Why using a mobile phone is not the best idea when you go skiing in the mountains? Firstly, the cellular coverage in the mountains can be intermittent and at the right time, you can be left without communication. Mountains are a zone of increased danger and sometimes the ability to connect other people can be a matter of health. Secondly, phones quickly discharge, especially when it’s cold. Walkie-talkies do not consume charge so quickly.
Let's see what to consider when choosing a good walkie-talkie for ski
Firstly, you should know that radio waves can't pass through barriers. So if your friends stay on the other side of the mountain, you can't reach them. The connection will be good if there are no obstacles between you. For example, a good connection will be if you stay on top of the slope, and your friends are below. Or if you're both on top of different mountains.
The next thing to think about is interference. On the slopes, many skiers can also use walkie-talkies. Unlike a cellular phone, walkie-talkies do not allocate a personal channel for each user. Instead, all participants use one common broadcast. Therefore, do not use the radio to discuss personal topics: all users of the channel will hear your conversation. You will also hear the rest of the cast. To avoid hearing other people's conversations, use subtones.
Follow the instructions for your walkie-talkie set the same subtone on your walkie-talkie and on your friends' walkie-talkies. Then you'll only hear each other.
Read more about the subtones and interferenses in our article about walkie-talkies for snowboarding.
Think about the waterproofness of your walkie-talkie. When skiing, your 2-way radio can fall onto the snow. Before buying, make sure that the body protects the chips of a walkie-talkie from water interfere. There is an international classification of degrees of protection against water. You need a degree of IP65 or higher. Buy walkie-talkies from famous manufacturers: they value reputation and will not declare false parameters.
Think of shock resistance. During falls, the walkie-talkie can suffer not only from water ingress but also from blows to stones. The best solution is to take a walkie-talkie with MIL STD810 protection.
Headset connectivity. Make sure the walkie-talkie has a headset connector and VOX mode (when you can send messages without pressing the Push-to-Talk button). This will increase the convenience of use because it is inconvenient to get the walkie-talkie out of the pocket and press buttons in thick gloves.
What's the battery inside your skiing walkie-talkie?
Batteries for two-way radios are divided into four main types:
- Ni-Cd (nickel-cadmium);
- Ni-MH (nickel-metal hydride);
- Li-Ion (lithium-ion);
- Li-Pol (lithium-polymer).
Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular, but they also tolerate frost the worst. At temperatures below -20 degrees, the walkie-talkie may not work. Consider it as well.
Last but not least, it is an opportunity to use the two-way radio legally in the country where you go skiing. In different countries, different channels are allocated for civil communication by radio. And if, for example, you buy a radio with FRS channels in the USA, then you won’t be able to use it in Europe. There, LPD and PMR frequencies are allocated for free communication, which, in turn, are prohibited in the USA and Canada. Remember this so as not to ruin your rest.
Please find out in advance what parameters your radio should meet in the country where you go skiing.
If you don’t know, how to talk on a walkie talkie, jump here!