I have been in the Swiss mountains for almost two weeks around the year end holiday season and enjoyed quite a bit of skiing. There wasn’t much snow this year so resort skiing was limited, but I got to do a lot of the other activity I enjoy in the mountain: ski de randonnée or ski touring, even if given the snow condition you could only really go on the pistes with artificial snow.
This gave me opportunity to try the garmin fenix 3 ski features and think about what I would want to see in connectstats to look at these activities in more details.
Garmin fenix ski activities
The fenix allows to record ski activities by default. I went and selected resort skiing for downhill ski and xc ski for the uphill randonnée skiing.
For downhill skiing it worked great, and only recorded the time you went downhill as separate tracks. I had added the ability to connectstats to breakdown a track recorded with a forerunner into downhill/uphill laps, but the native ability of the fenix 3 works much better.
There were a few issues though. Mainly that when uploaded to garmin connect (and therefore connecstats) the downhill ski activities showed up as uncategorised for activity type. The ski de randonnée was uploaded as cross country ski, while I had so far recorded all my previous tours as backcountry skiing. It would be great if the fenix had ability to select what activity type to report when uploading to garmin connect but I didn’t find such ability. So I had to edit the activity type manually on the web each time. It’s unfortunate because it’s quite important to have the activity type correct so connectstats can then break down your stats over time properly.
Ski de randonnée
Ski de randonnée uses much lighter boots and skis to which you clip skins on to let you go uphill. Typically you would go in the backcountry off the typical trails, but it’s also quite common to go up in the side of a regular piste. Going uphill is definitely a good workout and leads to the similar type of analysis, comparison over time and statistics you’d want on a run in connecstats.
The default information you get from the activity recorded by the fenix 3 will be very similar to those of a run. The one difference I found was that even though the cadence is reported as an overall value, the details values reported are somehow only 0 or 0.5 instead of the value you expect. It’s a shame because I would really like to be able to see at what cadence I was climbing at different point of the course. I will try to mess about the fit file to see if I can find that information somewhere at some point.
The key information I wanted to see for these activities though, is the vertical speed or ascent speed when you go up. This wasn’t provided by the watch, but is not very difficult to compute from the elevation data. So from version 3.0, ConnectStats will show along with the elevation the vertical speed graph (up or down) and a summary ascent speed, max ascent speed (Vertical speed going up only).
Here again the data is very similar to a run activity, but the fenix smartly breakdown the activity into laps for each run. One change to ConnectStats is that now the laps are labelled run for ski activities and it shows the elevation loss for each run instead of the heart rate in the summary. Of course the heart rate is still available in the detailed view. And in addition to the vertical speed, starting with version 3.0 ConnectStats will show the descent speed.
Ski without the Fenix
If you don’t have a fenix, and recorded your downhill skiing with a garmin, you will end up with an activity including the downhill and the lift time. ConnectStats will let you break down the activity into lift time and downhill time. Tap on the lap and select Ski Laps to get the activity broken down in runs properly. But definitely using a fenix is much nicer for ski activities.
If people have other suggestions of information to display for ski activities, let me know in the comments below.