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Silva Radar Ski Speedometer
Silva have eschewed GPS in favor of good old fashioned radar for their new . Itís a two part system, with a wrist watch display unit and radar pod that attaches to a boot and talks to the watch via RF.

The modus operandus of the system is not entirely clear, although it's obviously based on taking radar measurement against fixed objects around the wearer. The manual discusses having to calibrate the unit "to your individual style" if you are using it for cross country (as opposed to downhill) skiing, which suggests that its method involves some amount of fudge factor, but my guess is that this is necessary to compensate for the effect of one's body movements while doing those activities since the radar pod is on one's foot. For downhill skiing, where one keeps one's legs more or less steady as one moves, there is no calibration required.

The watch part can be converted to hang on a lanyard or carabiner. It also supports an optional heart rate monitor.

I see a lot of value to the cross country skier for this product since so many trails are in forests and don't receive steady GPS coverage, and the inclusion of the heart rate monitor ought to make this popular with racers and other athletes who treat XC as a serious winter workout. For the downhill skiers though I think a GPS unit brings a lot more to the table, with its positional (and elevation) record keeping, not just speed, and GPS coverage is generally very good on all but the narrowest of ski runs.

Kudos though to Silva for thinking outside the box. I wonder if this--using radar when seemingly everyone else is going to GPS--is one of the powerful "countertrends" that Weiner and Brown in "FutureThink"?

reports that the price will be $259.

11/18/05Montjoux
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