9 Best Smartwatches & Watches For Skiing For Cross Country BackCountry Nordic

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Tom and his team mentions and reviews only those products that they find good enough after using & researching them for several weeks. By doing this we make sure that you get a well rounded review and recommendations to make the best decision for yourself.

When I go out skiing I need a reliable watch as the terrains can be tough, the weather can change in the blink of an eye, and keeping track of time along with the location is also very crucial. Thankfully, I have found several smartwatches that can help skiers do just that.

These smartwatches & watches come with Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass sensors. Not only that, now smartwatches even have built-in GPS so you can track your skiing along with your location in real-time. Some ski smartwatches even come with hundreds of built-in maps for various ski resorts.

But not every smartwatch is suitable for skiing because apart from sensors and features it also needs to have a good build quality.

The characteristics of good skiing watches are shock-resistant design, the ability to work in extreme temperatures, and water-resistant. Since only a few smartwatches for skiing have these characteristics that’s why even after hours of research you can only find a few watches that have all these features.

Therefore keeping that in mind, I have listed the best watches for skiing so whether you like nordic, cross country, or backcountry skiing I have got a watch for you.

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Best Watch & Smartwatch For Skiing Comparison Table





Best Affordable Smartwatch For Skiing

Amazfit watch for nordic skiing

Amazfit T-Rex 2

  • Meets 15 military standards

  • Features AMOLED display

  • Can be operated using buttons & touch interface

  • Best Garmin Watch For Cross Country Skiing

Best Garmin Watch For Cross Country Skiing

Best smartwatch For Skiing Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7

  • Built in maps for 2000 Ski resorts

  • Ability to import your own maps on the watch

  • Incident detection feature alerts your friends in case of emergency

Best GPS Watch For Nordic Skiing

Suunto 9 watch for skiing

Suunto 9

  • 5 to 120 hours of continuous GPS recording

  • Built-in Ski and snowboarding sports profile

  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices

Best Ski Altimeter Watch

Casio Tactical Rangeman Skiing watch

G-Shock Tactical Rangeman

  • Can operate in a low-temperature environment

  • Solar-powered

  • Atomic timekeeping

Best Smartwatch For Skiing

1. Amazfit T-Rex 2

Amazfit watch for nordic skiing

The first smartwatch on the list is the best affordable smartwatch for cross country skiing. I used the Amazfit T-Rex 2 for 2 months in order to share a detailed review on our YouTube channel. During that time, I also went skiing with this smartwatch.

Before I dive into skiing, let me tell you that watch also has dedicated profiles for snowboarding, skiing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, ski orienteering, biathlon, outdoor skating, indoor skating, sledding, & more winter sports profiles.

I used the cross-country profile on Amazfit T-Rex 2 which tracked my heart rate, speed, distance, total ascent & descent, calories burned, and elevation, & also showed my live location from starting point.

Moreover, this ski watch also has ABC sensors that allowed me to keep an eye on my location & atmospheric pressure. While this watch might not have a dedicated nordic skiing profile but regular skiing does the job. So you can use this GPS watch for nordic skiing or xc skiing.

Another thing that I am impressed by is the watch’s build quality. It meets 12 military standards for durability, water & shock resistance. This watch also has a dedicated low-temperature mode which allows you to use the watch even at -64 degrees celsius.

This skiing watch also offered the best of both worlds as I could use the watch with touch & buttons. It has 4 buttons that allow you to fully navigate & operate the watch without using the touch display.

If you are wondering about its GPS accuracy or navigational capabilities then I would recommend checking out my T-Rex 2 GPS test video below.

Besides tracking skiing, I also tracked my other sports activities like running, cycling, & gym activities with the watch. I was really impressed by the watch’s performance as it went toe to toe with Garmin Forerunner 245M. You can check my full in-depth review below before making a final decision as to whether or not you should buy the watch.

