Capturing the thrill of your snow holiday is part of the fun, right? From cool snaps of you shredding the off piste, to styling it out in your apres ski gear at the bar by the base station. And while GoPro footage and smartphone selfies are great for what they do, if you want to level up your ski or snowboard footage, you’re gonna need a drone.
With a drone, you can get those truly awesome shots of you and your friends carving up the pistes with the whole scene in context. Not to mention some spectacular landscape images too. After all, that birds eye shot really changes the whole dynamic.
But when it comes to drones, not all are created equal. And when it comes to drones for ski or snowboarding footage, there are certain things you’ll want to be sure are included…
Before we continue, just a quick shout. There are affiliate links in this post, which just means we may earn a commission if you click and buy at no extra cost to you. Cheers 😉
What Features to Watch for with Ski Drones
When picking a drone for ski or snowboarding footage, you’ll want to make sure that you’re packing the most cutting edge features. Generally speaking, the following elements are all key features which are essential when choosing a good ski drone.
- Follow-me technology: As it sounds, this is the clever trick where the drone locks onto a specific person or object (ie; you) and follows them both physically and with the camera. This tracking feature is vital for autonomous drone flight, enabling the drone to follow skiers and snowboarders without requiring manual control.
- Obstacle avoidance: You don’t wanna be smacking into tress or people in chairlifts, right? Hence, the ability to detect, avoid, and navigate around obstacles is crucial for ensuring safety while flying in a mountainous environment.
- Stability: Look for a drone that responds well to windy conditions and can maintain its altitude for seamless filming. Essential for those mountain breezes – which can be pretty harsh even when they’re kinda sedate.
- Flight time: Longer flight times mean more time to film, capture highlights, and create an engaging video. Older drones used to have 20 minutes flight time max – these days you can get close to an hour.
- Image and video quality: High-resolution cameras and top-notch image stabilization technologies are essential to create crisp and smooth footage. Be warned that some budget drones cut corners on this front – so pay attention to the image quality.
- Ease of use: Intuitive controls and user-friendly features make it easy for those new to drones to operate them, and advanced settings allow professionals to fine-tune performance. Flying a drone takes some getting used to though, so don’t assume you’ll buy a drone today and be flying it around Chamonix by the weekend.
Bonus key feature:
- Weight: A drone under 250 grams means you aren’t restricted by licences and some local laws. Although we do still recommend getting a drone licence (more on that at the bottom of this article).
We also think it’s best to pick foldable drones. Having a compact and foldable drone means you can easily slip it into your ski rucksack, without needing to put the machine together as that biting cold freezes your fingers.
1. DJI Mavic 3 Pro
The Ultimate Filming Machine
This is basically the flagship when it comes to compact drones, and is basically the best ski drone you can get for your money. The Mavic 3 Pro delivers fantastic image quality, superb video stabilization, and advanced follow-me mode, making it a top choice for action sports enthusiasts.
Let’s not mess about here. This is a serious piece of kit, hence the price. So if you’re planning on grabbing a few fun pics from your next ski trip, this probably isn’t the drone for you. But, if you want to invest in a top grade drone and properly get into drone photography, or ski photography and videography, this is more than just a great ski drone. This is currently the best drone money can buy.
- High resolution 20MP camera for stunning photos and 5.1K video
- Advanced flight modes designed specifically for action sports
- Obstacle-avoidance sensors for safer flight
- 958 grams
- Flight time of up to 45 minutes
- Prices: Approx £2,800 / €3,200 – Buy on Amazon
2. DJI Mini 4 Pro
Perfect for Most
Small, lightweight, and user-friendly, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is a beginner’s best friend when it comes to capturing aerial action sports footage. In fact, the compact nature of the Mini Pro series of drones might make this more appealing, as you get a great drone for your money, but for a fraction of the cost of the headline Mavic Series.
In all honesty, we think most amateur filmmakers and snowsports fans will be more than happy with the DJI Mini 4 Pro. And, for under 1000 quid, you’re getting the essential features such as collision avoidance, follow me tracking and top quality images.
- 4K HD video recording
- Good flight time of around 30 minutes
- Compact and easy to transport
- Follow-me mode with GPS and altitude lock
- 249 grams
- Prices: Approx £950/ €1000 – Buy on Amazon
3. Ruko F11 GIM2
A Great Budget All Rounder
If you’re looking for an affordable drone to have some fun with on the slopes, and elsewhere, the Ruko F11GIM2 is a good option. While the camera quality isn’t quite up to DJI standards, this is still a very respectable 4k video drone with many of the essential features such as follow me technology and return to home.
You’ll also find good wind resistance, as well as a nice compact drone which is ideal for your ski pack. While it might not offer pro-tier video images, most users (including casual bloggers) will likely find this a great piece of kit.
- 4K video with image stabilisation
- Follow me GPS tracking and Return to Home
- Solid battery life of over 60 mins
- 560 grams
- Prices: Approx £499.99/€575 – Buy on Amazon
4. DJI Air 3 Drone
The Versatile Choice
Our third entry for DJI – but let’s be fair, they do dominate the quality drone market. Suitable for both beginners and professionals, the DJI Air 3 Drone strikes the perfect balance between functionality and affordability. It’s packing the essential follow me mode, plus obstacle sensing, making this a great value option.
The DJI Air series also come with low noise, which is handy as it doesn’t sound like a swarm of mosquitos following you down the mountain. And, of course, you get the amazing image quality you’d expect from a DJI drone.
