Winter sports are often a welcome escape from the turbulence of big business and tech. Yet over time, new technologies have revolutionized the snowsports industry. From helmet cameras to boot-fitting the industry is evolving faster than meets the eye.
Currently, several key trends are developing that could again change the industry standard as we know it.
1. Slope Analytics and Sensors
In the near future, “smart-skis” could be popular on the slopes. With sensors that translate skiing dynamics into easily readable data for the winter enthusiast, slope analytics could give valuable insights. The Slovenian ski manufacturer Elan recently developed a smart ski. Companies such as GetCarv and SnowCookie are also offering technology equivalent to a virtual ski coach.
2. New Snowsports?
Although skiing and snowboarding are two of the most common techniques of snow sliding, new concepts are always emerging. With the recent introduction of fatbiking and snowbiking, and more traditional methods such as tubing, sledding, and snowmobiling there are already many ways to enjoy the snow. Yet new startups such as Bobsla offering an electric snow-go-kart as well as SnowFeet mini skis are providing even more options.
3. Augmented Reality
In recent history Augmented Reality has taken the world by storm. Similarly, there are many opportunities for AR in snowsports. From real-time analytics to making time on the snow more of a game or social event, AR offers a different experience. The startup RideOn creates an integrated helmet and goggle AR ecosystem. Similarly, the app SKADI offers some similar AR benefits in a more traditional phone-based format. Overall AR could serve many uses in snowsports from entertainment to the integration of helpful analytics.
Being active in a variety of winter temperatures means that equipment and more specifically fit, are often tested to the limit. Companies such as ON3P, Wagner, Praxis, Folsom, and many more offer customized skis. Similarly, bootfitters such as PulseBootLab are also setting the standard for a customized fit. Although customization is a boutique market in the ski industry, the benefits are widespread and the practices may become more integrated.
Oftentimes traveling to new ski locations leads to a rough time finding appropriate gear or booking specific events. Companies such as AwayCo and OutdoorGearo are making gear more accessible. In parallel, activity booking is being revolutionized by services such as Checkyeti who make events and activities easily accessible in an online format.
As skis and snowboards get better, speeds and airtime increase, and the risk for injury often rises. Luckily, snow protection is evolving with several notable startups. Adamsfour is creating a passive rotational back protection system, while SevenTwenty is developing a new helmet. Both concepts could change action sports protection for better.
With growing customer awareness on the ecological impact of snowsports, companies are rising to the challenge. While large companies such as Patagonia are pledging to eliminate or mitigate carbon emissions by 2025, startups such as EarlyBirdSkis from Switzerland are building a more ecological ski from the ground up.
Overall, the snow sports industry is amidst exciting times with many innovative technologies in development. From wearable sensors to augmented reality integrations, there are many opportunities for making time spent on the mountain safer and more comfortable. Yet at the heart of the matter, we have and will always enjoy the snow and the outdoors while new technologies offer an added benefit.