When you pull out your phone during chairlift rides this ski season, don't you want it to be for a good reason? There are plenty of great apps being released for skiers and riders for Android, iPhone and even the new Apple Watch. Fill your time between runs by seeing where the rest of your crew is riding, tracking what runs you've done, looking up lift ticket deals or even checking out backcountry conditions. To let you know exactly which downloads are worth their data, Curbed Ski has put together a primer on the best ski apps this season.
SkiLynx is designed to let you keep track of your friends (and your day) while on the mountain. Optimized for the Apple Watch but perfectly compatible with just an iPhone, the application tracks your position, the positions of a private group of friends also using the app and allows one-tap chat between members of the group. It also stores the info from each day on the hill for you to view later. What SkiLynx boasts that it can do better than other social ski apps is pinpoint your location on the mountain. It will be able to tell which lift you're on, whether you're going up or down and how far along you are. You can share this info in chats using location aware tags — #here becomes KT-22 when you're on the Squaw Valley chairlift, for example — and you can view the locations of others in your group. SkiLynx for California resorts — Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Northstar California, Heavenly, Bear Valley and more — was released in iTunes earlier this month for $2.99. There are plans to expand to other resorts during the season.
While the app itself is free to download and use, what really sets Trace Snow (formerly known as Alpine Replay) apart from other ski tracking apps is the new wearable the company has integrated into its product. The hockey puck shaped GPS device, which attaches to a ski or snowboard, will run you $199 but offers some hard-to-match perks: location data that puts iPhone tracking data to shame, auto-editing of your best GoPro footage and the ability to measure airtime, height and jump distance. Relying only on iPhone GPS, Trace Snow can match the performance of other similar apps, but with its own GPS device, it essentially offers skiers and riders their own personal episode of Sports Science. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play.
It's no secret how great OpenSnow's forecasts are for powder hounds, but the app (and push notifications) makes it even more convenient to stay on top of where the best conditions are going to be. The app has forecasts, reports and access to mountain cams. See which resort has the most powder and compare your favorites all from your phone. Of course, if you opt for the OpenSnow paid membership, you'll also have access to even more features, like custom alerts and longer-range forecasts. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play.
Vail Resorts' app has a lot of handy features for use at their ski areas, such as stats tracking, race leaderboards, challenges, pins earned for challenges and viewing and sharing photos. New this season, EpicMix will show you crowdsourced wait times for lift lines. The feature will debut at Vail Resorts' Colorado ski areas, including 55 core lifts and gondolas, after being tested at Perisher Resort during the Australia resort's past season. There are also plans to extend the feature to non-lift lines. Hopefully, you'll never have to wait for a PBR at the bar again. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play.
Avanet is a new app that seeks to create a community to crowdsource potentially life-saving information on snow conditions. From Avatech, which also makes professional avalanche tools, the app offers users first-hand knowledge from other skiers and riders to inform better route planning and decisions. Not only can you create better routes, Avanet is designed to estimate metrics such as time and allow routes to be shared among companions. The app also offers comparisons between actual performance and the route estimates. Geo-tagged data from other users can help you draw no-go zones on terrain maps in the app, which also offers warnings about possible red flags in real time. The app is available in iTunes.
Liftopia is still the go-to name for lift ticket deals, with more than 200,000 tickets and passes available. You're probably going to book lodging from your phone, navigate to the mountain on your phone, and use all the apps listed above so why not buy lift tickets from on your phone, too. And if one of your buddies reveals he or she has just been talking a big game about their skills, there are also deals on lessons available through the app. The app is available in iTunes.
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