As someone who has been an avid skier for more than two decades, I know that skiing and snowboarding have always been a technology-intensive endeavor. I have spent many hours scanning through equipment and apparel reviews, comparing DIN ranges, turn radii, flex capabilities and thermal rating, just as I am sure many of you have. We are no strangers to technology. However, what I’d like to offer you here is some helpful advice on technology of a different sort.
Below I have listed what I consider to be a few mobile apps to help you with your group trip, both on and off the slopes.
4,800 RESORTS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
I’ll begin with an app that claims to be the most comprehensive collection of trail maps, test reports, snow reports, snow depths, ski weather/mountain weather info, webcams, live streams, ski info (slopes, lifts, ski passes) and accommodations for ski holidays in the world. The SkiResort.info app holds information on over 4,800 resorts and lifts worldwide and is a trusted leader in the snow report and resort info arena.
Some of the most useful features are the “route planner” and “nearby resorts” features, which use your current location to display resorts close to you on a map and provide you directions on how to get there from where you are. The app even has links to 3,000 live webcams for those of us who want to see the destination live.
AUGMENTED REALITY COMES TO LIFE
So you’ve finally arrived at your chosen resort, but it is your first time there, and finding your way around using traditional means can be cumbersome and time consuming. Enter the Realski augmented reality app. Just open the app and point your phone like a camera, and information regarding restaurants, lodges, restrooms and chairlifts layer over your view screen. The app can even tell you the difficulty rating of whatever ski run you happen to be on.
The app currently is limited to about 100 ski resorts in North America, but the list is expanding rapidly. And when your day is done and you’re trying to remember where you parked, this app has you covered as well, with the ability to geotag your car for easy location.
FIND YOUR FRIENDS ON THE SLOPES
Let’s face it, while skiing and boarding may be group activities, the members of your group will not be homogeneous in regards to skill level, pace or trail choice, and the larger the group, the more you are likely to be spread out all over the mountain. Keeping track of everyone can be a chore, especially when you are trying to schedule group activities like meals or check-ins.
Apple comes to the rescue once again! Its Find My Friends app, available for iOS and Android devices, tells you the exact location of all of the members of your group who have it installed and have agreed to share their location, making sure you always have the 411 on your group members.
Safety is always a concern when on the mountain, especially for the more adventurous of us who venture into the backcountry or engage in heli-skiing or other activities where the risks are higher. We all know to carry an avalanche beacon in case we become injured or trapped, but as backup I highly recommend the SnoWhere app, which converts your phone’s GPS into a beacon as well.
These apps are just four of my favorites, but there are lots more out there to help you plan and execute a safe and successful group trip. If you have one that you’d like to share, please contact us on our website, BoundForSnow.com. If we like your suggestion, we’ll be sure to include it in our next list along with your submission information.
See you on the slopes!
−By Lance Harrell