- Dual cameras for capturing a variety of angles
- Simplified controls with automatic takeoff and landing
- A dedicated follow-me mode for high-speed action sports
- 720 grams
- Prices: Approx £1200 / €1500 – Buy on Amazon
5. DJI Mavic Air 2
Older Model Still Hits the Spot
Although the Mavic Air 2 is an older model drone (circa 2020), this is still a serious piece of kit for those looking for exceptional ski drone footage. The DJI Mavic Air 2 boasts rock-solid tracking and high-definition camera capabilities, making it ideal for capturing fast-paced winter sports. It also offers opportunities to capture hyperlapse footage for some lush landscape photography.
If you want the premium DJI experience but aren’t quite ready to splash out on the latest models, we think the DJI Mavic Air 2 will be right up your street. There’s basically everything you need, including obstacle avoidance, return to home and follow me GPS tracking.
- 4K video and 48MP images
- Obstacle avoidance, follow me tracking and return to home.
- Flight time of up to 34 minutes
- 570 grams
- Prices: Approx £750 / €865 – Buy on Amazon
6. Potensic ATOM SE
Great Budget Drone
OK, if you’re here looking for the best all in one drone, with the features you need, for a bargain price, stop here. The Potensic ATOM SE seriously feature packed for it’s low price point, offering a 4K camera, return to home and the all important follow me tracking. Basically, it a great budget drone for ski and snowboard fans looking to capture footage for their social media or just to share with friends.
In fact, this compact drone is almost pocket sized* (don’t keep it in your pocket though, please). And despite lacking obstacle avoidance, most will find that this is perfect for capturing some fun footage on their next ski holiday. Oh and as it’s under 250 grams, it falls into the leisure drone category, meaning you don’t necessarily need to get the drone licence.
- 4K Sony CMOS camera with ShakeVanish stabilisation
- GPS follow-me mode and return to home
- Over one hour flight time
- 249 grams
- Prices: Approx £286/ €325 – Buy on Amazon
7. DJI Air 2S
Quality and Essential Features
Another older model from DJI for those looking for top quality for less. The DJI Air 2S comes with refined follow-me features, making it a high-performing drone for action-packed snow sports. It also includes obstacle sensing, which can be an essential for those busy pistes or forested runs.
While this might be the cheapest DJI drone on our list, it’s definitely worth looking at as it has all the essential elements for much less, making it a serious contender for great ski drones.
- ActiveTrack 4.0 and Dynamic Track capabilities
- One-inch 20MP CMOS sensor for stunning footage
- Great battery life up to 31 minutes of flight time
- 595 grams
- Prices: Approx £700 / €800 – Buy on Amazon
8. Autel NANO Plus
Seriously Solid Piece of Kit
While DJI tend to dominate the lists of best drones, they ain’t the only players in town. The Autel NANO Plus is an exceptional drone, with some serious specs in a lightweight frame. You’re getting top quality 4k video, 50MB photos in HDR and all those ski drone essentials including GPS Follow Me tracking, return to home and more.
Like the DJI Nano 3 (probably the direct competitor for this specific model), you’ve got under 250 grams in weight, a high quality camera, wind and image stabilisation and the all important obstacle avoidance.
- 4K video recording and 50MP photo capabilities
- Enhanced ActiveTrack and Dynamic Track technology
- Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance
- 249 grams
- Prices: Approx £1,200 / €1,500 – Buy on Amazon
9. Holy Stone HS720R
Excellent Budget Ski Drone
Great for beginners, the Holy Stone HS720R offers advanced follow-me capabilities at an attractive price point. Holy Stone drones are well known for their decent quality at budget prices. Whether you just want to capture some epic footage for your Instagram on your next ski trip, or you are learning how to operate a drone for ski or snowboarding footage, the Holy Stone HS720R will be a good choice.
While this is a heavier drone (meaning you’ll need the licence to fly in public areas), it does offer lots of great features making it a serious contender for budget or casual drone enthusiasts. There are lots of Holy Stone drones to choose from, but the HS720R ticks most of the essential boxes here.
- 4K Full HD 90°adjustable Camera
- User-friendly controls and simple operation
- Budget-friendly option with advanced features including Follow Me
- 389 grams
- Prices: Approx £320 / €370 – Buy on Amazon
10. HOVERAIR X1
Pocket Sized Follow Me Drone
Just want a drone that you can pop out and capture some great selfie footage without needing to fly it? This is your drone right here. The Hoverair X1 is a really cool little pocket sized drone, literally – it folds up neatly, coming in at 125 grams. It also requires minimal control and is super easy to set up and have it following you down that crazy black run in a seconds (ready in 3 seconds according to the blurb).
OK, it’s not super high res. But it does shoot HDR at 2.7k, which is perfect for hobbyists and anyone looking for jaw droppingly cool Instagram footage. Frankly, I want one of these and it’s on my shopping list, so hopefully I’ll be doing a review very soon. In the meantime, make me jealous and get one (and then tag me in your footage).
- HDR 2.7k video at 30FPS
- Totally hands free operation – just set it up and it follows you
- Ultra lightweight at 125 grams
- Image stabilisation
- Prices – from £385 at Hoverair website OR Buy on Amazon.
Do You Need A Licence to Fly Drones in Ski Resorts?
There is no blanket rule about flying drones in ski resorts, as the rules differ from country to country. One thing to bear in mind is that in most European countries, such as Austria and France, you’ll need a licence to fly a drone over 250 grams over a public area (such as a ski resort).
For most European ski resorts, as a general rule:
- Ensure you do not fly over public buildings.
- Do not fly higher than 150 metres from the ground.
- In Austria there are rules about public privacy, so be careful if you are filming other people (for example at an event).
- Keep the drone within eyesight.
- Do not fly over military installations, airports or other civic buildings.
If your drone is over 250 grams then you should get the EU drone licence, which is also valid in Switzerland and other non-EU nations. This costs around €125 and is ‘success guaranteed’.