Is This App the Future of Off-Piste Skiing and Snowboarding?
With this handy tool you need never get lost again
A team of British software developers have just unveiled a brand new app that they reckon will revolutionise the way people ski and snowboard, especially off-piste.
Fatmap, which will released for iPhone and Android from December, gives the user ridiculously detailed 3D picture maps of the mountain, which the developers claim are "the most accurate ski maps ever made."
"They are the most accurate ski maps ever made."
You'll be able to see every contour of the mountain as a 3D model and look at the run you're on from any angle. And of course, like Google maps, Fatmap will also tell you exactly where you are and which way you're heading.
This has obvious advantages on piste. You can wave goodbye to soggy paper piste maps or wondering which run you're actually on. And if you've ever been frustrated by green "runs" that are actually uphill hikes, or blues that appear to link up to lifts but don't, you'll love this.
Misha Goupal, Fatmap's co-founder, said: "[It] shows the mountains as they are in the real world." He might have added: "Unlike the classic French piste map with its ludicrously optimistic black 'runs' and giant marmot pictures."
The app will apparently even stop you from losing your mates, with real-time location sharing meaning you can see where they are at any time too.
But where Fatmap really comes into its own is when you're venturing into the backcountry.
The more advanced "off-piste" version of the app (which will go on-sale at £9.99 instead of the ordinary £2.99) maps "classic and established" off-piste routes, meaning you need never get lost again.
Not only that, it also includes features like gradient heat mapping (so you can see when the steep, scary bits are coming up), crevasse zone mapping (so you can avoid falling into them) and avalanche hot spot mapping (to help you minimise the risk in spots where slides are common).
"How great would it be never to lose your mates in the trees again?"
Obviously the app won't help those who are pioneering new lines or heading miles off the beaten track. And although it's being tested with the help of the British Mountain Guides association, it's obviously no substitute for a qualified guide.
But for the casual skier who wants to try a popular and well-ridden off-piste line, it could be a massive help and a great safety aid. Plus, how great would it be not to lose your mates in the trees ever again?
Initially Fatmap will only cover a handful of the most popular resorts in France and Switzerland - Chamonix, Verbier, Zermatt, Val D’Isere & Tignes (Espace Killy) and Les Arcs & La Plagne (Paradiski) - but the makers are planning to add more maps and resorts soon.
Head to fatmap.com for more details.