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An App For That 

Yes, your smartphone can help you up on the slopes

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The line “There’s an app for that” is branded into my brain whenever anyone suggests that they wish their phone could do this or that. Resorts all over the country with big marketing dollars are investing in apps specific to their resort. (My fave is Snowbird’s.)

Vail Resorts, which owns a handful of ski areas in the Tahoe area, as well as several in Colorado, has created a vertical tracking system, EpicMix, which logs your vertical location as you enter the lift scanning system, uploads it to Facebook and gives you different pins based on your total verts skied.

Cooperative marketing organizations, like Ski Utah or our own Ski the NW Rockies, are offering interactive tools, snow reports, powder alarms, hot deals and trip planning advice. (Keep an eye open for the launch of a Ski the NW Rockies app before the snow starts to fall; it’s going to combine local resort reports with a vertical tracking feature. Stay tuned to Snowlander for details.)

Here are some apps that are sure to enhance your day on the mountain.

HeyTell

While it may not seem that this would be a ski-specific app, it was one of the most utilized apps on my phone last season. It works the same as a walky talky and can be best described as a voice text message. It’s the easiest and most efficient way to communicate with friends who are on the mountain — somewhere.

PeaksAR

Ever wonder what the name of that mountain in the distance is? With the app PeaksAR, you can find out. Point your phone in the direction of the peak, and it will give you the name and elevation of the peak (and surrounding ones, too).

Ski Report

This is a fun app that lets you customize the first tab with all of your favorite ski resorts, called My Areas. Snow reports are updated daily and include total accumulation. The next tab, Powder, the one I enjoy looking at most, reports the largest snowfall totals from around North America. Last season it was fun to see a ski resort in Missouri top the list. The final tab, Nearby, utilizes the GPS function on your phone and reports conditions located closest to your current location.

Facebook

The social networking tool that is taking over the world one mobile user at a time, Facebook is dominating the app scene with their mobile uploading tools, check-in feature and status updates. What better way to make your friends jealous than to upload a picture from first chair of the untracked lines waiting underneath the lift for you? And don’t forget to follow us all season long at Facebook/SnowlanderNW.

Vertical Tracker

Most vertical trackers cost money and are pretty sporadic because of the need to link to GPS. The battery-draining can outweigh the benefits of utilizing the tool. I use RunKeeper to track my running and mountain biking. There is an option for downhill and cross-country ski tracking. The biggest obstacle is going to be keeping the GPS on track for accurate data.

Pandora

Last season, while standing at the top of an untracked run, Nicki Minaj’s song, “Moment for Life,” came streaming across my Pandora station. The perfect combination of song and ski run made it the most memorable descent of the season.

Snowing Live Wall Paper

For anyone who loves snow, this live wallpaper will definitely drain your battery but it’s still pretty cool to watch it snow all day on your phone.

Welcome to Snowlander

Every year at this time, it’s a guessing game as to when we might start skiing. We’re always hopeful of a Thanksgiving opening, but we know that many years December is the first month for sliding on snow.

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Going into a season guessing keeps me on pins and needles. Every little shift in the weather has me thinking the big storm is rolling in. And last season was one of wonder. Early season, I was wondering if the snow was going to keep falling in such epic proportions. In January I was wondering if it was ever going to stop raining. In May, I was wondering if the snow would ever let up. Overall, a great year.

Now ski season is a reachable grasp away. Ski movie premieres are in full swing, garages are being cleaned out as old gear is dropped off at local swaps. Life is consumed with finding the perfect jacket, dreaming about buying new ski goggles (even though I already have way too many) and scraping off the old wax and getting the tuning bench all set up.

Here at The Inlander, we’ve been busy plotting a new chapter in the local ski scene — Snowlander, your resource for skiing and riding all over the Northwest. In addition to the monthly printed insert in The Inlander, starting with the one you are reading right now, we’ll be keeping you posted on all developments in the local scene every week online.

So check out our new web page, Snowlander.com, for an interactive resort map, stories, blog posts and enter-to-win contests. We’ll also be actively updating our page at Facebook.com/SnowlanderNW. That’s where you can post comments, read the latest news items and check out user snapshots and videos. Check ’em both out now and you can enter to win either a brand-new Rossignol snowboard or a pair of Rossignol skis.

Keep looking for snow, and hopefully by this time next month I’ll be writing this between powder turns!

Jen Forsyth Snowlander Editor [email protected]

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