You would be forgiven for thinking that a watch was simply an outdated accessory on the streets and on the mountain.
The old high-quality timepiece has made a comeback with a swathe of features that make them not only just a nice fashion accessory but even a must-have whilst on a resort or skiing.
Some of the key features of the best ski watches are their tracking abilities, displaying preloaded ski maps with your position shown via GPS tracker. They can have an inbuilt digital compass for backcountry skiing, and even a weather forecaster so you can plan your days.
Most regular watches won’t have the extras that come with specifically designed ski watches, so looking out for one that fits the extreme sports lifestyle could make a big difference to your next trip.
I’ll break down the features of a selection of the best ski watches on the market, helping you to decide what’s an essential feature of the best skiing watch and what is simply a gimmick.
SUUNTO 9 Peak
- Color: All Black
- Sport Type: Climbing, Swimming, Skiing
fenix 7 Sapphire Solar Smartwatch
- Color: Carbon Gray
- Sport Type: All Sports
Apple Watch Series 8
- Color: Midnight Aluminium
- Sport Type: Cycling,Running,Skiing
Polar Grit X
- Color: White
- Sport Type: Running,Hiking,skiing
Casio Men’s Pathfinder
- Color: Black
- Sport Type: Climbing,skiing
COROS VERTIX GPS
- Color: Dark Rock
- Sport Type: Running,Cycling,Skiing
Smart Watch for Women
- Color: Gold
- Sport Type: Walking, Cycling,skiing
Sleek & Functional
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Color: Black
- Sport Type: Skiing, Hiking
The 8 Best Ski Watches of 2023
Getting the right gear can make a trip out all that more enjoyable. I have used a lot of bits of kit over the years, cramming pockets with lift passes, maps, GPS trackers, and avalanche beacons.
Some of them are great, especially in certain situations, but they all take up valuable space and become bulky. Having an all-in-one gadget seems like a no-brainer.
Starting the hunt for your next ski watch can be a bit overwhelming at first. Every year a new generation comes out offering all these features that promise to be the next essential thing to have on your wrist.
With all the many ski watches out there, I have taken the time to find a few to break down for you to start your search.
An ultra-thin stainless steel case makes up the low-profile design of the Suunto 9 Peak. This multi-purpose watch is programmed with 80 sports modes and a selection of other very nice-to-have features that will assist you while out and about on the slopes.
This touchscreen smartwatch is able to provide GPS navigation tools via an app you can install on your accompanying smartphone.
The map, displayed on the screen of the watch, is able to guide you via simple heatmaps and directions. The inbuilt maps will make cross-country skiing easier as you are able to see where you are headed.
The lightweight build doesn’t mean you’re lacking in battery life. Fully charged, it boasts an impressive 25 hours on the notoriously battery-draining GPS mode and 7 days whilst in the battery-saving tour mode.
Of course, the watch also has 100m of water resistance and has a number of monitoring features, such as a heart rate monitor and weather alerts monitor.
It tracks speed, descent, ascent, and distance traveled throughout the day for some interesting stats when you’re all back around the chalet fire.
For a sleek design and perfectly functional winter sports watch, the Suunto 9 Peak won’t let you down.
It may not have all the other extra features that some of the other more upmarket watches have, but if you just need something that will function across a wide range of sports, then this is the perfect watch.
It doesn’t get bogged down trying to do everything at once, it just keeps it simple and maintains excellent battery life.
SUUNTO 9 Peak
The price of “SUUNTO 9 Peak” varies, so check the latest price at
The Garmin Fenix 7 is a hardy ski watch with rugged construction and battery life to match. The solid design houses a smartwatch that can link to your phone to do a huge range of things. It is loaded with tech that will track you through all sorts of sports, monitoring your body, performance, and location throughout your day.
This is an excellent watch at a price. It is not the cheapest of the selection of watches for skiing but will provide a lot. The Garmin Fenix has a setting for both skiing and snowboarding in which it will track your routes and, with a few preloaded ski maps, show your local map. The topographic maps can be downloaded from the Garmin website.