The Good
  • Cheapest rugged Ski smartwatch
  • Multiple winter sports profiles are available
  • Supports Bluetooth chest strap connectivity
  • Can be used with touch or buttons
  • Supports 5 navigation satellites for accurate Ski tracking
  • Crisp AMOLED display

The Bad
  • No built-in speaker & microphone
  • No onboard storage for music playback
  • Limited third-party app support compared to other ski smartwatches

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2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung smartwatch for skiing

If bulky rugged Skii watches aren’t your thing & you would rather go with a slim smartwatch then Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 will be perfect. It is extremely lightweight & slim compared to all the other skiing smartwatches on the list.

Another USP of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the fact that it comes with Wear OS 3.5. So I was able to download & install various apps like Samsung internet browser, YouTube music, Komoot, & more. I transferred my own music onto the watch & listened to the music using the watch during Skiing.

The watch also has a built-in speaker & microphone which meant I was able to take calls on it. I found it to be particularly useful when I wore the watch while skiing.

Besides skiing, the Watch 5 comes with more than 90 exercises which I used to track my other fitness activities.

This watch also has Samsung’s latest Bioactive sensor which supposedly offers improved sleep tracking. However, I didn’t have the same experience when I reviewed the watch. As always, Samsung is recording less deep sleep & sometimes way more than appropriate. At times, it also recorded me sleeping when I was simply lying on the bed & using the phone. Hopefully, Samsung will be able to fix the issue with updates in the future but I won’t count on it.

You can watch my review video to know Watch 5 fitness and health tracking performance in detail.

Coming back to skiing, I used the profile to log my skiing activity. I wasn’t as impressed as I was with the next watch I will be discussing. It only offered basic metrics like calories burned, duration, & heart rate zones. However, the reason I have listed this watch for cross country skiing is that it is still a great watch if you just want to log your ski sessions.

Another reason to list this as one of the best watches for nordic skiing is because of the various smart features it comes with. You won’t find many of the features like speaker & microphone, app store, & ability to type messages on any other ski smartwatch except for the Apple Watch. But the Apple Watch is only compatible with iOS devices so this is a great alternative for Android users.

The Good
  • Comes with a built-in speaker & microphone
  • You can install third-party apps on the watch
  • Comes with an AMOLED display
  • You can reply to IM messages using the watch

The Bad
  • No advanced Ski tracking metrics
  • Average battery life of the watch
  • Inaccurate sleep tracking

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3. Garmin Forerunner 955

best Garmin watch for skiers

Smartwatches can provide better situational and navigation awareness compared to traditional watches. That’s why smartwatches are used by skiers all over the world. And, this right here is the ideal Garmin smartwatch for skiing and snowboarding.

This Garmin watch for cross country skiing comes with an altimeter, barometer, and compass. It allowed me to view my climbing and descent speed in real-time on the watch face. And, knowing my climb rate allows me to assess how long it takes me to reach the peak and how many times I can do it again before I call it a day.

There is also a dedicated skiing and snowboarding profile available in Garmin Forerunner 955. Using the profile, I recorded my max speed, the time elapsed, average speed, vertical drop, and the time taken to complete my ski run.

While skiing I can also view my descent speed on the watch face in real-time. Moreover, the watch automatically paused ski tracking if it sensed that I have stopped moving and resumed without any input when I started moving again. This is one best implementation of a skiing profile on a smartwatch in my opinion.

Furthermore, with the help of the Garmin Connect app, I could see the detailed analysis of my heart rate on this Garmin watch, calories burned, total distance covered, map of my ski path, and a lot more.

What convinced me to go with the watch was the button-only user interface that allowed me to operate the watch easily while wearing gloves.

By the way, Skiing isn’t the only forte of the watch as it can also track swimming, cycling, running, and various other sports as it’s a multi-sports watch. To encourage more fitness and sports activities the watch also awards you Garmin badges so you can compete with your friends or join a community for the same.

The watch is available for around $300 dollars which makes this a reasonably priced smartwatch for nordic and cross-country skiing.

Note: Some users are getting watches that are made for the Asian market and are not serviceable by Garmin US. Therefore do check you get the Rest Of The World variant as it receives faster updates and also has a valid warranty for the US market.

