Winter sports used to be about exhilarating physical exercise. But unless you're really into Hemingway, it's not any more.
Now it's all about the gadgets.
There is a really amazing amount of cool new tech for use on the slopes these days. Whether you're skiing or snowboarding, uni-skiing or just sliding uncontrollably down a hill, you have no excuse not to film it and post the video on YouTube by the time you hit the bottom.
And it's not just cameras and heads-up displays. Even the basics - thermals and jackets, helmets and headphones - are moving with the times and getting more high tech every day.
Take a look at our choices for the coolest and most useful winter tech below. Now - we're off to the slopes. We'll let you know how we got on once we return...
Recon HUD Goggles
Do you remember when you used to dream of being the Terminator, with a heads-up display pointing out the location of your targets and mission status? <a href="http://www.reconinstruments.com/">The Recon HUD</a> is like that, just replace 'targets' with buddies, and 'mission' with speed, location and other key information about your run. <a href="http://www.reconinstruments.com/">It's embedded in a pair of specially designed goggles</a>, and sits comfortably just below your normal eyeline for quick glances during runs. It also syncs with your phone, to save data about your run and play music, check email and see incoming calls.
Red Mutiny Helmet + Redphones
Helmets are pretty much a must on the slopes these days - but that doesn't mean you have lose your edge - or your tunes. All <a href="http://www.burton.com/red-protection-mens-mutiny-helmet/278584,default,pd.html">Red</a> (that's the brand, not the colour) head protectors, and those of many other brands, are designed to have flat earphones inserted for easy - and relatively safe - listening to music while on the ski lift. We went for a pair of '<a href="http://www.burton.com/red-protection-mens-redphones-premium-dj/278589,default,pd.html">Redphones</a>', which have a handy remote and connect to any music player.
The Motorola <a href="http://www.razri.com/uk">RaZRi</a> is a decently specced mid-range Android smartphone, which also happens to be nicely suited to using on the slopes because it's both splash-proof and totally white. Yes, we might lose it in the ice, but once we find it the device will probably still be working.
Burton Hackett Snowboarding Jacket
Burton have been a well-known (and pricey) fashion leader in snowboarding gear since the 70s - but it's their high-tech innovations with natural-feeling fabrics that grabs our attention. <a href="http://www.burton.com/mens-hackett-snowboard-jacket/276401,default,pd.html">The Hackett Jacket</a> is a good example. Feeling just like a flannel shirt with a cotton hood, it's actually incredibly warm with its 'Thinsulate' lining, and is both waterproof and light. You won't feel like you're wearing a snow jacket at all, and if you're lucky no one will notice the rest of your 'hoody' is missing.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/10/hoodie-with-embedded-headphones-earbox_n_2269990.html">The EarBox hoody has headphones built into the hood</a>, making it a great choice for travelling, skiing and lounging around after you're done for the day. It comes with headphones included, but slip in a pair of Redphones (see earlier) and you'll get even better performance.
Icebreaker Merino Wool Thermals
The Icebreaker brand is one of the priciest around for thermal underwear - and for a reason. It's high tech, <a href="http://eu2.icebreaker.com/Why-Icebreaker-Merino/what-is-icebreaker-merino,en,pg.html">promising up to a month of extremely warm, breathable protection</a>, all without getting smelly, wet or stretched, but also all-natural since the secret is Merino wool from sheep, not a laboratory. It's a great fusion of tech and natural fibres, and should keep you warm on the slopes in the depths of winter and sun of spring.
GoPro Hero 3
We love the <a href="http://gopro.com/?gclid=CL7Uutz4gLUCFTDMtAodUV8AHg">GoPro</a> - it's an incredibly powerful, light HD camera that comes with a waterproof casing making it perfect for off- and on-piste use. Attach it to your helmet with the included mounts, or buy extras to clip it to your ski poles, snowboard or anywhere else you can imagine.
Ski Tracks App
Available for iPhone and Android, the Ski Tracks app is a brilliant little download. Using GPS alone - no data costs involved - it can track where you've been, how fast you travelled, how many runs you've done and your altitude, and overlay it on a map of the area. It's simple and it works.
Heated Skiing Gloves
Unsurprisingly your hands get cold when skiing. But they don't have to. <a href="http://www.skiequipmentuk.co.uk/shop/products/2011-12_Snowlife_Liion_Heat_GTX_Womens_Ski_Glove.htm?ref=gmc">These Snowlife Lithium-Ion gloves</a> are pricey, but if you have bad circulation (which is a thing, right?) or just want to be warmer, they'll be perfect.
Arctic Snowball Crossbow
If you go to a place made of snow, and you're surrounded by snow, eventually you're going to want to hit someone with snow. That's perfectly understandable. But do it right, with this <a href="http://www.firebox.com/product/5555/Arctic-Force-Snowball-Crossbow">Arctic Force Snowball Crossbow.</a>