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Chris Metcalf

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Yes, some geeks do actually have active outdoor lifestyles.

This past summer I snagged a Burton RED helmet off of Steep and Cheap for the low low price of $70. That was the beginning.

When Geeks Go Skiing

I’ve recently realized that I may be the geekiest guy on the ski slopes. And thats hard here in Washington:

  • Burton RED Tantrum Audex Helmet. Primarily to protect my precious noggin. Its got all the standard helmet features like fleecy ear covers and goggle-gap seals. But the real benefit comes from the Motorola Audex Bluetooth headphones, which I'll explain later.
  • Apple iPod Photo, 60 gig. She's starting to show her age, but I don't really see the need for a new iPod yet.
  • T-Mobile BlackBerry 8700g phone. Yes, its just your standard BlackBerry, but recently they've started putting in towers near the ski resorts here in Washington, so I can finally get reception. Not only can I get reception, but I can get EDGE wireless broadband access from the ski lift...
  • Jabra A125s iPod Bluetooth Module. This is very cool. It supports the both the Bluetooth audio/control protocols for my iPod as well as the headset profile for my BlackBerry. And it has its own battery so it doesn't drain my iPod battery.
  • CamelBak Scorpion hydration pack. I got a great deal on it on Steap and Cheap. Its a great bag for skiing, with padded pockets for my gadgets and enough room for lunch and other goodies. And its got a 70oz water bladder that's specially insulated to keep it from freezing in the dead of winter. All in a package compact enough that you don't have to take it off to sit on the lift.

The real fun happens when you hook it all together. So the Audex headphones on the helmet support both the AVRCP/A2DP Bluetooth headphone profiles and the standard headset profile. So I can connect them simultaneously to both my BlackBerry and my iPod.

The Jabra Bluetooth module streams music wirelessly from my iPod to the headphones (which are open so I can still clearly hear things going on around me). The earpieces themselves have big mitten-friendly buttons also big rubber rings on the outside that act like big knobs. So you twist the left earphone to turn the volume up and down and the right headphone to change the track forward and back. Very cool.

And then when a call comes in on my BlackBerry, the headphones automatically pause my iPod. When I answer the call (using another big, mitten-friendly button), they act as a cell phone headset, allowing me to talk without taking my phone out of my bag.

Do I really need all these gadgets? No, not really. But its convenient and fun :)