Growing up in England, I didn’t get the opportunity to learn to ski. A handful of school trips to Europe in my early teens gave me a start in the sport, and ignited a passion, but they were just as much about pointing downhill and tucking, racing my friends, as they were about honing the finer points of ski form.
Fast forward to now, and I’ve spent the last 10 winters in Colorado, and still without taking any lessons. Skiing a hundred days a season and hanging out with buddies who are instructors and I can now ski pretty much anything, pretty well. But the art of skiing, I’ve yet to master that.
I could take lessons, but at a cost of hundreds of dollars, am reluctant to. I’m a ski bum, I don’t have that sort of cash!
Enter Snowcookie. These three little sensors (one on each ski, and one on your chest) connect to your smart phone, and analyze your skiing. Down to the milisecond. Every angle, every G-force, every carve, every turn, every single little movement, up, down, left, right, you make, they’re critiquing you. There’s no escaping their watchful eye.
It’s like having an instructor in your pocket. Every single minute of every single day you ski. For a fraction of the price.
And the data these little sensors produce is mindblowing. Stats you never even knew existed, or were even relevant, are now there for you to go out and improve on next time. Or face the wrath of your phone, telling you you’re a less than average skier.
The three snowcookies come in their own, cool carry case. They light up, to tell you they’re working, or charging, or low on battery. They quickly charge wirelessly on an inconspicuous base platform (which will also charge your phone, or other wireless charging devices).
The set-up was super easy. First, attach the mounts to each ski just infront of each binding. Then download the phone app, turn on each little device by holding the middle, and they should all then connect to the app. Attach them to your skis as instructed, wear one on your chest, then just go ski.
I would start the app recording before I got on the gondola at the start of the day, and end the session as I was clicking out of my skis and heading to the bar. I didn’t pause it or stop it running if I stopped for lunch, or the bathroom, the app was smart enough to know I was taking a break and not skiing.
Of course, like any GPS enabled device, at the end of the day you can see your top speed, your distance, the vertical you skied, and see your day on a map (or even a 3D Relive video). That’s all pretty standard stuff. However, it’s the analysis made possible by the three sensors that really makes the difference.
Let’s take a look at just some of the data provided by these amazing little sensors…
The 3 screens above all relate to my turns. The angle of my skis; balance between left and right skis; whether I carved, slid, or plowed; ratio of short to long turns (or straighlining!); the percentage of my day I spent in a turn.
As well as being super interesting, all offer areas I can improve on. A carving quality of 44% clearly needs improvement, can I get further over than 25º on my edges? Can I make more turns, 56% of my time skiing was spent straighlining (although, much of this could be attributed to the runouts to chairlifts at the bottom of runs), and I averaged 11 turns a minute.
On the 3 screens above, it looks like on this day I definitely spent way too much time in the backseat! Must get better… and only pulled a max of 2.8 Gs. Maybe that had something to do with stopping an average of 4.8 times every run. All of this data combines to give you an overall ‘score’ out of ten, where 1 is total noob, and 10 is Vonn, Miller, or Shiffrin. My score of 7 isn’t too bad (see below), and can easily be used to monitor progress throughout the season.
As an analytical data nerd (if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen), I thoroughly enjoyed using the Snowcookie, and thought the data provided was insightful and accurate, resulting in actionable changes I could introduce to make myself a better skier. As a ski bum with limited resources, paying for private lessons is not really in my budget, so being able to attach these to my skis and get real time, to the second analysis of every aspect of my skiing, proved beneficial to my skiing.
I’ll update next year once the app gives me a score of 10, and I’m on the World Circuit…