The Good
  • Inbuilt profile for ski tracking
  • Built-in GPS in the watch to track your skiing path
  • Multi-sports tracking
  • No touch screen, operated entirely using buttons

The Bad
  • Pool swimming tracking is not accurate
  • Need to purchase a watch face protector for better protection

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4. Apple Watch Series 8

Apple watch series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 is one of the best multisports watches available in the market with the only downside of not being compatible with Android devices. Therefore it should come as surprise to no one that the Apple Watch is also one of the best smartwatches for skiing.

In February 2018, Apple rolled out an update for Watch OS which enabled skiing and snowboarding activity tracking on Apple Watch Series 4 and above. Today all Apple watches can accurately tell you average and max speed, the time elapsed, calories burned, total ascent and vertical descent, and number of runs while you are out skiing.

And, if you don’t like the stock skiing tracking capabilities of the watch you can head over to App Store and download apps like Slopes: Ski & Snowboard. I found these apps to be useful as they give me the ability to access maps for several resorts, view a 3d replay of your run, and a widget that gives you real-time conditions of ski resorts along with various ski and snowboarding metrics.

We all know skiing and snowboarding can be a risky business and that’s another reason to go with Apple Watch as it comes with a Fall detection feature. So if the watch detects a hard fall it would ask if you are okay and also alert you with sound along with vibration. Apple Watch would wait for a minute for you to close the prompt either by using the crown or tapping on,” I’m okay” prompt. And, if it detects you are not moving or you fail to close the prompt it will call 911.

Also, I will recommend Apple Watch for backcountry skiing as tools like a compass, fall detection alert, always-on altimeter, and GPS can come in handy when exploring outside of the ski range. While this watch might not have my preferred button-only user interface like Garmin but it can still be used using voice with the help of Siri.

Apart from that, Apple Watch Series 8 smartwatch comes with music support so I was able to download music and connect my AirPods to listen to music on the go. I also tracked my heart rate, took ECG tests, monitored blood oxygen levels, & took calls on the watch.

The Good
  • Supports offline music playback
  • Perfect smartwatch for snowboarding and skiing
  • Ability to pick up and make calls using the smartwatch
  • Fall detection feature
  • Notification sync

The Bad
  • Only works on iOS devices

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5. Suunto 9 Baro

Suunto 9 watch for skiing

There are two departments where most Skiing smartwatches fall short that’s battery life with GPS-enabled or reliable ski and snowboarding tracking. However, that’s not the case with Suunto 9 Baro, in fact, I found it to be one of the best GPS watches for hiking and outdoor activities.

Apart from normal ski and snowboard tracking features, the watch can automatically time my laps making this the perfect Suunto watch for cross-country skiing. The smartwatch comes with the Waypoint feature so whenever I was exploring unknown terrain outside ski resort boundaries I was able to save my location to retrace my steps back or use it to create my own route along the way.

And, don’t worry about not finding satellite signals as along with GPS the watch supports GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BEIDOU navigation systems. The watch also comes with the FusedTrack algorithm which increases the battery life of the watch with GPS enabled. And, depending on the settings the watch can offer 25 to 120 hours of continuous GPS recording.

Some users like to ski even if it gets a little late and sports watches like Suunto and Garmin are hard to read in dark. However, I didn’t face this issue with Suunto 9 as it came with a backlight feature so I can simply toggle it on before beginning my skiing.

To get the best out of this skiing smartwatch install the Suunto app on your Android and iOS device. After that, you can access heat maps and see the best ski range in your area along with various ski and snowboarding metrics. Other than skiing, the watch also comes with built-in profiles for over 80 sports.

The Good
  • Built-in profile for 80 sports
  • Support for various global navigation system
  • Good battery backup
  • Supports both Android and iOS devices
  • Waypoint to save your location

The Bad
  • Some users find the display of the watch to be dim to their liking
  • Heart rate tracking not reliable

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6. Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar

Best smartwatch For Skiing Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar might just be the best smartwatch for skiers. As it features built-in maps for 2000 ski resorts all over the world. Therefore next time you visit a new resort you will have a map with GPS right on your wrist. You can also download and import your own maps on the Garmin smartwatch using the Garmin Explore app. These features make this one of the best GPS watches for cross country skiing, nordic, and backcountry skiing.

