By Jenny Willden
Prove you’re the best skier on the mountain with these techy goggles that track your speed, distance, vertical feet and locations traveled. Based on last year’s Transcends, the Z3s are revamped and tricked out for easier use, better vision and optimal comfort. They offer real-time statistics of your runs and are now operated from a wireless remote you can wear on your wrist or the goggles. With large, easily distinguishable buttons, the remote is easy to operate while keeping your mitts on.
The Z3s provide a safer ride with a less obtrusive monitor and large lenses for a wider field of vision. And the polarized anti-fog lenses automatically adjust to changing lighting conditions, so you never have to worry about swapping lenses or goggles. The sun came and went when I rode in these, and I never noticed a difference in my ability to see in changing light.
The built-in monitor also captures altitude, time, temperature and ski jump data that you can view as you ride, but the real fun starts when you get home from the hill. Just plug the goggles into your Mac or PC and use free software to download summarized stats on your fastest and slowest speeds, individual runs and total distance. The software makes sharing your data with Twitter followers and Facebook friends a cinch. A 3D map overlayed with a resort’s runs and lifts shows you exactly where you’ve been, and you can play back your runs on 3D Goggle Earth to share on social networking sites. I forgot to turn my goggles off between runs, so my 3D map accurately displayed my trips to the parking lot, lodges and even the drive back down the canyon. Thankfully, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasted all day.
Cool features aside, a downer about these goggles is that they’re only made for medium- and large-faced folks. They were a little large for me to view the display while riding. Hopefully smaller models (and brighter colors) will be available next season. The Z3s will cost you a pretty penny, but if you’re obsessive about tracking your stats on the mountain, no other product competes. $549 zealoptics.com
Jenny is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She loves adventure and is happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Llama racing and deal finding are her secret superpowers. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden. Or follow Jenny Willden on Google+.