Home » Reviews & Guides » Best Garmin Watches For Skiing & Snowboarding In 2023

Best Garmin Watches For Skiing & Snowboarding In 2023

Skiing, as well as snowboarding, requires a lot of equipment, including skis and boots, poles, goggles, and helmets. But what about your watch? Isn’t it necessary to have a good ski watch for skiing?

When it comes to finding the best ski watch, you need to look for one that is rugged, temperature & shock resistant, GPS-enabled, and waterproof. Moreover, it should provide you with crucial information about altitude, VO2 max, directions, and heart rate. Finally, the battery life of your ski watch should be good enough to last you through a day of skiing.

Garmin Watches seems to fit this description the most as the company is known for making some of the best GPS sports watches.

Our research team has scoured the internet for hours and has put together a list of the best Garmin watches for skiing and snowboarding for you.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Disclaimer: If you buy through affiliate links on this article, we may earn a commission without any additional cost to you.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Garmin Skiing Watch:

When it comes to buying the best Garmin watch for skiing or snowboarding, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration.

Durability: Look for a Garmin watch with a tough and durable design. It should be able to withstand cold temperatures and be waterproof. Military Grade (MIL-STD-810G) construction is a good indicator of durability. Garmin Fenix, Instinct, and Enduro lineup serve you well in this regard.

Battery Life: Since you’ll be spending long days on the slopes, you’ll want a watch with good battery life. Look for a watch that can last at least 20 hours in GPS mode. The Garmin Fenix 7, Instinct 2, and Tactix Charlie are all good choices.

Features: Look for features that are specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding (Downhill skiing), such as altitude tracking, distance tracking, ski run timers, and of course, spot-on GPS navigation.

Maps: If you plan on venturing off the beaten path, make sure your watch has mapping capabilities. Top-of-the-line Garmin has full-color TOPO maps built-in, whereas some of them (read Garmin Fenix Lineup) go as far as to offer preloaded SKI Resort maps.

Buttons: Since you’ll be wearing gloves, it’s important to have buttons that are easy to press. The Garmin watch should have large buttons that can be easily pressed, even with gloves on.

Safety Features: Look for a watch with built-in safety features, such as the ability to send an SOS signal in case of an emergency, or send your location to a pre-determined contact. Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE is best in this regard as it doesn’t require a paired smartphone to do so.

Budget: Let’s face it, Garmin Watches don’t come cheap. You should be prepared to spend at least $300-500 on a good one. If you’re on a budget, the Garmin Venu SQ is a solid option, otherwise, you can look for discontinued models in Fenix and Vivoactive series still available at eCommerce stores.

Top Garmin Watches for Skiing and Snowboarding:

  • Garmin Fenix 7: Best Outdoor Smartwatch
  • Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE: Best Triathlon
  • Garmin Instinct 2: Best Rugged

Now that you know what to look for in a good Garmin watch for skiing and snowboarding, let’s take a closer look at each of our top picks.

Garmin Fenix 7:

Garmin Fenix 7

Check Amazon Price

  • Price: $700-900
  • Models: Fenix 7, 7S, 7X
  • Weight: 47-96g
  • GPS: Yes (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo)
  • ABC Sensors: Yes
  • TOPO & Ski Maps: Yes
  • Cross-Country (XC) Ski dynamics: Yes
  • Dedicated Skiing Profiles: Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing
  • Durability: Yes (Military-Grade Certified)
  • Emergency features: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 28-37 days

Skiiers would be hard-pressed to find a better companion than the Garmin Fenix 7. It’s one of the most versatile (and tough) GPS watches on the market, and it comes packed with plenty of features designed specifically for skiing and snowboarding.

First and foremost, the Fenix 7 is durable, thanks to its military-grade construction. It’s also waterproof and can withstand cold temperatures.

In terms of skiing-specific features, the Fenix 7 has dedicated skiing profiles for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and even ski touring. It also has ski run timers, so you can track your progress as you go down the slopes.

And if that’s not enough, the Fenix 7 also comes with preloaded TOPO maps and ski resort maps, so you can always find your way back to the lodge. And when hooked with Garmin HRM, it gives you access to ‘Avg Ski Power’ a comprehensive metric similar to Running and Cycling Power.

The only downside to the Fenix 7 is its price tag. It’s one of the most expensive watches on our list. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, the Fenix 7 is definitely worth the investment.

