Garmin's latest free update is fantastic news for skiers

Close-up of skier's hands checking sports watch in the snow
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Garmin is rolling out a new software update for older watches, including the original Enduro and the Fenix 6 series, which makes some big improvements to winter sports tracking. Beta update 26.81 finally improves auto run for ski and snowboard activities, just in time for the start of snow season.

The ski and snowboard activities allow your Garmin watch to track distance travelled, time, and total elevation descent, and maximum and average speed. As the company explained in a 2021 blog post, the auto run feature used to automatically track stats for each run as you descended, and paused the activity while you took a chairlift back up. Once you started moving again, the timer would restart. 

As Notebookcheck reports, following the update your watch will track the entire skiing or snowboarding activity without pausing. Garmin says that this should result in more accurate metrics overall, but you'll probably see your run count double because both downhill runs and lifts will be counted as separate runs. This anomaly should be ironed out before the software update rolls out publicly. 

How to get the update

This software update won't be installed automatically, even for members of the public beta testing program. Instead, you'll need to sideload it by following the instructions on Garmin's forums.

The update also makes a few other bug fixes, including resolving an issue where an issue where some Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Greek text would not display properly, and a problem where alarm tones would sometimes fail to activate if an activity was set to max battery.

Installing beta software on your Garmin watch gives you the chance to try out new features first, but there's always a chance that you might encounter bugs that stop your device working as you'd expect. If you're thinking about joining the testing program, take a look at our list of reasons why you should and shouldn't install beta software on your watch first.

If you decide that you want to go ahead, our guide how to join Garmin's public beta testing program will help you get started.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.