Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, snow blading, or even snow mobiling, you’ll probably want a decent pair of sports headphones. We personally spend a couple weeks out of each year on the slopes, and while we spend half our time talking to friends as we cruise down some easy greens, we spend the other half of the time shredding some blues and blacks, and without some tunes to keep us motivated we probably wouldn’t make it through those 6-8 hour slope days.
We previously outlined our general criteria for best sports headphones here.
- In-line Controls. If you’re going to be bringing an MP3 player with you while you hit the slopes then you’ll definitely want in-line controls on your headphones so you can toss your MP3 player in your pocket and forget about it. If you find a decent in-line player you’ll even be able to change songs or volume with your gloves still on.
- Water Resistant. We know, you never wipe out and go crashing head first into the snow. But in the event that you do, you may want to look into grabbing a pair of earbuds that are water resistant.
Best Skiing Headphones of 2011
A lot of people may disagree about wearing headphones on the slopes, and while we don’t think beginner skiers should be flying down the slopes with Eminem pumping in their ears, we don’t see a problem with people who have been skiing for years enjoying their favorite tunes as they weave and wind down through some fresh powder. However, regardless of what level skier you are always make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, headphones or no headphones.
Number 1 – Klipsch Image S5i Rugged Headphones
The name says it all, rugged. Klipsch designed these headphones to be put to the test in any environment. Their in-line controls featuring larger volume and play controls are perfect for changing songs on the ski lift without having to take your gloves off. What’s even better is their standard 2 year warranty, which is rarely matched in their industry. And let’s just say you won’t be hurting for sound with these earbuds either.
Number 2 -Shure SE115-k
You may have noticed the Shure SE115-k on another one of our “Best of 2011″ lists, but the thing is these headphones are just to sweet to keep off another list. Hands down the best quality is their sound. But what makes the sound so great is the comfort. After a few minutes you probably won’t even notice the earbuds in your ears.
Number 3 – Etymotic Research HF2 Earphones
When we researched what a lot of other skiers were using or recommending we found the Etymotic were very near the top of the list. Their earbuds have a tapered style, which is fairly unique, but the main feature that we liked was the “Awareness” factor. Essentially these headphones are designed to allow certain ambient sounds in, such as a truck honking or a skier yelling. Pretty cool idea.
What to expect in 2012?
It’s hard to say what we’ll see in terms of headphones for skiing or snowboarding in 2012. The market is quite a bit smaller than the typical sports market, such as running headphones or general sports headphones. You may be seeing the headphones on this list stay on this list for a while, but we’ll just have to wait and see.