Industry News

Tech Trends Coming Soon to a Mountain Town Near You

June 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Technology is changing the way we ski, ride, bike, hike, and live in the mountains. Whether you’re for or against it, the industry is rolling out more and more gadgets to help you hack your fitness, find your way, and share your experiences with the world. Luckily, these gadgets aren’t limited to that guy we’ve all seen shouting into his Bluetooth earpiece on the trail; some of today’s outdoor technology is very cool and is meant to augment your experience, not annoy everyone around you.


Software is the New Softgood

It has become clear that we’ve only begun to tap the potential of mobile apps, and the best ones seem to combine the capabilities of their predecessors. Take Yonder, a map-based app that allows you to view photos, share beta, and see who’s been where you’re going. It’s as if Mountain Project and Instagram had a baby, and it’s got Tinder’s nose.

Old standbys like STRAVA are also seeing growth beyond their traditional cycle and run markets with casual athletes logging their hikes, swims, and even rows. With new partnerships with brands like POC and Fitbit, STRAVA’s Personal GPS/Social platform adds a safety element and some super-powerful health tracking capabilities that go way beyond heart rate.

Hardgoods Become Hardware

Gone are the days when you had to be a pro athlete to garner the attention of the media; now we create our own followings. Social media is flooded with our cats, our #selfies, and really inspirational stories about everyday people doing amazing things in the mountains. Once we carried cheap disposable cameras or huge DSLRs into the backcountry. Now, we go forth armed with versatile, lightweight HD cameras and smartphones with photo-taking capabilities and fashionable filters that turn our homemade snaps into works of Insta-art. 

The GoPro Hero 4 boasts a whole host of features including a speedy new processor, wifi and bluetooth capabilities— which can turn your smartphone into a remote, help you view your shots, and allow you to share it all to your social media without ever touching a computer. For the photographer just hoping to boost the quality of their photos on the go, there are also a variety of lens attachments (like the affordable Olloclip 4 In One) that vastly improve the capabilities of smartphone cameras. With so many tools out there, any intrepid local artist or athlete can–and do–generate a worldwide following. Brands are taking notice of these grassroots influencers, trading free gear for the honor of appearing in their photos and on their blogs.

The Future of the Outdoors

Augmented reality is being heralded the future of technology, and heads up displays are their most natural application. Rather than pulling out your phone or Garmin to check your reps, a HUD will display that very same information at a glance–right in the corner of your eye. Sounds like something out of Iron Man, but it’s closer than you think. In fact, it’s already here.

Since the introduction of Google Glass, we’ve been waiting to see a personal heads up display (HUD) done well—and affordably. Oakley’s Airwave goggles is functional, but not exactly cost-effective to most of the skiers and riders interested in the latest technology. GogglePal, out of Silicon Valley, aims to bring the first universally compatible HUD to the market, which means it will attach to the goggles you already own, instead of paying for new ones along with the gadget. Featuring social sharing, maps, health and fitness trackers, and messaging, GogglePal may shake up the HUD scene.

Here to Stay

All these gadgets can be exciting or intimidating, depending on what you like to get out of your time in the mountains. While it’s clear that it’s all here to stay, what remains to be seen is how this technology will change mountain culture. The fear is that when we’re tuning into our tech, we tune out of nature.

Proponents of technology disagree: with the power of connected devices and peer-to-peer sharing, personal fitness and even nature itself will be more accessible and engaging than ever before.









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