Navigating your way around any ski area can be tricky – remember unfolding a soggy piste map with freezing mittened fingers, trying to work out where you are in a whiteout? – and arranging mountain meet-ups with mates even more so. Which is where the new generation of ski apps come in. Using powerful new technology like realistic 3D mobile mapping, GPS and personalised data they can pinpoint where you and your friends are, suggest routes and places to go nearby and make it much easier to plan and review your ski day. Most stop just short of buying you a vin chaud and helping get your boots off – but give them time.
Doesn’t using mobile phone data abroad cost a fortune, though? Actually, that’s no longer a worry because most apps are downloaded to your phone and used offline, with your GPS tracker telling it exactly where you are.
Ski resorts have been late adopters of app technology but now you’ve got a choice of ski app – some paid for, some free. Here are a few options:
FATMAP uses a combination of 3D, mobile technology and a community of local experts to change the way we go skiing and enable anyone to ski like a local right from Day One. The app calculates terrain information instantly and provides fresh and up-to-date ‘guidebook’ style information about what’s around you.
The maps show skiers a model of the real-world, making it much easier to choose and visualise a route. It allows for a complete view over the entire landscape of a resort both from a distance and in “skier view” where you can explore the resort in virtual reality. Here’s Tignes – Val d’Isere…
“Our 3D piste and freeride maps offer line by line descriptions and 3D visualisations of every run so you can pick the line that’s right for you.”
A Paradiski version is available too.
FATMAP links its maps with descriptions from local experts to give each person the information needed to allow them to make informed decisions about where to ski. Browse through hundreds of lines, restaurants, viewpoints. Upgrading to the Freeride version allows you to toggle through overlays for accurate terrain information such as gradient, aspect and avalanche zones.
You can use the app offline and optimised battery life means it can help you explore the mountains all day. Record, store and share every line and check your performance instantly with FATMAP Stats. Then you can playback and share your run in 3D. FATMAP encourages users to get involved and contribute your knowledge to the map by reviewing lines you’ve skied and sharing your favourite spots.
FATMAP is available for 27 areas across Europe and North America as a free version or a pro paid version (available as a two-week or one-year subscription)
- Two-week = £9.99
- One-year = £25.99
Here are a couple of customer reviews from the Apple store:
The future of ski maps by Mike4653
I’ve been blown away by the level of detail and amount of information available on those maps–having a 3D view of your favorite mountain is really some next level stuff.
Best ski maps! by JM2ski
This apps lets you find the lines you want super quick so you can ski exactly how you want and not waste your ski vacation staring at trail maps. The imagery is really high quality so you can really tell what’s going on with the terrain.
Just released on the apple store, Piste.io is a unique purpose-built terrain engine which uses real elevation data and augments it with computer-generated detail, reducing the amount of data that needs to be downloaded.. The result is a realistic map that you can navigate easily in 3D.
Users can explore over 500 resorts including Tignes, Val d’Isere and Paradiski, find your current location on the map, and change the map style to suit you best. You can set it to show the map in sun, fog, sunset, sunrise or nighttime – so you can easily find the shaded and sunny areas of mountain. This is all designed to work offline, so again no need to worry about getting on the internet in the mountains, or paying roaming charges!
The completely free app can be found downloaded for iPhone here, and there’s also a web version available at www.piste.io so you can check it out first before installing the app, and use that on some android phones. Plus they’ve started working on a version for iPads.
Here’s a customer review from the Apple store:
Works great! by svachmic
Nicely displays my position on the 3D map. Looking forward to new ski resorts! Glad to see improvements in the new version.
Paradiski has developed its very own ski app – Yuge – so it’s completely tailored to the resorts of Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peisey Vallandry and free to download! Using state-of-the-art technology it totally personalises your holiday, offering suggested itineraries that evolve with your changing experiences, locations and needs. It tracks you and your group and shows where everyone is on a piste map – it doesn’t offer the 3D mapping technology of the other apps but it still makes meet-ups much easier.
It’s got real-time lift queue monitors so it can tell you areas to avoid and give alternative routes. Look back over your route to see the distance and vertical descent covered and ask it to take you to the nearest shops or bars. Extra wifi points have been installed so you can use it all over the mountain without using up your data. The idea is that the app is your virtual skiing buddy – an expert on the ski area whose sole purpose in life is to help you make the most of your ski day. We reckon Yuge could give you a Huge helping hand on your holiday! Download the app from Apple or Google Play.
A customer reviews taken from the Apple store (translated from French):
Top class, a real revolution! by Giom51
For lovers of skiing! This app allows you to take full advantage of the ski domain (follow the tracks you made during the day with speed). It also allows to find friends on the slopes and gives you simple and fun challenges. It looks great and is easy to use, I highly recommend it!
- Track your location on a ski slope in the area on a 3D map using GPS
- Invite your friends to join your Riders team, share your location in real time and geo-locate them.
- Plan routes using a Google Maps-style directions button
And in the next few weeks they’ll be adding more features like these:
- Ski session log
- 3D rendering of trips
- Minimum statistics (average speed, max, differences in elevation)
- 3D route share
- Resort snowfall
- Open ski resorts
- Open slopes and ski lifts
- Estimated waiting times at chair-lifts
- Timing of your ski descents
Gotta love the 3D by Vampiriola
Great app! Very easy to use. Simple selection of track makes it so convenient. Finding your partners with ease was truly needed. As I said in the title – love the 3D maps. The panning around takes a little to get used to but once you get it being able to move or rotate the map with one finger proves very useful.
Have we missed any great apps, or have you used any of the apps above and would like to submit a review? Get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org