16 of the Best Apps For Your Snow Season
Turn your phone into a mountain companion with our guide!
The phone can become a handy holiday companion with the rights apps. In fact they become especially useful on a ski or snowboard trip. To point you in the right direction here are some of the best mountain apps, as chosen (and tested!) by the MPORA team. We've split them into 5 categories to make it even easier for you:
- Routes and piste maps.
- Weather reports, conditions and avalanche warning apps.
- Tricks and camera apps.
It's worth remembering that many of these apps rely on GPS and mobile data signals to work fully. The only drawbacks to this is that GPS can drain your battery at breakneck speed so be sure to have your phone all juiced up before hitting the slopes. The second drawback are those dreaded roaming charges - so check the charges and where possible play it safe and use the WiFi back at the lodge!
[part title="Routes and Piste Map Apps"]
Ski TrailMaps (Android only)
What this app lacks in features it makes up for in comprehensiveness. The app contains piste maps from resorts around the globe, from the mega-resorts of Three Valleys and Whistler to smaller areas in Argentina and Macedonia. You name it, they have it.
Maps need to be downloaded before you use them for the first time, so make sure you do this before hitting the slopes. The maps are the basic piste maps which limits their use when you're out and about, but it's useful for planning your route without having to unfurl the giant paper versions available around the resort. The pro-version has more features such as allowing you to check out webcams of the resort and weather reports.
Ski TrailMaps is free but can be upgraded to Ski TrailMaps Pro for £2.99
Download from Google Play.
Ski Maps (iPhone only)
This app doesn't include quite as many obscure areas as Ski Trails but the areas it covers are done so in far more detail.. It can use your GPS to place you precisely on the map - especially useful if you're moving between piste and off-piste.
It isn't free but combines precision with most of the major ski areas in the Alps and the USA - if you want to see the conditions before you venture out you can even check the webcams stationed on individual runs.
SkiMaps costs $2.99 or £1.80.
Download from iTunes.
[part title="Weather Conditions and Avalanche Warning Apps"]
Mammut Safety (iPhone only)
This app is a must for those of you heading off the beaten track. Mammut provides up to date avalanche warnings for your area as well as allowing you to calculate the risk for your current location by entering certain information about your sitation.
In the event that things do go wrong it also allows you send an SOS text message with your co-ordinates to the emergency services so that they can track you down and dig you out. At present it's only available for the iPhone so if you're on Android make sure you at least have our next app...
Mammut Safety is free.
Download from iTunes.
Avalanche Forecasts (Android & iPhone)
This app gives you real time avalanche predictions for your area. It allows you to check out the danger up to two days in advance. The information is general in location so we wouldn't encourage you to rely on this app alone, but it is useful in providing on the go information in the palm of your hand.
Avalanche Forecasts is free.
AllSnow (Android & iPhone)
AllSnow is a comprehensive ski forecast app that provides snowfall data for over 2,000 ski areas around the world - it even covers artificial slopes. You can favourite resorts and areas and the app provides in depth information including weather forecasts, directions to get there, a route map and a link to lift pass discounts when possible.
There's a rudimentary run tracker that keeps your basic stats and stores them in your personal profile. You can also set it to alert you when there’s a particularly heavy dump of powder nearby.
AllSnow is free.
Ski Report (Android & iPhone)
Ski Run is another weather and snow conditions provider. It can locate snowfall near your present location as well as from resorts around the world. Users can also submit their own first hand reports which go into greater detail and also the how many lifts and runs are open at that moment.
Ski Report is free.
Rossignol Ski Run (Android & iPhone)
This app from Rossignol allows you to track your days skiing on the mountain and then compare your efforts to your friend's on Facebook. It also compiles the stats from the day including top speed, average speed and distance and includes them in a global leaderboard of other users. The GPS tracking seems a little sketchy however, in the time I’ve been sat at my desk in central London I have apparently descended 13m.
