Sep 14, 2012

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Mobile apps to help you get the most out of your ski holiday

Your mobile phone is your new ski buddy! Modern technology makes it so much easier for us to record our skiing achievements, plan which routes are best to take, choose resorts to stay in -they generally help make our ski holidays as amazing as possible.  And with roaming charges having been reduced, you can make the most of mobile apps on your holiday without worrying about facing a huge phone bill when you get back home.  Find out which mobile apps you should be using for your next ski holiday…

Recording those amazing runs

If you’re planning on fitting a lot of skiing into your holiday, you’ll need a handy way to remember it all – and if you hit a record speed on a Black Run you don’t want people to accuse you of making it up.  There are a lot of GPS-based tracking apps around that not only show you exactly how fast and how high you have travelled, but help you to share your achievements with your friends.

One of the most popular is the Ski Tracks – GPS Tracker (there is even a free “lite” version to try out before buying). This app couldn’t be easier to use and it has millions of users who rate it very highly.  Just set the app going when you head off for your day on the slopes and it will record all your activities; your maximum speed, distance skied, altitudes and more. It will track your route, overlaid onto a map and you can also use it to upload and share pictures.  Quite simply, it’s essential if you’re a committed skier!

Maps and Routes

As you get more experienced, you’ll find yourself heading out to snowy pastures new and now that is made so much easier for you with the detailed maps and ski routes you can consult on your phone.

A very well-rated one is the prosaically-named SkiMaps – yes, what it says what it does on the tin.  Covering most of the major ski resorts of Europe and North America, it features very detailed ski trails (which are downloadable and therefore accessible even when you can’t get a network connection) as well as a useful “send to a friend” option that you can use to meet up with friends on the slopes.  With different visualisations it makes it super-easy to keep track of where you are and where you want to head off to.  Excellent for planning ahead.

Snow reports

There’s nothing more important than the weather on a skiing holiday and, although you can’t actually change the weather, you can at least use forecasts to help you choose the right slopes for the current conditions.  If you’re staying in the Alps, you’re likely to be within driving distance from a range of varied slopes, giving you a lot of choice. This is why the popular Ski and Snow Report app stands out – it has the option to track the weather reports for up to 12 resorts at the same time.

The app sends you notifications on major condition changes, such as new snow falls, as well as updating you on which trails are still open, the weather conditions over the last 72 hours and the vital five-day forecasts.

Snow report apps are good to have to hand all year round, but they are especially useful if you’re skiing at the start or end of the season, when conditions are more variable.

The famous ski clothing and equipment company, North Face, also have a very comprehensive app that includes resort information, maps and image galleries along with weather reports.  It’s a big help in planning where to stay, as well as keeping on top of the latest updates from the resorts while you’re away.  And if you’re a social networker (who isn’t these days?) you will appreciate the app’s integration with Facebook and Twittter.

ski view

Training

Even if you consider yourself to be something of an expert skier, there will be some room for improvement.  Going to a ski instructor in the resort is the obvious way to fix your speed, posture and jump skills, but you can also take lessons on your phone. Fill in the gaps between lessons, or have a refresher before you fly to the mountains, by downloading Ski School to your mobile.  There are three different levels (Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced) providing video tutorials and workshops so that you can brush up on your techniques.  With some devices you can even record your own videos and get analysis in reply from the expert instructor!

Silly stuff

Did you know that the Tirol has its own local dialect?  Well, you can impress the locals by using it if you download the Tirolean for Beginners app, which is a light-hearted way of learning some fun phrases.  So, if you want to know what “a longa Hatscha” means, this is the app for you.  No, I have no idea…

Although there are always lots of English speakers to be found in the European resorts, it’s nice to respond to people in their mother tongues, or even just make yourself a bit safer by learning “watch out!” in other languages! Google Translate is free and fun, especially since they added the voice feature that reads out the translated text so you can hear the correct pronunciation.

Games

Whether you’re relaxing your aching limbs after a long day on the slopes, or kept away from the action by bad weather or an injury, ski themed games are a great way to pass the time.

Race along epic slalom routes in Ski Champion, one of the best ski racing games around.  It’s praised by fans for its intuitive gameplay and vivid visualisations.  Even though it was designed as a Christmas game, the Amazing Skiing Bird game is fun all year round – play a penguin on skis, sure to entertain kids (of all ages).

Jenny Simpson loves to write about mobile tech. If your phone is on a slippery slope why not sell it to Envirofone and spend the cash on a holiday?

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