Along with your skis (and maybe your helmet), a reliable watch is your most important piece of skiing kit. If you choose the right watch, you won’t just be able to tell the time – you’ll be able to predict the weather, navigate your way out of some tricky woodland, and even record your speed in an attempt to beat your personal best.
Whether it’s ski watches you’re looking for or watches for snowboarding, you really are spoilt for choice. Winter sports technology is a huge market and you’re sure to find something that’s perfect for you.
With all that in mind, here is our guide to the best watches for skiing and snowboarding.
What to look for in a winter sports watch: A checklist
You need a rugged, durable watch that withstands the elements and can deal with the dynamic movements involved in skiing and snowboarding. You shouldn’t have to worry about your gear standing up to the test!
Your watch should also be waterproof. When you’re skiing in a flurry of snow, you need your watch to respond to the elements and cope with exposure to water.
Although your smartphone will be able to predict the weather, it’s hardly convenient to whip out your phone (while exposing your bare hands to the freezing cold) when you’re on the slopes. Have weather data right there on your wrist, and you’ll be one step ahead of any dangerous weather.
Want an easy way to find your way back to the warmth of home? Your ski watch should be equipped with GPS technology. You’ll be able to track your route and even find new routes that you’ve not yet tackled! You’ll be much safer with GPS.
A definite must-have, especially if you’re hitting the peaks. You’ll receive detailed updates when you’re ascending or descending, and will be alerted when the altitude starts to get too high.
Now that we’ve covered your must-have features, let’s move onto the actual technology you can choose from. Winter sports is an area where you’ll find some truly advanced technology, so take a look.
The best Garmin ski watch you’ll find: The Garmin Fenix 6
The Garmin Fenix 6 is an impressive piece of kit. It has enough bells and whistles to appease the most seasoned winter sports enthusiasts while also being user-friendly enough to suit those at an intermediate level. Durable, smart, and stylish, it does everything you could ask for (and more). It’s even the first Garmin GPS watch to offer solar charging in some models.
Its intelligent GPS technology will help you find your way in the most remote locations, whether you’re in the snowy peaks or stranded in a tree-covered hinterland. Find your way around easily with over 2,000 ski resort maps worldwide. You can filter its settings according to which winter sport you prefer, be it snowboarding, skiing, or a simple hike. What’s your sport? The Garmin Fenix 6 has you covered.
It also has a built-in heart monitor so that you can assess the intensity of your laps, as well as an intuitive sleep tracker that ensures you get a healthy rest in between sessions. This watch is Garmin’s crowning achievement for winter sports so you’ll have nothing to worry about with this one.
With a price tag ranging anywhere from £699 to £899, the Garmin Fenix 6 is top-range gear. Don’t forget to take good care of it with a rugged watch case like our Peli 3x. If you’re a beginner, you might want to look elsewhere. Our next recommendation might be a better fit…
The dark horse of ski watch technology: the suunto core
A sturdy companion for all of your winter sports pursuits, the Suunto Core is reliable, smart, and affordable. It comes equipped with an altimeter, barometer, and a compass that gives you regular weather updates – with the Suunto Core, you can hit the slopes with total confidence.
You can track the progress of your ascent with the built-in altimeter while keeping an eye on the most volatile of weather with the barometer. The watch is also waterproof down to 10 metres, so providing you don’t go deep-sea diving on your ski trip you should be absolutely fine.
The Suunto Core gives you everything you could need from a winter sports watch, and with prices of up to £250 it certainly is an agreeable piece of equipment. It’s not quite as big as the Garmin Fenix 6 either, so you could definitely wear it when you’re away from the slopes. If you’re going to be saving it solely for the slopes, you’ll want to keep it safe the rest of the year-round. Check out our stylish Peli 4x watch case.
Because an Apple watch is for skiing too: The Apple Series 5
Couldn’t make it to the end of our guide without mentioning Apple, could we?! While the Apple Series 5 doesn’t explicitly market itself as a winter sports watch per se, it performs just as many of the same functions as the others in our list.
One of the best things about this watch is its versatility. It is sleek, streamlined, and wouldn’t look out of place if you wore it to a non-sports event. What’s more, you can get the most out of your skiing experience by downloading as many apps as you like. The Workout App monitors your heart, while other third-party apps create new routes for you to explore.
It comes with a beautifully bright screen, full waterproofing, and even an accelerometer that can detect physical falls. If you have an accident, the watch will determine the seriousness of your fall and will alert nearby authorities if necessary.
The Apple Series 5 costs around £429. This may seem expensive, but this is just as much a lifestyle option as it is a winter sports watch. It will also connect with your existing Apple devices, too. It’s a great all-rounder.
Round-the-clock battery life: The TomTom Adventurer
The TomTom Adventurer comes with an impressive 24hr battery life so you’re covered for a full day of skiing (it’s also favoured by snowboarders). The unique lift detection function gives you a detailed summary of the heights you reach so that you get instant bragging rights if you pull off a particularly difficult maneuver. Great for gaming your pals!
Its GPS system is one of the best you’ll find for the price. The trail exploration feature lets you plan and discover new routes while showing you the way back to the start. It’s also water resistant to 40 metres so you won’t have to worry about that.
The thing we really love about the TomTom Adventurer is its social connectivity. You can celebrate your success with friends by uploading your finish times, and you can also set yourself goals to beat. Think you’re the speediest in your group? The TomTom Adventurer lets you put your money where your mouth is!
You’ll be glad to hear that it’s affordable, too. You can get the watch for around £200-£250, so it’s a steal.
The best bet for beginners: The Casio Pro Trek PRG-300
The last on our list is a great watch for first-timers and intermediate winter sport enthusiasts. The Casio Pro Trek PRG-300 is solar-powered (you won’t have to worry about charging it), simple to use, and lightweight. This is another watch that you could wear in a non-sports environment because it looks so modern.
You can view the altitude, and find your way around the slopes with a sharp and responsive compass. It also records your laps, giving you the exact time and distance travelled so that you can beat your personal best.
Perhaps the smartest thing about this model is the solar-powered battery. The watch contains a solar cell which attracts even the weakest sunlight to charge itself. This sets the PRG-300 apart from the rest in our selection in that you don’t even have to charge it. Not only will it serve you well on the slopes, but it’s good for the environment too!
Finally, it has a built-in pressure sensor which detects changes in the atmosphere and converts those changes into an altitude of up to 10,000 meters. The PRG-300 will be your guide through the elements, and you’ll find it for just £150.
Taking care of your ski watch
There you have it, the rundown of our favourite watches for skiing and snowboarding. There are options for every skill set, whether you’re a humble beginner or a seasoned professional.
Like we said, a watch is a vital piece of your kit so you don’t want to get it wrong. What’s most important to you? What do you need from a watch? Use our checklist at the top of the article to decide for yourself.
One thing you will need, though, is a protective watch case (and maybe even a multiple watch box if you’re proud of your collection). We have a vast range of cases for your new watch – they’re so sturdy that, once your watch is in one of our cases, you can chuck it in with the rest of your gear and head off on a new and exciting expedition. Easy! For beginners, we recommend the Peli 3x watch case to really get your watch collection going. Those with a more advanced watch collection might prefer the Peli 10x or 18x watch case.