Still using the tried and true Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) technology that Cardo pioneers with its motorcycle-related products, the brand recently launched its line of Packtalk Ski device kits, albeit with fewer features compared to its Bold counterparts. Skiers and snowboarders will get the same general functionality and be able to communicate seamlessly and enjoy each other’s company with these devices.
However, it’s not the exact same product that Cardo provides for the motorcycling community. In fact, it seems like it's less feature-laden than the Packtalk Bold and Slim lines. Though, the fundamentals are present as the Ski supports smartphone pairing, DMC networking for up to 15 r̶i̶d̶e̶r̶s̶ skiers, and an awfully familiar cradle.
There are subtle differences between the Ski and the Bold. For starters, ski helmets are open face, so the cradle will integrate with a boom mic and have the 3.5mm headphone jack built into one neat little package not dissimilar to the half helmet cradle also supplied by Cardo. On that note, the speakers aren’t JBL, unfortunately. You don’t get the standard 40mm speaker package from JBL, and in its place is a set of 32mm drivers, but the JBL kits are still compatible.
The Ski looks absolutely similar to the Bold in every way, even down to the retractable antenna that’s kind of fun to play with. The cradle suggests that the Bold can be hooked up to your ski helmet if you’re also into winter sports in addition to riding a motorcycle. However, feature-wise the Ski doesn’t really stack up to the Bold in every way except for the core functions.
For starters, Cardo dropped the FM radio from the Packtalk Ski. Also, the Ski will only be able to pair with one Bluetooth device at a time unlike the Bold that simultaneously pair with two, though you won’t really need to pair with a GPS unit if you’re just going up and down a mountain with your buddies, right? Cardo does advertise that the Packtalk Ski can be operated in temperatures as low as -55 degrees Celsius, or -67 degrees Fahrenheit, though the Bold can do the same anyway.
You do end up paying less for the Ski instead of the Bold, however. At just $249 USD, it seems like an absolute bargain for a Packtalk device and is even more affordable than a Duo pack. Though, thinking about it now, the $100 USD difference—$50 USD per unit in the Duo pack, does get you JBL speakers, FM radio, and two-channel Bluetooth pairing.
It’s not all downsides though. If you happen to have a Cardo Packtalk Bold and want to go skiing, here’s a hack for you: get the Boom Microphone Half Helmet Kit and just transfer over your speakers to your ski lid, and you essentially get a Packtalk Ski Bold for just $45.95 USD more.