Maps, progress, statistics, and updates can all be downloaded via inbuilt WiFi. The WiFi allows you to download your music apps and even store music with its 32gb memory. Even if you have no network connection you can still listen to your tunes. The watch tracks your outdoor activities so you can use your Garmin Fenix to compare previous runs.
The Garmin Fenix skiing watch offers charging through solar, massively lengthening its battery life. It advertises between 22 days as a smartwatch all the way to 173 days on saver mode.
As sports watches go, the Garmin Fenix is a real contender for being the best watch on the market. The rugged construction is designed to be scratch resistant, shock-resistant, and able to put up with harsh weather.
The long battery life will not leave you out on the mountain without your GPS or music. The huge range of additional monitoring and tracking systems will keep you on top of all the stats you could care to check.
Garmin Fenix 7
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The Apple Watch Series 8 is probably one of the better-known smartwatches on the market. For a reliable and highly functional smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a great choice.
It is designed specifically with apple compatibility in mind and creates a technological environment that works seamlessly.
As well as having the ability to body monitor, this smartwatch can track your performance, speed, and other essential stats whilst you ride. One of the best features is the ability to work with all your phone apps.
There is a specific app designed for the Apple Watch that downloads your ski maps and displays them and you on your watch. Not only does it show your location, but it can ping your friends GPS enabled phones around you too.
This watch is not designed specifically for sport and especially not for skiing. Skiers need specific things from a watch, and one of the most important is durability in quite extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is not known for its hard-wearing design. It only has 50 meters of water resistance and can stop functioning at anything below 0 degrees centigrade. This makes this a bad choice as a ski or snowboard watch.
The many key features of the Apple watch on the surface make this seem like the perfect skiing and snowboarding choice.
The exceptional GPS accuracy and map functions, along with its seamless iPhone compatibility, make it the obvious choice out of all the skiing watches, but it is let down by its durability.
The inability to work at low temperatures and the below-average water resistance rating put it out of the running for anyone looking for the best watch to do any serious winter sports. If you’re out on the hill all day, you need something reliable.
Apple Watch Series 8
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If you’re looking for a watch for skiing that will stand up to the trials of a hard day on the mountain then look no further than this. This beast is built for military-grade durability using the hardest, most reliable materials for the screen and body.
The screen is equipped with sapphire glass which claims to be the toughest clear material on the earth. Alongside this, the watch is built to military-grade durability with a water-resistant level of up to 100m. Unlike the Apple Watch, this model is still functional from -20c to +50c meaning it’ll be suitable no matter the environment.
Its durable construction aside, it also comes with some very nice additional features made to enhance your ski safety and enjoyment. This is a GPS watch that can track not only the route you have taken but also guide you back the way you came ensuring you never get lost. This cool feature is exceptionally helpful in the backcountry when you leave the beaten path.
Most skiers can benefit from the advantages of the advanced heart rate monitor built into the Polar Grit X Pro. This goes beyond just tracking your beats, it uses its heart rate monitoring to actually measure how well your cardiac recovery is going over your time resting and exercising. Proper recovery times are essential to making the most of your time when engaging in a physically taxing sport like skiing and snowboarding.
This is the best watch for anyone looking for something with a durable design and some really great features geared toward the sport enthusiast. It has both GPS and a heart rate monitor along with many other sport-specific extras. It isn’t light but this water-resistant watch for skiing will be on your wrist for years to come and is guaranteed to enhance any sport.
Polar Grit X
The price of “Polar Grit X” varies, so check the latest price at
This company is known internationally as a well-established and high-quality watchmaker. It would only make sense for the Casio Pathfinder to be a great affordable ski watch.
This one has very few of the features of the others reviewed so far and couldn’t be described as a smartwatch but it comes at a price that is a fraction of the rest and still offers some key features that will make it a watch worth having.
