When Kristin first gave me my altimeter watch for Christmas, she bought me the Suunto S6. It's a skiing-specific watch designed to track how many runs you ski, your total elevation descent, and also measure slope angles and measure your rate of descent on certain terrain. It was great, but not really what I wanted since I spend most of my days in the outdoors riding cross-country mountain bike trails. Or trail running. When it comes to snowboarding, I care more about having fun and carving through the glades than I do about speed. So I exchanged it for the Suunto X6 model, which replaces the downhill-oriented skiing modes with cross country focused hiking/biking modes.
As luck would have it, the watch also knows how to automatically track a "run" as well and does much the same things as the other watch did.
So last night, after work, we headed up to Summit Central at Snoqualmie Pass to put it to the test. We counted 8 runs, all serviced via the same lift, and started the watch's logbook feature upon arrival.
Upon completion, the watch informed us that we did, in fact, take 8 runs and snowboarded a total of 7,910 feet of elevation. Each run had a descent of 989 feet according to the watch. Can the watch be trusted?
The Summit Central website reports their maximum vertical drop at 1,025 feet (granted this isn't much but for a local hill, it's cool) and since the longest lift wasn't open on account of a lack of lighting on that part of the mountain, we were on a slightly shorter lift. The upper portion of the moutain is very ridge-like and I would be willing to bet that there is no more than 35 feet or of difference in elevation between these lifts.
The watch works wonderfully. So, if you're in the market for an altimeter watch geared primarily for cross-country purposes, but would also like one that can automatically track the number of ski runs you take (or downhill runs on your long-travel mountain bike) and the total elevation you skiied/boarded, then the Suunto X6 is a fine choice.