Ski Goggles for the 21st Century

Salt Lake City, UT – If the mere thought of spending $400-500 for a pair of goggles gives you the willies, read no further. But if you’re interested in checking out the coolest gadget for skiing and snowboarding this winter, the Transcend GPS goggle from Zeal Optics and Recon Instruments is just what you’re looking for.

The Transcend is the ski industry’s first GPS enabled goggle. It has a tiny GPS receiver built into the frame to track such metrics as speed, altitude, mileage, location, and more. Unlike a handheld GPS this location provide an unobstructed view of satellites above, unimpeded by clothing or a backpack. Temperature is accurately measured via a separate sensor, seemingly unfazed by facial heat, and GPS altitude is calibrated with a separate barometric pressure sensor. But the Transcend’s piece de resistance is a tiny heads-up monitor in the lower right corner of the goggle frame.

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The Transcend GPS from Zeal Optics and Recon Instruments is the world’s first GPS-enabled ski goggle.
(image: Zeal Optics)

We tested the Transcend last month for a few days zipping around Alta Ski Area in Utah. Looking at your stats while skiing you feel a bit like a jet fighter pilot on a mission. But the placement is perfect, and you don’t even notice the screen unless you make a concerted effort to view it. Glancing downward at the screen, though, is effortless, as Zeal improved markedly over the prototype’s screen observed last year, which was far more difficult to view in action.

The “wow” factor of the Transcend simply can’t be underestimated. Bystanders noted the muted blue light on the goggle’s temple, and after explaining the Transcend’s functions were overwhelmed when trying on the goggles themselves.

The Transcend’s data may be displayed in metric or imperial units. And when you get home, plug the goggle into your PC or Mac via the provided USB cable and load your day into the Recon HQ software. Built on an Adobe Air backbone, Recon HQ will not only let you track your day’s metrics and display your tracks on Google Maps, but also allow you to share your ski day online via the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and more. It will animate your day in real time or with an accelerated playback. Simply plug in your goggle and let Recon HQ handle the rest.

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Recounting your ski day with the Recon HQ software.

And because it’s from Zeal the goggle itself is top notch. It’s available with the company’s SPX (polarized, $399) or SPPX (polarized photochromatic with visible light range 13-43%, $499) dual spherical lens. The frames themselves possess a large form factor that best fits larger faces. Some of our testers with smaller facial features found that their helmets pushed the frames too far down on their noses to be comfortable.

The goggle comes with a hard case, an international power charger, a USB data cable and a microfiber case printed with handy quick-start instructions if you’re trying to remember how to use it after a few après ski beers. When you consider that the Transcend combines both a high quality goggle and a high-end GPS unit, the price is understandable. But we still think that we’d curl up in a fetal position and cry like a little baby the first time we scratched it.

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