Have the mountain at your fingertips
November 30, 2010
Ski equipment has been evolving since the sport was invented over 5,000 years ago, but the newest innovations to enhance the experience are not something you wear; they are smart phone applications providing key information to know when, where and how to enjoy a day of skiing or snowboarding.
PowderNation, based in Santa Monica, California, creates apps (short for application) about ski towns. It made one for Park City, and Julien Bassan with the company said an update should be ready soon.
"(Apps) give you a close connection with your mountain. You carry it in your pocket and you can be at work or at a bar with friends and check the conditions to make plans for a weekend getaway," he said. "The mountain is at your fingertips."
Most of the dozens of apps available for iPhones through the iTunes Store provide valuable information mostly about the snow.
Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah the marketing organization charged with promoting Utah’s ski resorts, said he is proud that his office’s Ski Utah Snow Reports app was one of the first targeting skiers.
A third version will be ready in a couple of weeks, he said.
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It is free to download, but also contains some of the features found on $1 to $3 apps like a calendar for tracking ski days, trail maps, snow conditions and weather reports, he said.
It lacks a lot of the "whiz-bang gadgets," of other apps, but people don’t usually use those anyway, he said. What makes it valuable is how specific the information is; it only presents data for local resorts.
"The goal is to give the best information on snow for Utah," he said.
The weather information comes from OnTheSnow.com the same agency that supplies the data for many of the apps that come at a price.
Rafferty said he checks his every day.
"It’s the first thing I do every morning before my feet even hit the floor," he said. "It gets right to the meat of the matter which is how much snow fell overnight."
The new version still has a few bugs to be worked out and then must be approved by Apple. Download the old version now, Ski Utah Snow Report, and the update will arrive when it’s ready, he said.
Besides his own office’s app, Rafferty said he also enjoys those created by local businesses and agencies. Snowbird Resort has its own app, and according to Canyons vice president of marketing Todd Burnette, they will soon as well.
Park City Mountain Resort’s Meisha Lawson said that instead of building an app for certain smart phone operating systems, the resort is working on building its mobile site, m.pcmr.com, that users can access on the go.
"We are looking to roll out phase 1 of the mobile site evolution in the next few weeks, with mobile Personal Mountain Tour," she said.
Rafferty also uses the Utah Avalanche Center app, found at http://utahavalanchecenter.org, that provides up-to-date information about avalanche risks. It is sponsored by Canyon Sports.
"Utah’s backcountry snow conditions can change rapidly so stay informed," urges the product description on iTunes.
One local company with its own app is Skullcandy. To sell headphones, the company supports the lifestyles of its target market. The app features useful information for snowboarders, surfers and skateboarders.
The free download gives snow conditions for over 2,000 resorts, a five-day forecast, snow depth, a GPS tracker, pictures and videos.
PowderNation’s Park City Powder Guide is $0.99. next month the company will have guides for over 25 ski communities to help people plan their trips.
At least four dozen more apps are available for skiers and snowboarders through iTunes half are free. They provide news updates, weather and resort information, instruction, entertainment and more.
A sampling of apps at the iTunes Store:
Ski 3D by Jeremy Brasch free
Snowboarding HD by Jirbo, Inc. free
Ski & Snow Report by SkiReport.com : free
Ski or Die by Yomen, Inc. : $0.99
Ski Sport Pro by Dot8 Studio : $1.99
SnoShred by Blue Energy Labs : $1.99
Snowboard with Sal Masekela by Spinfast Pty Ltd. : $1.99
Ski Jump by Renderpaz : $2.99
The Ski Channel: Touch Ski 3D by Naquatic : $4.99
Ski Fly by Code 4 Development : $2.99
Skier by Chin Chan : $0.99
SkiFree by Indelible Productions : $0.99
Ski Fitness Workouts Exercises for Skiing by Olson Applications Limited : $1.99
Ski Tips 1 & 2 by Red Team Productions : $3.99 each
SnowboardTricksShaker by Nicolas Sohier : $0.99 Allows you to film and label tricks done by your friends.
Snowtrix by ISAI Technologies Ltd. :$0.99 Instructions for performing eight snowboarding tricks explained with graphics in a step-by-step guide.
Ski School Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced by ElateMedia.com : $6.99
Snowboard Guide by XCEL Web Design & Marketing Services : $0.99
All the information you need for buying and maintaining a snowboard.
Ski Grub by Grub, LLC free
Ski Racing by Ski Racing free
Skiing News by Liam Campbell free
Snowboarding News by Liam Campbell free
Skiing News Pro by FQ Publishing :
Ski Hotel Guide by InTheSnow.com free
SkiCntDown by Izaxon free
Displays the number of days left until your ski vacation.
Ski Vacation Deals by SnowPak free
Ski Plan by Long Haul Software : $3.99
Allows backcountry and cross country you to log your trips so friends/families know where you were going and that you’ve returned safely.
Snow conditions/resort profiles
Ski Challenge PROVE IT by Nissan Europe free
Snocell Ski/Snowboard Guide by Snocell LLC free
Snoveo by Snoveo free
Snow and Ski Report by REI by The Zumobi Network free
SnowBomb Ski & Snow Conditions Reporter by Tim Martin free
Ski and Snowboard Trailmaps by Fresh Solutions : $0.99
Ski Reports by John Rouda : $0.99
Snow Zone United States by Juan Garcia : $1.99
SnowDrifter by Digital Figment : $0.99
The Ski Computer by GlobalMotion Media, Inc. free
SnowEdge by Sergey Petrov free
SkiersApp by Izaxon free
Ski Tracks GPS Track Recorder by Core Coders Ltd. : $0.99
Ski Vertical by Fellsware : $0.99
Ski-o-meter by Alexander Gross : $1.99
SnowDays by Kenneth Cameron : $0.99
Snownometer by Dmitry Suvorov : $0.99
SnowTrails by EuroSmartz Ltd : $2.99
SkiFriends by iFindFriends free
Ultimate social networking app for skiers. Find out about other skiers experiences in chat rooms.
Snowboarding Paradise by AppCore free
Snowboarding photographs for wallpaper.
Skiing Dictionary by Deep Powder Software : $0.99
Snowboarding Tricks by Deep Powder Software : $0.99 Glossary of snowboarding tricks.
Ski Slide Puzzle by Brighthouse Labs : $0.99