Everything from wireless headsets to avalanche air bags and carbon fibre sleds will help you get the most from your winter vacation.
Smith Vantage Skullcandy Helmet
Smith Vantage Helmet with Skullcandy Bluetooth Kit combines a top-of-the-range head protector with incorporated headphones and microphone. The Vantage Helmet is available in a range of colors and offers seamless goggle integration to stop fogging. It is well-ventilated, low-profile and weighs a mere 440g. The Skullcandy Bluetooth kit integrates seamlessly into the helmet's interior and comprises connected ear pads, an externally-mounted remote control unit for volume, track skip and the ability to switch between music and phone calls. The system even features a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the bottom of older iPods so that they too can connect wirelessly. Retails for $190.
This extreme sled, built from carbon fibre, offers a level of maneuverability, sensitivity and out-and-out speed over all types of snow that is a million miles away from young children on a hillside with tea trays and a million miles closer to snowboarding or riding in a motorcycle sidecar in terms of sensation and feedback. Capable of hitting over 65km/h, the sled can be taken apart and packed into a bag to make negotiating ski lifts that much easier and thanks to its carbon fibre construction, it only weighs 4.1kg making it not much heavier than a couple of notebook computers. Retails for $2999.
A range of machine washable jackets with integrated remote control, speaker and microphone plus a conveniently located pouch for concealing a pair of in-the-ear headphones that lets users make calls or listen to music from their smartphone or MP3 player without having to fish around in their pockets (after removing their gloves) first. Whether the jackets provide enough insulation for ski weather depends on your winter holiday destination, but many of the items in the range are light enough to be worn under typical ski garb without adding too much bulk or reducing maneuverability.
Phorce smart bag
Having reached its funding goal on Kickstarter, Phorce offers a range of subtly-styled luggage with one key feature -- the ability to charge notebooks, tablets and smartphones. In fact its makers claim it can charge three USB devices simultaneously. Each bag is designed to communicate via Bluetooth with an owner's smartphone to let them know how charging is progressing and to signal an alert when the bag is running low on power. What's more, if it is accidently forgotten, it will call a smartphone with its location.
Brookstone Virtual Keyboard
How about a laser keyboard that can be used, wearing gloves, on any surface in conjunction with a smartphone or a tablet? The Brookstone Virtual Keyboard is small enough to fit on a keychain and connects via Bluetooth to a device. It can project a keyboard image on any flat surface and can be used constantly for two hours between charges. To avoid annoying typos an advanced optics system tracks your gloved or ungloved fingers' every move. Retails for $100.
One of the very few ‘lifeproof' digital cameras on the market at an affordable price, the Olympus is waterproof to 10 meters and can survive repeated drops. It can also work at the lowest temperatures, performing admirably at -10°C (14°F). What's more it can shoot HD video and has an integrated GPS system that automatically logs where a photo or film was taken. Retails for $350.
LifeProof iPhone Case
Designed to protect an iPhone or iPad from the rain, hail, sleet, snow and even dust, LifeProof promises that its cases can endure pretty much anything life throws at them. A range of accessories, such as jacket, belt and bike clips, is available, as are floatable cases for those that prefer to get their kicks on the high seas rather than at high altitude. Retails for $70-80.
Snow Pulse Avalanche Airbag system backpacks
This company has been developing airbag systems for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts that can be deployed in the event of an avalanche to keep users on their backs with their heads above the snow if they should be unfortunate enough to be caught in that nightmare scenario all skiers and snowboarders fear. Inflated via an air cylinder carefully concealed within its range of backpacks, the air bag's unique shape and 150 litre capacity is the best solution currently available for protection against avalanches. From €780.