I skied 15 days this year. Yes I missed my goal of 50 days, but I obviously didn't account for the 6 week trip in the Airstream we were taking through the desert. I also didn't get any snowboarding in. There's always next year and I've already secured next season's Epic Pass.
I hardly ever fall anymore. A combination of mad skiing skills and staying on terrain I know I can handle. But this season I had a full yard sale tumble down a run at Breckenridge. I'm talking end over end for a hundred yards or so.
Luckily I had invested in some new top tier ski gear this year.
The jacket detected that something was wrong as my torso went beyond the acceptable upright position. It knew something bad was going to happen before I did. With a combination of sensors embedded in the jacket, it detected and then inflated a protective vest inside the jacket. It wasn't anything like the Michelin Man, but more like the thickness of a Therma-Rest sleeping pad. Maybe one half an inch around. Enough to cushion the blow just a tad. I'm sure it saved my back!
The pants have this tricked out bio-mechanical thingy that detects when the articulation of the knee is out of normal. When that happens, the kevlar reinforced fabric actually morphs into what feels like an incredibly reinforced knee brace. I could actually feel it actuate as my body rotated upside down. I'm sure it saved my knee.
The boots are cool too. I normally ski with the buckles pretty loose. I love my boots, they are so comfortable. Here's the new feature. Rather than me having to bend over to adjust the straps, I just take out my iPhone, launch the Salomon app and dial in the level of the stiffness I want. The boot then automatically cinches down on my foot. Perfectly, every time. I still prefer to keep it loose, but for the occasional black diamond slope it's a nice to have feature.
The new Leki poles are tricked out too. They compact down to a size that fits in a sleeve of my pants so I don't have to deal with carrying them in addition to my skis. The baskets adjust too based on the dryness of the snow on powder days. There are audio controls on the grips that control my playlist on the phone AND when I double tap the grip with my hand there is a lanyard that automatically goes around my wrist.
Finally, the glass in the goggles change tint dynamically based on ski conditions. No more switching out the lenses .... or in my case, losing the lenses. Perfect for the near white out conditions when all the bumps disappear.
I had lunch with a friend today and we were talking about all the cool sensors that his company makes. I'm looking forward to the clothing that someday will augment my skiing ability.
The yard sale crash part was true ... and my back hurt for 3 weeks.
If you are interested in biomechatronics, then check out this TED talk by Hugh Herr. It's more than worth the 20 minute investment.