The Casio Pathfinder has a simple digital display that works as a watch face, altimeter, barometer, digital compass, and thermometer. As far as additional features go, that’s about it. It is super simple for a cheap price and does a small list of things it can do well.
One thing that can be said about the Casio Pathfinder is that it is durable at an affordable price.
Casio is known for their G-Shock models of watches which are fantastically hard wearing and often come with lifetime guarantees. This same technology will be implemented into these models to create a waterproof watch with a battery life that will last for years.
This won’t be able to provide health monitoring or GPS on its simple mineral digital displays, but it will stand the test of time and provide at least a few functions that can help you out and about on the mountain.
The simple rugged and durable construction will sit on your wrist via its basic silicone band for years and never let you down. Don’t expect to be able to read your texts or measure your speed on this, but know you’ve bought quality.
Casio Men’s Pathfinder
The price of “Casio Men’s Pathfinder ” varies, so check the latest price at
This is a watch that can do it all. It has a fantastically light build, is designed for winter sport, has a serious battery life, and is made with very durable construction. This is the best watch for someone who is looking to spend some money on a serious piece of sports tech.
The Coros Vertix is built with a titanium shell which provides the most structural integrity at the lowest weight.
This is combined with a sapphire screen which is a material reserved for only the best watches on the market, as it provides an incredibly tough yet see-through screen. If you’re shopping for watches for skiing, you want them to be able to take a beating and still work perfectly.
This ski watch claims a battery life of 45 days on regular use and 60 hours on full GPS mode, which isn’t the longest but is absolutely more than enough for any skier looking to head out and not worry about their navigation failing them, even for a few days. The battery life will be more than adequate for a good ski trip and even trekking.
This watch has the best water-resistant rating of any we have looked at so far. Most skiing watches have a resistance of 100 meters, but the Coros Vertix has a resistance of 150 meters. This makes this model one of the most waterproof and durable in wet conditions.
Another feature worth mentioning on this watch is its blood oxygen and heart rate monitors. This is something only seen on the best watches. It is a feature that will be most useful to people really pushing the limits of the mountain.
As you climb higher, the air gets thinner, and the air pressure can start to affect your bodily functions. This watch lets you know if it is still safe for you to carry on skiing. Having this equipped keeps you safe even from your own adventurous self.
The above-average battery life, durable yet lightweight design, and range of skiing-focused features make this one of the best models if you’re looking for watches for skiing.
It isn’t particularly cheap but it will keep you safe, and on track for your location, and won’t quit on you when you need it most.
Being able to keep an eye on your blood oxygen and heart rate on your wrist makes this a great watch for skiing if you’re looking to really push yourself.
COROS VERTIX GPS
The price of “COROS VERTIX GPS” varies, so check the latest price at
This is the budget smartwatch for the price-conscious shopper. It doesn’t have the durable build of a lot of the other models we have looked at but it has a few helpful features you may want to use, as long as you’re careful not to get it too wet or cold.
Via a third-party app, this watch can connect to your smartphone and display some basic functions of your phone right there on your wrist.
You can quickly answer phone calls and read messages, as well as track basic ski exercise statistics. While you ski, you can change the music on your phone and monitor your heart rate.
It does have some of the basic functions of a smartwatch and can do some nice little extras for the price but don’t expect the world from this budget model.
It is best as a basic stats tracker and a quick way to answer your phone without having to make the effort of fumbling it out of your pocket with gloves on.
The issue with the cheaper construction is the lack of durable design. Water and the cold will quickly cause trouble for this watch, but as long as it’s under your clothes, you should be okay.
If you don’t want to break the bank for a smartwatch and just need some of the basic functions this is a great choice.
As a specific watch for skiing, it wouldn’t be my first choice. The cheap build put’s me off, especially if the conditions are particularly cold or wet.
It would be a shame to ruin a bit of tech, no matter how cheap, because of the tough conditions of the mountain.
