo. Snoww works pretty well for tracking ski days.



It records all the usual data but I'm not sure if it syncs with Strava (which I leave for cycling and rowing).
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Suunto Ambit Peak & HRM - can configure watch for many activities and then set specific relevant screens (scrolling or not) for each activity.

Can also specify auto pause for each activity.

I use it for Cross Country skiing and ski touring as well as piste skiing but that is more for diary purposes as well as being able to tell the time Laughing

Obviously all uploads to Strava.

For the bike I then switch to Garmin Edge 1000 but still can use watch as a backup.

This is a good example of a tough ski tour, 37 kick turns deep powder so HR high!

https://www.strava.com/activities/2013511877
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Some good deals to be had

https://www.sportpursuit.com/sales/gps-watches-090118
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@Weathercam, Thanks for sharing the Strava link - great pics... and I cant wait to get my first ski of the season next weekend. If only Garmin could make their bike computers as reliable as their watches. I recently made the switch to the Wahoo Element Bolt for the bike and will never go back to Garmin. Highly recommended if you start running into trouble with your 1000.

There are also currently some great deals on the Garmin 735XT at £230 with HRM strap. Has most of the 935 features as far as I can tell.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Ozboy, funny as I got a Wahoo element and sent it back, much preferred the Garmin! Better routing, better maps and the ability to store multiple custom workouts were the 3 things the Garmin did much better on the bike!

735 doesn't have a barometer, which may or may not be a deal breaker for skiers!
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@kitenski, thanks for clarifying re 735 - yes not much point without a barometer.

Interesting you didn’t like the wahoo - most of my mates have also switched away. I don’t use it for navigation but I find zooming in and out of maps much easier than 520, battery life is great and most importantly it does not hang mid ride (I do very long rides 200k plus) or break after some firmware upgrades. I build my workouts in TrainingPeaks and it integrates seamlessly and guides me through the intervals using power.
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@Ozboy, for free users of TrainingPeaks you can only sync that days workouts, so I always had a "warm-up" workout prior to a TT, if I forgot to sync that day, it never showed up! Garmin allows me to store loads of workouts on the device so I can just pick and chose. I think the Wahoo also can't re-route you if you go off track??

To be honest most Garmin hangs are due to some corruption during a firmware update, a master reset usually fixes it...I did C2C in a day, 250km with a Garmin 1000 that worked fine.

But I loved the LEDs on top of the Wahoo for keeping me in certain zones.

Anyhow enjoy the skiing and the 935 Smile Mine almost lasted 2 days, but often died towards the end of the 2nd day, so I'd recommend charging each night. Probably didn't help that it was -13 at the bottom and colder up top!

Sample 935 trace (not sure if this is private and thus you can't see it?? ) https://www.strava.com/activities/2050703969
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