GPS are slowly becoming ubiquitous in our cars, but the last place you expect to see a GPS unit is on the slopes when you go skiing. That was until Navman decided to go all sporty on us. The Navan R300 Ski is a GPS unit for the slopes. Apart for the new active range of units the company is aiming to provide sports fans detailed statistics, Why, I hear you ask? Why not?
Breaking away from the walking or running units, the ski unit offers all you could want from a tracking device on the slopes; current, maximum, average speed, and distance, Downhill distance skied only (lift time suppressed) and Current altitude and cumulative altitude difference. Wearing the device is similar to the other models in the range. You simply strap the red triangle shaped unit around your left arm and after around 60 seconds you are logged on to 25 satellites 20,000 miles above you.
As the name implies it is a Ski tool aimed at the skier in training for something - racing, cross country or more for the gadget obsessed merely to give you something to talk about in the bar that evening.
For us the most shocking of the stats the unit produced was the actual time skied result. Here the unit measures the actual time you spent going downhill, rather than having lunch or being on a ski lift. In our tough tests on the slopes in Lake Tahoe we put in what we thought was a good day’s skiing; 9.30am to 3.30pm with an 45 min lunch break, however the R300 was there to tell us differently, our total ski time was only 1.5 hours - frightening.
For us Brits it's hard to see that you'll get much use out of this on a yearly basis. Yes, having the device on my arm was useful to a point, but when you're on holiday you aren't really that fussed with how fast you're going or how long you've skied for.
From a training point of view it would be much better and like a bike computer or a Navman's GPS option for running give you a decent set of stats so you can learn and improve. A wrist-based display might be a better solution however - it's one thing looking at the device when your on a walk or a run, its another when the moguls are appearing out of nowhere in front of you. Good but not for the occasional skier.