Rossignol Ski Pursuit is free.
Alpine Replay (Android & iPhone)
Alpine Replay is the most detailed app out there for tracking your skiing and snowboarding exertions. It also allows you to measure your owns stats against other people at your resort or even from around the world.
One of the coolest features is the ability to take short 15 second clips (a la Instagram), AR will then overlay extra information about the clip - such as the subject’s speed - you can then share them with the world. You have to take the film of another AR user which does limit its use, but it’s a fun addition.
Alpine Replay is free.
Epic Mix (Android & iPhone)
If you’re heading to the USA then the epicMIX app will come in handy. It covers 10 resorts and ties to your lift pass to provide in depth information on your days activities as well as location specific achievements such as the Dolly Parton award (get on a lift at 9 and then one again at 5 - what a way to make a living). It combines this with a clean interface to make a really strong app - if only it was available in more places.
Epic Mix is free but requires your lift pass details.
[part title="Tricks and Camera apps"]
Snow/Ski Dice (Android & iPhone)
For the freeskiers and park shredders amongst you Snow Dice provides a fun way of mixing up your runs by randomly generating tricks for you to try. It caters to a variety of ability levels, allowing you to control the range of tricks it offers - if you only want to try 1080s then you can.
The app comes in separate versions for skiers and snowboarders. The latter includes extra features including being able to play S.H.R.E.D with friends and instructions on how to nail each trick. Hopefully these extras will arrive on the ski app soon.
Snow and Ski Dice costs $1.99 or £1.25 - a free version is available.
Trick Bag (Android & iPhone)
In a similar way to the Snow Dice app, Trick Bag aims to satisfy the needs of snowboarders who like to spend their time in the park or in the pipe. It's considerably more in-depth and feature heavy though - it keeps track of your progress as you master new tricks and allows you to create wishlists of tricks you've yet to master.
The list on offer is pretty comprehensive and you can watch videos of the tricks to give you an idea of what to be aiming for. There’s even a quiz to test your knowledge. However, the menus can be pretty slow to respond so be patient.
Trick Bag costs $1.99 or £1.49 - a free version is available.
ActionShot (iPhone only)
This app allows you to recreate all the fancy action sequence shots you see on the covers of glossy magazines yourself. ActionShot takes a short clip of the action and then quickly turns it into a cool looking picture by using selected frames. You can choose just how many pictures make up the sequence and then share them with the world.
ActionShot is free.
Download from iTunes.
Tripster (Android & iPhone)
Ski resorts aren't the cheapest place in the world which is where Tripster comes in. It provides all the latest deals and offers for restaurants, bars, equipment ships and anything else you may need in your resort. At present it only covers areas in the Alps but they're planning on expanding soon. Tripster is great for finding places you may not have known about. It also has a map function, however this will not guarantee to get you back to your room after one too many discounted Jägerbombs.
Tripster is free.
Liftopia (iPhone only)
Liftopia does the same job as Tripster but it covers US resorts as well. The interface is clean and upon signing up you will get a coupon with a barcode which will then become your key to lots of smashing discounts. The app will also provide details about the weather and other tit-bits about the resort.
Liftopia is free.
Download from iTunes.
Find My Friends
An app that was originally designed for worrying parents is actually a pretty handy thing to have on the mountain. You need to make sure you and your friends or family have this app installed and you'll be able to keep track of one another. This is especially good if you have a large group of people with a range of ability levels - now you can split up and find one another without frantic phonecalls. It operates with a normal map rather than a piste map which can make it more challenging to use on the slopes than in the resort so keep that in mind.
Apple supplies a similar app for iOS with the same name.
Find My Friends is free.
Tripadvisor (Android & iPhone)
Chances are that you may have this app on your phone already. Eating in the mountains can be a bit of a gamble but with this app you can see top rated places to eat, reviews, locations and even book a table in advance if a place takes your fancy.
Tripadvisor is free.