A Ski Watch for All Occasions
old watches are both on their last leg, just begging to be replaced. One
is a regular street watch, a sturdy little Casio G-Shock watch Iíve
had for 20 years, water resistant to 200 meters, so I have even taken it
diving without a problem.
The other is an
altimeter watch, a discontinued Avocet that I use for skiing,
because it automatically counts the number of runs in a day and the total
vertical feet. There is a newer, Avocet II on the market now, with a
longer-lasting battery. These are still the most skier-friendly watches. One
big problem is that they are not meant to be worn on your wrist as an
everyday watch, and they are not very water-proof. Sure, the will resist a
bit of rain, but don't go swimming with it.
But, rather than buying two new watches, wouldnít it be great if there was a single watch that can do it all? A watch I can take everywhere, both
diving and skiing. I donít want to leave an expensive watch unattended on
the beach, or on the boat, when I go diving or snorkeling. Instead, I want a
sturdy but elegant watch that I can take everywhere with me.
Ideally, here are the features we'd like to
have in a real skierís watch:
1. Timepiece, to simply tell time.
2. Alarm, to wake us up in the morning.
3. Countdown timer (so it beeps after, say, 5 minutes, to time an
event and warn us when time is up.
4. Stopwatch, so we can time events that we donít know how long they
5. Altimeter, to tell altitude, number of runs skied, and total
6. Barometer, to provide an insight into weather trends and warn me
of an incoming storm.
7. Compass, to tell us where north is.
8. Clinometer, to tell you how steep the slope is (in degrees), and
also to calculate the true ground speed. If you know how much vertical you
descended in a certain amount of time, and you know the slopeís average
angle, itís simple trigonometry to calculate the actual ground speed in
miles per hour, and the formula is built into the watch, so it does it
9. Solar powered, so you donít have to change batteries every few
years, when you least expect it!
10. Water resistant to 200 meters, so you can take it everywhere.
Weíll never dive that deep, but the watch needs to be truly waterproof. When
you swim and splash around, the pressure on the watch is a lot higher than
it is if the watch is just sitting at rest at a certain depth. Water
resistant to 100 meters is not enough.
Does a watch like this exist? Well, almost! All these features are already
available, but not yet in one single watch. Beware! Many watches have
altimeters that can tell you the altitude, but do not provide cumulative
totals or the number of runs. Some watches, like the Casio Pathfinder PAG80,
claim they keep track of cumulative ascent or descent, but what they mean is
that you have to start a new "session" by clicking a button every time you
begin another ascent or descent. That's a cumulative total suitable for
climbers, not skiers.
Some Casio and
Suunto watches come close to perfection, but each misses some important
See the pros and cons below. Write to either or both of these manufacturers and let them know
that millions of skiers are just waiting for a watch with all of these
Tell Casio we need simple skierís cumulative totals.
Tell Suunto weíd like solar powered watches.
Tell both of them we need a 200 m. waterproof watch.
Casio G-Shock G2300-9V
but no ski features.
Shock-resistant, water resistant to 200 meters. Solar powered, recharged
by any light source, works for 6 months in total darkness.
CONs: No ski features in any G-shock models. No altimeter. No
Casio Pathfinder PAG80
features, but not for skiers.
PROs: All Pathfinders are solar
powered. Has a Compass and Altimeter.
CONs: It's big. Mediocre water
resistance (100m). Records too many details, graphs, sessions , but no
simple cumulative totals (number of runs, or vertical skied).
skiers' watch, but not sturdy or solar. Connects with a computer so you
can save your complete skiing history. This is probably overkill, not
really needed by skiers.
PROs: Best ski watch so far. Total
runs, vertical & ground speed. Has a Clinometer and a Compass.
CONs: Too plain looking. Jagged display. Too many features,
graphs, computer connectivity. Water to only 100m. No solar power.
Sept. 2007, Simpler than the S6. Has no computer connection, but it does
have the skiers' essentials.
PROs: Simpler than the S6. Has
cumulative totals, but no graphs & no PC connection. Has a Compass and
CONs: Water resistant to only 30
meters (the worst of the bunch). Rain is OK, but donít swim with it. No
clinometer. No solar power.
NOTE: Most Suunto watches have the following
1. The alarm on Suunto watches may not be loud
enough to wake you. This may have been done on purpose. A weaker alarm means
the battery will last longer.
2. Replacement wrist bands for Suunto watches
WHAT TO DO
If you want that perfect ski watch, send your
desired list of features to both Suunto and Casio. Ask them to forward your
email/letter to those in charge of designing new watches. Compliment Casio
on their solar powered watches, but ask them why they are so completely
ignoring skiers and snowboarders. There are more skiers and
snowboarders in the world than there are mountain climbers.
Casio: Casio America, Inc.
570 Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Dover, NJ 07801.
Feedback contact form:
Suunto: Suunto USA, Inc.
Ogden, UT 84401.
Phone: 800- 543-9124