It used to be that ski gear was made of wood, metal and leather, and the ski information was basically that if it was winter, the lifts would be running. Today, the gear is made of plastic, fiberglass and Gore-Tex, and the ski info can come on your phone. With many of the resorts already starting to open around the U.S., those of us who are manning the editorial desks at WhereTraveler are wishing we were booting up, clipping it or ratcheting down, and hopping on the lifts. But instead of riding the groomers, we decided to put together a list of seven apps that skiers and snowboarders should have. On a side note, we should mention that a lot of the big ski resorts now have their own free apps, which are generally pretty good.
OnTheSnow Ski & Snow Report (from SkiReport.com)
Powered by Onthesnow.com, this app gives you snow conditions at resorts that you choose (they have more than 2,000 ski areas around the world for you to choose from). It also feeds reports from actual skiers and boarders, when available, and can even alert you when there's fresh powder (you pick the threshold for fresh snow before you get an alert).
MyRadar Weather Radar (from Aviation Data Systems Inc.)
Put the weather radar in your phone. Ostensibly designed for pilots, it's also good for those of us just wanting to hit some big air at the terrain park. You get animated weather radar for you current location, or drag over to see the weather on the mountain before you head there. This one is for the true weather junkie who wants to find out where to get the freshest powder.
Price: Free (or $2.99 if you want it without ads)
Accuweather (from Accuweather International, Inc.)
This app is all about weather info for your current location or for anywhere you'd rather be (we'd rather be in Park City). While MyRadar is all about the live radar, Accuweather is more data driven. Get the details on the weather forecast, but you also will access information on visibility, windspeeds and humidity and even learn when the sunrise and sunset are, so you can plan to maximize backcountry adventures. And, yes, there's radar information, too.
Liftopia Lift Tickets (from Liftopia)
This is a powerhouse skiing app. The main appeal is that it offers a bunch of discounted offers on lift tickets, lessons and rentals, and the ability to book from your phone. The sweet stash is that you get the info you need for the ski resorts—amenities, conditions, pictures and even driving directions. With this app, there's no excuse not to ride the white. It doesn't have every resort, but it does have plenty.
SkiMaps (from Plane Tree Software)
OK, the great thing about this app is simple: No cell service. Yep, when you take the lift up the mountain (or over the mountain), the five bars on your phone go down to zero, and then you're off the grid. With SkiMaps, download the maps you need before you go and you will still be able to use those maps when you're beyond cell range. It lists maps for resorts all over the world, so chances are that SkiMaps has you covered.
Ski Tracks (from Core Coders Ltd.)
This is the app for those of you who aren't comfortable with just bagging a few good runs, warming up with a mug of cocoa in the lodge, and then lazily getting back out for an afternoon session. No, this is the app for people who want to charge all day and track their day's skiing to maximize their own performance. It doesn't require a data or cellular connection to do its GPS tracking. It knows where you rode, what your speed was, what angle slope you dropped, and what the total vertical descent was. It's loaded with run-by-run analysis tools.
Price: $0.99, Lite version is free
First Aid: American Red Cross (from American Red Cross)
If you're out carving slopes and there is no ski patrol around, you need to know how to take care of injuries until help can arrive. This app, which has preloaded content in case you're outside of cellular reception, features simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through everyday first aid scenarios. Topics like severe weather and broken bones are part of the content, and there are even quizzes that allow you to test your skills.