Heading out to find some fresh snow? The app-gicians have not forsaken you. Indeed, if your smartphone’s role in your winter adventures has been confined to a hasty glance at your weather app or the WA DOT website (click here for their mobile apps for iPhone or Android) to check pass conditions, there’s another world of information about outdoor adventures online.
We’ve found some interesting apps that may help you to save money, save time, or even save your life. Please bear in mind that we are not promoting any of these but offering this sampling as a kick start in helping you research apps that appeal to your needs and budget.
Admittedly, budget won’t be a big factor for most of these – many are free or available for the cost of a latte.
Let’s cruise through these offerings in ski/board planning order:
So you’re wearing your FitBit, your Jawbone, or whatever wearable monitor and diligently pushing up your daily step and stair counts – great, but you aren’t really going up to the slopes without targeting the correct muscle groups, are you? Of course you aren’t.
Find that Snow
You’ve got this one on your iPhone or Android device, yes? Of course you have. Everyone uses it, and it’s free: Snow and Ski app .
Practice Ahead of Time
Yes you can! Just suspend your reality for a minute and pretend that your fingers are legs. You can do this – we know you can! With Touch Ski 3D, you can “ski” while on the bus, in a particularly excruciating meeting – anywhere. You can preview it here. It’ll cost you, but where can you “ski” for only $2.99? As a further benefit, we know of no reported injuries resulting from finger-skiing on your iPhone.
Find the Best Price on Lift Tickets
That would be Liftopia, also a free app, in keeping with its goal of getting you the best price on lift tickets. Part of the draw is the in-advance piece: buy tickets on line, avoid lift ticket lines. It also allows advance purchase of lessons and equipment.
Navigating the Slopes
You’re not going to pull out that damp trail map pamphlet thing, are you? It’s so last-millenium, and using your smartphone allows you to map routes from wherever you are if you have an app like REALSKI, which touts itself as an “augmented reality” app. It allows you to target runs of a given difficulty, chairlifts, and more in your current location. While some believe that it could save lives,, it should be noted that a limited number of resorts are mapped on this application. Check before you download – although the investment will cost only in time; it’s free.
Of course, the larger resorts haven’t been lax about developing their own apps to help skiers and snowboarders navigate their slopes, Snowbird being a case in point. We in the Pacific Northwest are in luck – Snoqualmie Pass trails are available for smartphone-aided navigation, as are Steven’s Pass, Crystal Mountain, and Mt Baker.
Another alternative is iTrail, which works with the GPS in your iPhone to track and record your runs – and potentially help you recover from losing your way. $2.99 is the price of digital guidance.
Saving that Bacon of Yours
Whether you’re snowboarding or trudging to the office, this app could make a difference to someone: the American Heart Association’s Pocket First Aid and CPR app. Why not? $1.99 is the cost of life-saving knowledge.
Likewise the Wilderness First Aid app, for an investment of $0.99, may make a difference – particularly if looking through it inspires you to delve deeper into what you need to know to help an injured person in the back country.
Heading into the backcountry? Ullr’s Mobile Avalanche Safety Tools may be a sound investment. At $9.99, it’s the priciest app in this survey, and let’s be clear about the levity of backcountry snow adventures. Anyone venturing into the backcountry should research safety with the utmost care (including carrying an appropriate avalanche transceiver), but this or a similar app could help to make a difference.
It’s what we do, right? Quantify your snow sports with Ski Pursuit, which will allow you to track and record your runs and rides all through the season. And what’s the fun of knowing how fast your best run of the day was without sharing it via Facebook and Twitter? According to the creator (full disclosure: ski-maker Rossignol, not that they’re attempting to sneak this past anyone; you’ll recognize that stylized red “R” when you download the (free) app), you can also join the Pursuit community on Facebook and exchange ski stats and rankings with people from around the world.
This is a superficial survey but gives you an idea of the digital assistance out there to take your winter mountain adventures to (sorry, here comes the inescapable pun) new heights.
One thing these apps can’t do for you – at least overnight – is improve your skiing and boarding skills. Don’t forget that helmet.