As we approach opening day we want to be prepared for our best ski season ever. We tune our skis, make sure our boots still fit, put chains and sand in our trunk, and load up on…smartphone apps?
Yup, this winter the number of available ski+snow related apps is higher than ever. Resorts and tech companies are making it easier for you to stay connected from the trail, on a lift, or in the lodge. Your phone can help you get to the resort smoothly, stay safe, and maximize your time on the mountain.
With thousands of apps available, how do you choose which to install? Here are some of our favorites.
For Before You Get to The Mountain:
–The Weather Channel, with its real time local weather reports, radar, and forecasts up to ten days in advance, TWC remains the industry leader for checking the clouds.
– Ski and Snow Report is a weather option for trail conditions, snowfall measurements, wind speeds, avalanche warnings, and other details tailored to the skier. Set a list of your favorite places to ski and compare each mountain’s snow totals or use your phone’s GPS to get real time forecasts for the closest resorts.
–Waze– On the way to your favorite mountain Waze provides community sourced directions. Waze lets you share and view information on what roads are closed, where black ice (or a speed trap) is hiding, and shortcuts to help you avoid unplowed roads and traffic back ups.
– Gas Buddy shows the cheapest and/or closest gas so you can save a few dollars for an après ski drink.
On The Mountain: Once you’re here, stretched out, geared up and ready to ride there are plenty of apps worth keeping in your pocket during the day.
–Find my Friends– You take a different turn than your buddy. You call, he doen’t pick up. The Find my Friends app can tell you what chair your friend was last on, or when they head to the lodge for lunch.
–Pano lets you merge photos into panoramic shots so you can capture a wider perspective from a beautiful mountain view.
–Action Shot allows you to film a trick like it’s a video and then creates a sequence of pictures worthy of a ski or snowboard magazine.
– Go Pro‘s app lets you pair your mobile phone to your GoPro camera for easier controls, video playback, photo viewing, and social sharing.
–EpicMixcreates an interactive digital experience from your ski days at Vail Resorts. The app uses RFID technology to link your season pass to an online account that records where and when you ski as well as your total vertical feet. EpixMix lets you earn pins and points for completing challenges such as Balloon Ride for covering 25,000 vertical feet and Road Warrior for visiting 3 different mountains on consecutive days.
EpicMix photographers will be on the mountain taking high resolution pictures that are automatically saved in your account. You can share your photos and stats on social media- and the app will tell you who else is on the mountain. You can also check conditions, snow reports, traffic , weather, and reference then in-app trail maps.
Each Vail Resort property (except Kirkwood)has a racing area where EpicMix tracks your times and compares them to other Epic Mix users and some of the best skiers in the world. New this season, Epic Mix is being integrated with the Vail Resorts Ski and Ride school so new skiers and boarders can earn pins as they progress through their lessons.
–SnoWhereturns your phone’s GPS into an avalanche beacon. In cell service is unavailable, the app can use phone to phone connectivity or send messages through your GPS. Please note: apps are NOT meant to replace traditional back country gear or formal training.
–Ullr Labs Avalance Safety Toolsincludes a backcountry field kit featuring GPS, compass, clinometer and inclement weather warnings. The app allows skiers to collaborate to more accurately assess risk. Again, this app is NOT intended to replace safety courses, but is a good pocket reference for days spent skiing off the beaten path.
Other: When you’re away from the mountain daydreaming about a pow day, there are several ways to stoke your winter excitement.