Other UseFul Features:

  • Training Effect
  • Auto-Pause during Ski-lifts
  • HR Zones
  • Altitude Acclimation
  • Touchscreen Display
  • Training Load and Status
  • GroupTrack and LiveTrack
  • Climb Pro, Vertical descents
  • Music Storage for up to 2000 songs

Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE:

Forerunner 945 LTE:

Check Amazon Price

  • Price: 600-650
  • Models: FR 945 and 945 LTE
  • Weight: about 50g
  • GPS: Yes (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo)
  • ABC Sensors: Yes
  • Preloaded Ski Maps: No
  • Cross-Country (XC) Ski dynamics: Yes
  • Dedicated Skiing Profiles: Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing
  • Durability: Passable
  • Emergency features (SOS): Yes
  • Battery life: 36 hours to 2 Weeks

Forerunner 945 is very lightweight, making it comfortable to wear all day long. It also has built-in GPS and ABC sensors, so you can track your progress as you ski or snowboard.

Like Fenix 7, the Forerunner 945 also has skiing and snowboarding-specific features, such as skiing run timers and dedicated skiing profiles. However, it doesn’t come with preloaded ski resort maps.

The watch doesn’t have a touchscreen, rather it uses 5 buttons to navigate through the menus. This might take some time to get used to, but it’s surely not a deal-breaker for sports like Skiing and snowboarding.

You can store almost 1000 songs on the watch and make your skiing experience more enjoyable. The battery life is pretty good too, lasting up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode and 36 hours in GPS mode.

One of the best things about the Forerunner 945 is its SOS features. In case of an emergency, you can use the watch to send your location to emergency services, and the best part is, that you won’t have to connect your smartphone to use this feature.

The only downside to the Forerunner 945 is its durability. While it’s not as tough as the Fenix 7, it should still be able to withstand most skiing and snowboarding conditions.

Other Useful Features:

  • Training Status & Load
  • VO2 Max
  • Garmin Pay
  • Up to 1000 songs

Garmin Instinct 2/2S:


Check Amazon Price

  • Price: $350-500
  • Models: Standard, Camo, Tactical, Surf, Dezl
  • Weight: 42-52g
  • GPS: Yes (Multi-GNSS support- GLONASS+GALILEO+)
  • ABC Sensors: Yes (Plus a Thermometer)
  • Dedicated Ski Maps: No
  • Cross-Country (XC) Ski dynamics: Yes
  • Dedicated Skiing Profiles: Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing
  • Durability: Yes (Military-Grade Certified)
  • Emergency Features: Yes (Can send an automated message, LiveTrack link, and GPS location)
  • Battery life: 30-50 days

Garmin Instinct 2 is almost as durable as the Fenix 7, thanks to its military-grade construction. Plus, it offers nearly everything you get in the Fenix lineup as far as Skiing is concerned.

For instance, it covers all the essential sensors like Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and Thermometer. The multi-navigation satellite system is also there for better GPS accuracy and precision.

Skiiers can measure the number of descents, distance traveled, negative elevation, and maximum and average speeds. Also, the watch includes an auto-pause feature and does show you the Ski lift data in the Connect IQ app.

There are big buttons on the side of the Instinct 2 for easy operation with gloves on. The skiing and snowboarding profiles are also available as dedicated apps. Though the watch has a decent screen size, you get more comprehensive details of your skiing activity on the Garmin Connect app.

However, one thing that’s missing in Instinct 2 is preloaded ski resort maps. So, if you’re planning to ski in an unfamiliar area, you’ll have to download the maps beforehand. Keep in mind that this watch support TOPO maps, like others in this list.

Another downside is the lack of music storage. So, you can’t store your favorite skiing tunes on the watch or stream music from Spotify or Amazon Music like the Fenix and FR watch.

Other Useful Features:

  • Pulse Oximeter
  • Weather Alerts
  • Training Load
  • Incident Detection
  • Connect IQ Store
  • Garmin Pay
  • HRV, VO2 max

Cheaper Garmin Watches for Skiing:

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a high-end model, we have two solid alternatives for you.

  • Garmin Venu SQ
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
  • Garmin Forerunner 245

Neither of these watches is as durable as the more expensive models, nor do any of them can give you access to advanced Skiing metrics. However, they’re all featuring dedicated skiing profiles like the rest and offer a bang for the money.

Final Verdict:

Fenix 7 is the best Garmin watch for skiing and snowboarding hands down. It has all the features you could possibly want in a ski watch: Waterproofing, fitness tracking, and ABC sensors.

The Fenix 7 is also one of the most rugged and durable watches on the market, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged on the slopes. Also, the watch comes with Cross-Country (XC) Ski dynamics, which allows it gives you a wealth of advanced Skiing metrics when paired with a company’s external heart rate sensor.

However, its price tag might be a dealbreaker for some, as it is one of the more expensive lineups by the company.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a great choice. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Fenix 7, but it’s still a great watch for skiing and snowboarding.