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Garmin Fenix 2 GPS Watch for Skiing

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So, I got a new toy and took it for a spin yesterday:



It's a GPS watch that does absolutely everything, including nice ski-board mode.  Here's how Garmin describes it:


 Combining the best features of our fitness and outdoor watches, the fēnix 2 is the ideal multisport athlete’s training partner. Whether running, climbing, riding, hiking, paddling, skiing or swimming, the fēnix 2 lets you easily switch between feature sets for easier access to the information you need. Switch from advanced fitness training features like VO2 max, Virtual Partner® and recovery advisor to high-sensitivity GPS tracking features like 3-axis compass and TracBack®. And with Smart Notification you can stay in touch, even while you’re out testing your mettle.


It just came out.  There very little info about the ski-board mode out there, so I thought there may be others here who might considering it.  


Here's what you get for ski data (3/27/2014 at Copper):



That's what you see (and more) after uploading the data to Garmin's website.   


My initial impressions:


- Easy to use.  Got it in the mail, played with it 15 mins and went skiing.

- It seems very accurate on all measurements (temperature is off because it's under my jacket, but they sell an external temp sensor for $30). 

- Forgot the heart rate monitor yesterday... but that will be really interesting data skiing :eek

- It's a really, really solid watch.  It's the same form factor as Garmin's military GPS watch.

- The software to get data uploads working on a Mac was a bit clunky to install, but easy to run once working.


I didn't really buy it as a ski watch.  That's just a nice additional feature.  The key features that sold me:

- Bike power meter support

- Swim lap counting

- Running metrics including cadence and other cool stuff.

- Navigation good enough for backpacking and hiking.


There really isn't another watch out there that does all that.  Plus it seems to also be great ski watch!  I long ago stopped using ski tracker apps (battery drain, PIA), but I think I'll use this skiing all the time.


I'll post more as I think about it.  Feel free to post questions.   


Here's a great, very detailed review:


post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

A little cross posting from here with some more data from my new watch.


Here's a little speed data from my usual last run at Copper as I'm boogying to catch the last lift at Alpine before it closes.  The first part is cruising down Andy's/Oh No, and the last part is skiing bumps down Far East then cutting over to bumps at the bottom of Too Much:



And, here's my speed skiing Fremont 1, a very open untracked glade on Tucker Mountain at Copper:




I'm highly confident in the speed data because:


a) it has 1 sec recording and 3d speed correction from a barometric altimeter,


b) I've ridden my bike with it and it matches my cyclocomputer, and 


c) there are online tests of similar garmin devices showing them to be highly accurate, like here and here.  


Finally, if you are really bored you can see all my data for a day at Copper Mountain, and another day at Mary Jane by clicking on those links.

post #3 of 14

Cool. Where did you get it from?

Does the strap have an expansion to wear it outside of a coat?

How is it getting the data out to the computer? Is it a cable or bluetooth?


Display - white on black always? How is that in the sun?

Edited by Tog - 4/8/14 at 12:00pm
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Cool. Where did you get it from?

Does the strap have an expansion to wear it outside of a coat?

How is it getting the data out to the computer? Is it a cable or bluetooth?


I got it here because they have a 10% off coupon code for first time customers:



They have it a REI and elsewhere, but that's the only deal I found below MSRP since it's so new.


It does come with a long velcro strap to wear outside a coat, and even little screwdrivers to install it.  I just wore it under my coat with the regular strap and it worked fine.


It includes a USB charging/data cable to get the data out.  It can also do data transfer with Bluetooth Smart, but I haven't tried that.


Here's the garmin product page:



And a VERY in depth review:



I'm not sure if I'd spend the money on it for just skiing, but if you also hike, bike, run, or swim, it's a pretty good value compared to the dedicated GPS devices.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Amazon is about to have a Black Friday deal on the Garmin Fenix 1 watch (sale price will show in 5 mins, currently $254.99):



This is the previous version to my Fenix 2 I discussed in the previous posts.   The Fenix 1 lacks 1) bike power meter support, 2) swim stroke counting, and 3) running dynamics.  I think those are the key differences between the 1 & 2.


Of interest to folks here, the Fenix 1 does have the ski and board mode:



Here's a review of the Fenix 1:



And the Fenix 2 with a chart showing showing the difference between 1 & 2:


post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Fenix 1 for $149.99!!!  Going fast!



post #7 of 14

The geek in me is loving this. The power meter for cycling is key, but it would be fun to have the GPS for skiing instead of using a smartphone app. Have you looked at your heart rate when skiing? Also, have you tried to synch the data in Trace (http://www.traceup.com/)?

post #8 of 14
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Oh no!  My Fenix 2 is now obsolete  :mad  Thanks for letting me know... I guess :)


My favorite review site for geekatron watches (as my wife calls them) has some more info on the new Fenix 3:



The Fenix 2 has the explicit ski mode, so I don't think that's improved in the Fenix 3.  I think Fenix 1 does too?  It's nice because it auto-pauses while riding the lifts, so you only track while going downhill.


The Fenix 3 looks awesome.  I wear my Fenix 2 around casually, but the Fenix 3 could dress up more.  That's great because it also has an all-day activity tracker (tracks your steps) and sleep tracker.  Both features I'd like that my Fenix 2 doesn't have.  I had a fitbit I used mostly for sleep tracking, but lost it.  I just decided to stop sleeping instead.  :)


I haven't played with Trace.  Other than jumps and airtime, I don't see Trace doing more than a Fenix.   Garmin makes a VIRB camera, and gives you editing software where you can overlay the watch data over video like the Trace.


Here's my heartrate from a day at A-basin while I was moving downhill:


And from a single run down to the A-lift at Copper:


A little more discussion about those graphs over in this thread:



I'm pretty happy with the Fenix 2 overall.   Let me know if you have any questions!   

post #10 of 14

Were you doing bumps on Ramrod for that heart trace at Abasin?

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Of course I was skiing Ramrod bumps!   Looks like three ramrod runs, plus zuma, east wall, exhibition, 13 cornices/International, but Pali runs were closed.  Not bad for May 20th!



It's easy to pull up your old data like that on garmin's connect website.   

post #12 of 14

Well I"d hope you were doing bumps to get your heart up to nearly 180.

What's resting heartrate at the mid mountain lodge which is what, 11,500ft? Is it really 120??

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

No need to call 911, my resting heart rate isn't 120!  :eek   In ski mode, the watch auto-pauses when you stop moving, so 120 is where I've recovered to when it stops recording.   


I'd guess my resting heart rate up there is around 65.  Here's a graph (and one of my fav pics from the summer) of me pulling the kiddos up Vail Pass at a similar elevation on the bike path:




Bump skiing is pretty intense, more so than that sustained climb on the bike.   It's more along the lines of what my heart rate looks running at the track.  Here's a 4x400, 1x800 track workout with a 400 walk/jog between.   Similar to skiing bumps hard, I get up near my max heart rate that's maybe 185?


post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

PSA: REI has the Garmin Fenix 2 deeply discounted during their Memorial Day sale.


It's $239 without the heart rate strap:



And, $269 with the heart rate strap:



It's a great GPS watch for skiing.   I really like its ski mode.   It's also fantastic for running, swimming and hiking.  It has all the features you want for biking, but the display is a bit small compared to a dedicated biking GPS.   Overall, I'm really happy with it.  Let me know if you have any Q's.  

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