6 most useful ski apps 2012
If you are going skiing this year which mobile apps are worth your time, and which apps are just going to clog up your phone? Probably the 6 things you are most likely to want an ski app for this winter are checking snow forecasts; looking at piste maps without it blowing away or going soggy; using your phone with your gloves on; staying avalanche safe; improving your technique and of course, for ultimate bragging rights, recording your top speeds and mileage! So having used dozens of ski apps as companions for skiing in many different resorts in Europe, we started to make some conclusions about which ones we would keep using, and which would be going into the virtual bin.
Snow Forecasts – Ski and Snow report (free)
By far the highest score in user ratings for all the main snow forecast apps is the Ski and Snow reports from onthesnow.com. As well as snow reports and forecasts for 2000 resorts worldwide, there are webcams, photos, maps and more. From experience we know that the reports seem to be quite accurate (not as common as you would think!) It is currently rather US centric however, so not quite so much use to those in Europe.
For those ski resorts in Europe not covered by this app, try the Ski Club Snow Report app.
Piste Maps – ItrailMap (free, or £2.99)
There is only really one winner here, as has been the case for a few years. ITrailMap allows you to download over 750 paper ski resort maps, then pan and zoom to navigate quickly – less cold fingers! The new 3D version (£2.99, iPhone only) has a GPS locator, which doesn’t need network connection to use the which is very handy. You can also record your mileage, vertical descent and distance.
Android free version
Tracking your day – Ski Tracks (£0.69)
Ski Tracks is the most popular app in this category by far. Unfortunatley it is only available on Iphone. For £0.69 you can accurately record your speed, vertical descent and slope angles run by run, share this on facebook, take and geotag photos and check maps. All quite addictive really, and great for competitive groups of skiers!
For android users, the closest equivalent is AlpineReplay
Using your phone – Ski Phone (free)
The beauty of this app is in its simplicity in solving a very real problem for skiers: using your phone without taking your gloves off! The solution is simple. Shake up and down to activate voice commands or answer the phone. Shake back and forth to take a picture. Sadly only available on android.
Staying Safe – Mammut Safety (free), or Fitclimb (£0.99)
Mammut Safety (free) seems to have become the popular choice here on Iphone. No wonder, as it really does have all the tools you need to stay safe off piste and in the backcountry. The clinometer allows you to check slope angles (important for avalanche precautions). There is also an altimeter, links to avalanche bulletins and more recently an excellent SOS function which allows you to communicate your GPS coordinates to local rescue teams and a friends phone.
On Android, Fitclimb is the nearest choice. Available for £0.99, it includes lots of resources, bulletins and a clinometer.
Getting better – Ski School (£2.99)
Ski Schools offers you great quality ski lessons presented on short video clips from qualified instructor Darren Turner. These videos are the perfect way to help reinforce lessons or keep reminding yourself of important bits of technique. They are available for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers. The new version even allows you to record videos and photos to compare and analyse your technique on split screens compared to the demos.
This year they are also available on Nokia Symbian. Hopefully Android too before long!
Guest post by SkiWeekender.com, a ski tour operator specialising in ski weekends and short ski breaks in ski resorts near Geneva for over 10 years.