Like all the watches on the list, it also offers ski and snowboarding activity tracking but what sets it apart from most watches is the altitude acclimation feature. It allows you to see your blood oxygen level to monitor how well your body is adapting to the high pressure of mountains. It can also distinguish when you are skiing and when you are just sitting on the ski lift, all you have to do is select ski profile when you reach the resort and forget it until you decide to stop for the day.

The watch can also tell you the name of the slope you are on along with your exact location so you can find your way around if you get lost.  Another feature that makes it a suitable smartwatch for skiing is the Incident detection feature so if the watch detects a hard fall then the watch would send a message with your location to your emergency contacts.

Apart from that, the watch can also track your sleep so you won’t need to wear a dedicated sleep tracker for sleep tracking. The watch also supports third-party music apps which include Amazon Music, Spotify, and Deezer so you can download and listen to music on your smartwatch.

The Good
  • Up to 10 hours of battery backup with GPS enabled
  • Incident detection feature
  • Altitude acclimisation feature
  • Offline music download and playback
  • Built-in maps for ski resort

The Bad
  • Some users find the watch to be bulky

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Best Watches For Skiing For Cross Country, Backcountry, & Nordic

7. Suunto Core

best affordable watch for skiing

I think the Suunto Core watch is perfect for cross-country skiing because of its robust build quality and affordable price. This Suunto watch is available for around 100$ and for the price I got a watch that comes with ABC sensors and a rugged build.

ABC sensor is the acronym for Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass. I believe they are must-have sensors for every skiing watch. A barometer sensor can detect sudden changes in atmospheric pressure and warn you of potential storms. And compass can be useful to find your way back when heading back to the base.

This smartwatch for skiing also has a temperature sensor but I was only able to use that when I removed the watch from my wrist.

Talking about the build of the watch, Suunto Core features an elastomer strap. It is a highly durable rubber material that is accompanied by a composite case and aluminum bezel making it a perfect tactical watch.

Also, it is water-resistant up to 30m underwater and can withstand snorkeling up to 10m. Furthermore, the watch can operate even in extreme temperatures of -5 degrees Fahrenheit/-20 degrees celsius.

I also loved the fact that this skiing watch uses a replaceable coin-cell battery. Therefore, I didn’t have to charge the watch again and again like a smartwatch. And depending on my usage the watch gave me a battery life of 1 month to 9 months on a single battery.

I would recommend this Suunto watch for nordic and alpine skiing because of its build quality and the ABC sensors available on the watch.

The Good
  • ABC sensor on the watch
  • Affordable watch for skiing
  • Can withstand extreme temperature
  • No need to charge the watch again and again
  • Ability to set an alarm
The Bad
  • Some users find negative display difficult to read
  • Need to manually set up altimeter to work

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8. Seiko Men’s Automatic

Seiko automatic analog men's watch

The next watch on my list is from the well-known Japanese brand Seiko. Best known for its automatic kinetic watches but this Seiko watch right here is an automatic mechanical watch from them.

It means that the watch has a built-in rotator that oscillates because of the movement of the wearer which in turn produces energy that powers the watch. Therefore, whenever I went skiing wearing the watch, it automatically winds itself because of the movement of my wrists. As a result, I will never have to spend money on battery replacement as it is powered by my wrist’s motion.

There are several automatic mechanical watches available in the market but what makes this the best mechanical watch for XC skiing for me is its build quality.

It features a 22m high-quality rubber band that survived the extreme pressure I put on it while skiing. Besides that, the watch has a day-date window that is located at the 3 o’clock position. Also, the dial of the Ski smartwatch is protected by hardlex glass which I found to be way better than mineral glass protection found on other watches.

Most analog watches get difficult to read at dusk or night but I didn’t face that issue on this one as it features luminous coating on markings and the watch hands. Also, the crown of the watch never digs into my wrist while skiing as it is located at the 5 o’clock position.

Furthermore, it’s a diver watch and rated to be water-resistant up to 200m so I didn’t have to worry about water or snow damaging the watch.

