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Skiing this weekend? Don't forget your smartphone apps!

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Skiing this weekend? Don't forget your smartphone apps!
'Tis the season to head for the slopes, and, as if to prove that they are an indispensable part of our lives, smartphones have wiggled their way even into such a dynamic outdoorsy activity like skiing.

There are applications for powder snow conditions at your favorite resorts, choosing ski gear, GPS tracking of your daily activities while on the slopes, using your phone with gloves, and even for virtual ski lessons, you name it.

We've rounded up a few of them, so next time you are prepping the ski and snowboard gear to head for the mountains, don't forget to fire some apps, and boost the experience.

Weather

Skiing this weekend? Don't forget your smartphone apps!
Before you go there, you'd better check whether there is enough of the white stuff where you are heading, otherwise you'll have to entertain yourself with assorted liquids. Ok, we see how this can sound ambiguous.

Salomon Powfinder

Salomon Powfinder

Apps that show you what the weather is like at your favorite resorts are abundant and some are offered by popular outfitter brands. They go as far as providing you with powder snow locations, trail maps, user comments and even live webcams to check the resort conditions.

It really depends where you are going, though, and you'd better always get the localized versions. REI Snow Report (iOS, Android) and OnTheSnow (iOS, Android) might prove good when you are heading to a North American resort, but for Europe you'd better download Ski&Snow Report (iOS, Android), or one of the iSki (iOS, Android) country offerings, like iSki France, or iSki Austria. For Symbian phones, there's the exclusive Skiinfo app, and the North Face Snow Report, which is also on WP.

If you are a freerider, Salomon Powfinder (iOS, Android) helps you locate the nice stuff and links you with the wePowder community for hands-ons from the slopes.


Gear

REI's Gear app allows for in-app purchasing

REI's Gear app allows for in-app purchasing

Now that you've chosen an area with copious amount of the good snow for your ski or snowboarding weekend, it's time to check what equipment is in the shops for this year with software like OnTheSnow Gear Guide (iOS). REI has an excellent official app (iOS, Android) with the latest models, gear recommendations, and even in-app purchasing. Snowboard Gear Guide (Android) has the boarders covered with information for boots, helmets, stomp pads and so on.


Tracking progress

What's a day of skiing if you can't brag about it in the bar at the end of the day. Apps that use your phone's GPS to track your whereabouts, top speed, routes and mileage covered, have become best buddies for a ski weekend. Ski Tracks for iOS ($0.99), SkiersApp for Windows Phone, and SatSki for Android are decent affordable alternatives.



If you want good offline GPS tracking for your skiing adventures, though, you'd have to splurge extra for an app like the $39.99 Gps Ski Maps (iOS, Android), that has packed most major resorts with their trails, and you can buy packages by country, or for a whole continent, like Europe or North America. The app can show an animation of your daily activities on the piste too.


Random goodies


From general news from the world of skiing, to some apps that will surprise you with functionality - the general category is full of interesting apps. Ski Trip Planner (iOS, Android) allows you to create checklist with the items you should have packed when hitting the slopes. SkiPhone (Android) is a commendable effort to use your phone with gloves, which would be really helpful once the app is polished enough. You shake the phone in various ways to start voice commands, answer a call, or take a picture, instead of fumbling with the on-screen buttons while your joints get frozen.

Ski Vacation Deals (iOS) is exactly what is reads – the latest deals are added weekly, and you can share them with friends for some last minute decisions. RealSki (iOS) is an AR app for skiers and snowboarders, utilizing the phone's camera and sensors to overlay trails with useful information.



SkiTips (iOS, Android), Ski School for Symbian, and Ski School Lite for Windows Phone provide lessons in several stages – for beginners, more advanced skiers, etc., so they could be the cheapskate's version of hiring an instructor, or just serve you as a reminder when you are on your own down the slippery slope. Hey, they even have videos, so you can even hit replay if you don't get it from the first time!




If you are a seasoned pro with an extensive network of skiing buddies you probably won't be needing anything but your phone's GPS tracking app to record your daily progress for bragging rights. If you are a rookie, most of these apps above you'll find helpful for mastering the slopes, and you can even save on ski lessons. There is something for everyone, so don't skimp on checking the application store for your phone, if you plan on skiing or working the board this weekend, but do let us know which ones worked best for you where, so we can all learn something.
 

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