Smart Watch for Women
The price of “Smart Watch for Women” varies, so check the latest price at
The Samsung Galaxy Watches are known for their high-quality and sport functionality. They have excellent body tracking and work alongside your phone to provide a broad and highly detailed experience. It is hardy, sleek, and instantly recognizable when worn.
As watches for skiing go, you could do worse than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Like the Apple Watch reviewed earlier, it creates an environment working with your other Samsung bits of tech. Headphones, mobile phone, and watch all seamlessly match up.
As a piece of tech, it’s top of the range, but is it great as a watch for skiing specifically?
The battery life isn’t quite as good as the more specifically designed watches out there, but this is primarily due to the sheer amount of features the watch is capable of.
The watch works alongside any sport app you may have on your phone but sadly, the skiing side of things is left lacking. It struggles with tracking days on the mountain and doesn’t support ski maps.
The body tracking functions are fantastic wisportse ability to track blood oxygen, weight loss, calories burnt, and heart rate and keep it all logged into whichever health monitoring app you use. This makes it a good watch for skiing if you are interested in your health or monitoring your progress.
The Samsung smartwatch is no doubt one of the best on the market but not necessarily for skiing.
It works fantastically with other Samsung products but they don’t provide the kind of skiing experience you can get with more tailor-made models.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The price of “Samsung Galaxy Watch 4” varies, so check the latest price at
A Buyers Guide
Knowing what to look for is half the battle with watch shopping. Cutting through the sales talk to the real essentials will save you money and time in the long run. I can break down the essentials, so you don’t have to.
GPS And Ski Maps
I think GPS is fantastic to have on a ski watch. No longer needing a huge annoying map to find out where your next lift is, is a godsend. I have spent too many hours of my life sitting on a lift with a battered and wet map not to appreciate a good GPS and map in such a convenient place.
There aren’t many watches with this function, but it is worth the extra bit of cash.
Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass
This is the most basic of what you should expect from anything that wants to be considered to be a watch for skiing. Even the most basic Casio digital display watch featured these.
Of course, the more expensive the watch, the more advanced the three of them become, but they should be there in some capacity regardless.
Ski Watch Water Resistance
This is essential in my book. Snow is wet, your watch is going to get wet also. Even if you keep it under your sleeve the whole time and only tap it when you need to, your waterproof ski gloves are going to get water on them.
Keep an eye out for water resistance, especially if you already own something like an Apple watch.
Skiing is a pretty high-octane sport and requires gear that can keep up. No matter how careful you are, you need something that will be able to withstand a good few bumps and knocks.
There is no point spending on something that will break after a single ride. Look for solid titanium and steel builds and reinforced sapphire screens.
Heart Rate Monitor
These are nice to have but not essential. You can keep track of how hard you’re pushing yourself and over time mark how much healthier you’re becoming. A lot of apps will connect with heart rate monitors and track your bodily health over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ll answer the questions you are too embarrassed to ask.
Can I Use A Standard Sports Watch For Skiing?
Simply put, yes absolutely! If what you want is simple health tracking, some GPS navigation, and the ability to control a few functions on your phone it’ll be perfect. Just be aware of the temperatures your sports watches can work within and the water resistance.
Is a Ski Watch Necessary?
Not as much as something like a winter ski jacket or your best snow goggles, but it is nice to have a little companion to perhaps strip back the weight of carrying the extras they provide. Phone control at the tips of your fingers is always super handy when you’re all layered up too.
Are Ski Watches LONG-LASTING?
That all depends on the watch. Buy expensive once rather than cheap a lot rings true here. Make sure you buy quality, and it could last a lifetime.
A Few Last Thoughts
A ski watch is by no means the most important piece of kit you could buy for your next trip, but it could make the experience much more enjoyable.
These days, the smartwatch is able to cram in all the key features of what used to be the job of lots of pieces of gear.
Not having to battle a wet ski map or dig around in your deep pockets for a phone saves valuable time and frustration. If you have the money spare after you have bought everything else you need, you won’t regret the investment.