We would recommend this watch to skiers who want a watch that won’t require battery replacement again and again. Also, the looks of the watch make it the perfect dress watch capable of skiing.

I would recommend this watch to skiers who want a watch that won’t require battery replacement again and again. Also, the looks of the watch make it the perfect dress watch capable of skiing.

The Good
  • Day window in both Spanish and English language
  • Automatic watch no battery replacement required
  • The location of the crown makes the watch perfect for sports
  • Robust build quality

The Bad
  • Watch day window sometimes switches to the Spanish language automatically
  • No ABC sensors

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9. G-Shock Tactical Rangeman

Casio Tactical Rangeman Skiing watch

When it comes to selecting a ski watch, there are very few watches that I can recommend for adventure sports like skiing and G-Shock Tactical Rangeman is one of them. The build quality of the G-Shock Rangeman ensures that it can survive some extreme impacts and falls which other watches simply cannot.

Durability is not the only thing going for this watch as it comes with triple sensors which include a barometer, altimeter, and compass. And, these sensors came in very handy when I am out skiing on my own.

The combination of both compass and altimeter along with a map in my pocket gave me an idea of my present whereabouts on the skiing range.

Also, this nordic skiing watch survived some extreme conditions as it can be operated in weather conditions of -10 degrees celsius.

Even so, what makes this the best watch for skiing is its cylindrical buttons which are tactile and clicky enough to ensure smoother operation while wearing gloves. In addition to that buttons aren’t prone to failure on heavy usage which is the case with many similar watches.

This watch is $200 dollar more expensive than Suunto but still worth the price because it comes with solar charging. Hence, you won’t have to replace the battery on the watch again and again.

The Good
  • Solar-powered watch
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Water-resistant 200m
  • Mud-resistant buttons and gasket
  • 5 daily alarm function
  • Triple sensors

The Bad
  • Expensive
  • Negative display difficult to read for some users

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Factors To Consider Before Selecting The Best Skiing Watch For Yourself

1. Ability To Work In Extreme Conditions

On mountains, temperatures go below zero very quickly, and not every watch can withstand low temperatures for a long time. Many watches can stop operating at low temperatures that’s why we recommend looking for a watch that can operate in extreme temperatures.

Apart from that, build quality should be your next priority as skiing watches can be put under a lot of stress. The continuous movement of the user’s hand can cause the watch to crack or worse. Luckily you can find several well-known watchmakers like G-Shock, Suunto, Garmin, and Apple that meets all the specification a skier will require.

2. Winter Sports Tracking Capabilities

If you are spending hundreds of dollars on a smartwatch then ensure that the watch has the ability to track winter sports activities like snowboarding and skiing. Not all Garmin and Suunto watches have built-in tracking profiles for winter sports so carefully select the final watch as only selected variants have it.

3. ABC sensors

The altimeter, barometer, and compass are extremely valuable tools for skiers as they allow you to monitor temperature changes. Moreover, using these sensors you can find out your location in case you get lost. That’s why any watch which doesn’t have all three sensors is not ideal for skiing.

To illustrate, even if you have a map and compass you won’t be able to easily know your location without using an altimeter. The same is the case if your watch doesn’t have a compass. All three sensors are vital and not having even one of them can render the watch useless for skiing.

4. Smartwatch with GPS And Navigation Features

Modern smartwatches have made navigation through unknown terrain easier. Today with the help of smartwatches you can know your location in real-time and even download maps for various ski resorts. It gets even better as watches like Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar can even offer you turn-by-turn directions for any location.

That’s why I would recommend you also look for navigation capabilities apart from GPS on your smartwatch.


Which Garmin Watches Tracks Skiing?

Garmin Forerunner 955, Fenix series, and a few other selected Garmin watches offer Sking activity tracking.

Can You Wear Apple Watch While Skiing?

Yes, you can wear Apple Watch while skiing as it comes with a built-in ski tracking profile. Also, you can use Siri to control the watch without removing your gloves, and the Fall detection feature ensures to alert authorities in case of emergency.

Does Garmin Forerunner 955 Track Skiing?

Yes, Garmin Forerunner 955 can track your skiing as well as snowboarding activity.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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