New York Times: Nine Ski Apps to Make the Most of the Mountain
12/26/2012 by Nicole Perlroth
Headed to the mountains for the holidays? Here are nine ski-friendly apps that will help you make the most of your trip.
1. Liftopia (Free, iOS)
Liftopia helps you ski cheaply. The app offers discounts of up to 80 percent off ski lift tickets and rentals at more than 150 ski resorts from Squaw Valley, Calif., to Park City, Utah, and at resorts as far away as South America, Alaska and the Alps.
2. Waze (Free, iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry)
Waze helps get you to the mountain stress-free. This crowdsourced mapping app alerts users to traffic and accidents in real time. Once your ski buddies download the app, they can alert you to traffic jams, skid-offs, black ice, accidents and traffic jams. The app then gives the best driving directions based on that data. The more people use the app, the more precise the directions become. Waze got a big boost after Apple replaced Google with its own criticized map feature, then apologized and named Waze as a plausible alternative. Waze downloads jumped to 100,000 from 70,000 that day.
3. EpicMix (Free, iOS and Android)
Vail Resorts - which now owns the Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts in Colorado, and Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar in California - has done an impressive job of modernizing the mountain. Vail's EpicMix app integrates with the radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology in its lift tickets. Every time you hop on a lift and scan your pass, the app charts how many trails and vertical feet you've covered. Users win "pins" if they cover enough distance or ski enough resorts. They get an "Over the Moon" pin if they ski more than 350,000 vertical feet, for instance, or a "Connoisseur" pin if they ride more than 75 lifts. They can compete with other users and share stats on Facebook and Twitter. Vail recently added an EpicMix Racing app that lets users track their times and race other users down the mountain.
4. Ski and Snow Report (Free, iOS and Android)
Besides Vail, other ski resorts - like Squaw Valley in California and Telluride in Colorado - offer apps that give skiers and snowboarders a comprehensive peek at trail maps and snow and road conditions. Ski and Snow Report does the same for over 2,000 ski resorts around the world. You can customize the app to send you alerts if three or more inches fall at your favorite mountains. It integrates with Facebook and Twitter if you want to recruit ski buddies or just rub your freshies in their faces.
5. Find My Friends (Free, iOS and Android)
Finally, an app that tells you exactly where your buddies are on the mountain. Once you and your friends successfully download the app and agree to share your location, Apple's Find My Friends app tells you precisely which chairlift your friends are on, or where they're hunkering down over some hot toddies.
6. Ski Tracks (99 cents, iOS and Android)
This app not only tracks your distance, but also your speed, altitude and slope angle, as well as the runs and vertical feet you've covered. But the best part is that it doesn't require a cellphone signal to work, which is ideal on the mountain, where reception is often spotty. Users can share their tracks - and any photos they took along the way - on Facebook or Google Earth.
7. Realski (Free, iOS)
This neat augmented reality app pulls in data from your phone's camera, compass and GPS. All you have to do is aim your phone like a camera and the names of chairlifts, restaurants, lodges and restrooms pop up in the view. It will even show you how difficult - on a scale of green, blue or black - a ski run is. The app works at over 100 ski resorts in North America from Alpine Meadows to Telluride to Whistler. As a bonus, Realski lets you geotag where you parked your car so you don't have to haul your skis and poles in circles around the parking lot at the end of a long day.
8. Pano ($1.99, iOS; $3.06, Android)
Cellphone cameras never quite do the mountain justice. Pano, a photo app, lets you aim your camera and move it along the view you want to capture, then merges the images together into surprisingly stunning panoramic shots.
9. SnoWhere ($9.99, iOS)
Back country enthusiasts would do well to augment their avalanche beacon with the SnoWhere app, which converts a phone's GPS into a beacon. SnoWhere can help other users find you in the event you are lost, injured or - worst case situation - taken out by an avalanc