Denver Snow Show: Helmet cams have come a long way
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado – In August 1981, MTV debuted, broadcasting its first music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” And in 2011, high-definition video is killing it on the hill. Helmet cams are ubiquitous on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains this season, but as seen at the Snowsports Industry America trade show Thursday in Denver, they’ve come a long way. More streamlined designs and GPS capabilities are coming into play and the tie ins to social media, YouTube, EpicMix and the lot are becoming much more interesting.
Four video camera/goggle/GPS “gadgets” caught my eye at the show.
GoPro is the industry leader in wearable sports cameras. Wide-angle lenses, HD sound, HD video and, new for 2011, 3-D video and photos by combining two 1080p HD cameras. This is the camera you see most often stuck on the top of a helmet. Great photos, great video, slow motion settings, and you can position the camera on a chest harness, surfboard, handlebars or whatever else you encounter. GoPro cameras and accessories are available at Buzz’s Boots and Boards, Vail Sports and other local retailers from $215 to $400. Visit gopro.com
The Zeal Optics Transcend is the world’s first GPS-enabled goggle. This has a “heads up” display, which is actually a head-mounted display – while wearing the goggle, you see a digital display in the lower corner, under your right eye. This dashboard screen can tell you your speed, altitude, outside temperature, vertical odometer and all sorts of other cool stuff. At the end of your ski day, you can connect your goggles to your computer and the GPS software will map out your day, displaying where you achieved the fastest and slowest speeds, specific vertical feet, individual runs, all of your runs combined and tons of cool stuff I really can’t comprehend. Over $400, available at Gorsuch. Visit zealoptics.com
The Contour GPS camera has a sleeker design than other video cameras at the show. And just like the Transcend goggles, this camera has GPS capabilities with the addition of Bluetooth. After a day on the hill, connect the camera to your laptop and watch the GPS data tie in to Google Earth or Garmin Apps and map out your day with vertical, velocity and a slew of amazing data from the day. Dual laser alignment allows you to rotate the lens and line up the best shot, regular or slow-mo. Bluetooth allows you to use your iPhone or iPod touch to control the camera settings and serve as a wireless viewfinder. Connectivity with Android phones will be available in April. It’s lightweight, and has simple, easy-to-use buttons, even while wearing gloves! The camera mounts on goggle straps, helmets, handlebars and more. Available at Christy Sports and Gorsuch, $279 – $349. Visit contour.com.
Liquid Image Xtreme Sports Cams Summit Series Goggle arrives in stores in the next few weeks. They’re the first company to integrate the camera and microphone into the goggles – no strapping, no mounting. That said, the company is not known for its cameras or its goggles, so this is unproven ground. It can take still photos and HD video. Approximately $250, not available locally … yet. Visit liquidimageco.com.
Just as ski and board technology has allowed us to glide through the powder and cut through the crud faster and more easily, easy-to-use video cameras and GPS technology enhances the family photo at the top of Chair 2. So sure, video might have killed the radio star, but GPS allows us to track it.