Spyder’s NFC-enabled ski jacket provides real-time snow reports and local trail maps

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The latest line of ski apparel from Spyder is proving that wearable technology doesn’t have to begin and end just with smartwatches. The company has joined forces with Smartrac — a firm that specializes in RFID and Internet of Things technology — to introduce a new line of clothing that features embedded Near Field Communications (NFC) touchpoints that provide skiers and snowboarders with a unique experience unlike any that they’ve seen before.

The new NFC-enabled line of clothing comes in the form of jackets that are a part of Spyder’s new U.S. Ski Team (USST) collection. Each jacket is designed for use at high altitudes, providing insulating layers and protection from the elements for skiers and snowboarders when they hit the slopes. The jackets are modeled after the ones that USST team members will wear while training and competing, and as such they also feature several sponsor patches prominently displayed right on the chest. Spyder’s very own patches include an NFC touchpoint embedded inside the company’s logo. Tapping that logo with a smartphone or tablet that supports Near Field Communications unlocks some handy features.

When activated, the NFC patch grants access to a host of social media feeds, including Spyder’s YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Those outlets offer a steady stream of ski and snowboarding videos, updates on a variety of events, and information about members of the U.S. Ski Team, which Spyder has sponsored for the past 27 years. The hope is that this will provide avid skiers with an enhanced connection with the team itself.

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Access to Spyder’s social media aside, however, it is the location-based services unlocked by the NFC chip that are most intriguing. These services apparently will also include updates on current snow conditions at nearby ski resorts, as well as trail maps for those destinations as well. Skiers will also find a list of points of interest in the area, as well as current information on local events.

Currently, the NFC-enabled line of jackets includes the men’s Glissade Insulator Jacket ($199) and Fresh Air Softshell ($249), as well as the women’s Timeless Down Hoody ($299) and Fresh Air Softshell ($179). But according to Spyder, this is just the beginning. The company is already looking at ways to expand the use of the technology to other outdoor gear, and promises that we’ll see more digital connections with physical products in the future. For now, however, we’ll just have to wait to see where the NFC technology will appear next, and what other features it might offer.

For more information, visit Spyder.com.

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