Hand in hand with the rising popularity of smartphones over the last few years has come the age of the app. Apps do all kinds of things, from helping people with day to day tasks, to accessing content or playing games and now many developers are building specialist apps tailored to the needs of skiers. But what makes a great ski app?
One thing that apps are great at across the board is map facilities; maps are vitally important to all types of skier. Having an interactive GPS-enabled trail map on hand at all times can be both a novelty and potential lifesaver, and now lots of developers are offering map apps with additional information like how to find the nearest ski lift, what the snow and weather conditions are like on the mountain and where the nearest café can be found. Many of the free map apps offer more than enough information for most skiers but those wanting more detailed 3D maps can pay a small fee for this luxury.
From the very beginning, apps have been used to teach people anything from cookery to music and now there are several apps that mentor skiers on their technique. The level and depth of skill varies between the paid and free apps, but expect to find some expert instructors giving video demonstrations, guidance and handy tips on everything from equipment choice to skiing technique. Many of the paid apps also offer users the functionality to make notes, track progress and development, and share this information with others in their network.
Many of the most popular ski apps make use of social networking to enable their users to compare their stats with each other. Again, using GPS, these statistics apps log information like speed, distance, time to complete a particular run, vertical feet gained/lost and calories burnt, which can then be shared with others around the world. Even the free apps offer the ability to record this information and push it to Facebook, Twitter and other websites.
Like everyone else, the skiing community is always looking for the best deals around and developers have also addressed in some of the latest ski deal apps. These free apps can be used to get the best deals and discount vouchers on anything from equipment and lift passes to bargain ski holidays, with discounts sometimes in excess of 80% off RRP.
There are also plenty of gaming apps out there that allow smartphone users to hit the virtual slopes after a day of skiing themselves. Although the games are usually paid apps, prices are generally very reasonable and offer outstanding graphics, interfaces and interaction for mobile devices. Many of these gaming apps have a great selection of slopes, characters and levels and are upgradable via additional paid content. Again, the games are fully integrated with additional websites and accounts, so it’s easy to share and compare scores and progress with friends.