Hit the slopes with data-crunching 'smart skis'

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The Independent Online

On the slopes this year? If you have the money to spend, strap on a pair of Wagner "smart skis," which come equipped with sensors that track every nuance of your form and provide feedback on how to improve it.

On December 27, renowned science and technology magazine Wired published a review of the new high-tech planks, which come equipped with proprietary software that runs your post-skiing data so you can scrutinize your performance. The skis feature two data-crunching sensors called vLinks racing computers, favored by professional ski racers. The sensors analyze your form - from speed, slippage, imbalances, and carving technique - while providing feedback on how to improve it.

"The vLinks are essentially souped-up optical mouses that grab data 6,500 times per second to track movement spatially along X, Y, and Z axes and rotationally, capturing pitch, roll, and yaw," writes Wired in the review. The device also offers instant, on-slope feedback for carving practice by beeping in your ear via an earbud when your skis slip beyond the threshold you set.

Wagner skis offer the vLinks on their customized skis but the device is available separately on its website to attach to your old pair. The product retails for $749 (€566) and can be purchase online. To purchase the Wagner smart skis - custom-designed for your weight, strength, agility, aggressiveness, body type, boot size, preferred terrain, and goals - be prepared to shell out at least $1,800 (€1,360).

If smart skis aren't your style (yet), try a rocker ski. Known as inverted camber skis, rockers are claimed to operate as powder flotation devices. Last year rockers were spotted on the slopes but this year the trend expects to grow even more, with ski blogs and magazines widely reporting that rocker technology is here to stay. And manufacturers are developing new products to meet demand, offering rocker skis and boards that promise smoother rides through powder and back country with more maneuverability and style.

Also, many new skis and boards offer a hybrid of both camber and rocker designs. Look for K2 Hell Bent skis, which are 50 percent camber, 50 percent rocker and designed for deep snow. Price: $1,089.95 (€799) with bindings. Another popular brand is the Volkl Gotama, a rocker-inspired snowboard designed for off-piste riding and freestyle moves, priced at $825 (€604). Other models include Line Prophet 100, Salomon Shogun, and Rossignol S7.

http://www.wagnerskis.com/

http://www.advancedracingcomputers.com/vlink.html

 

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