Mobile apps on the piste

02/13/2013 - Selina Sauerland

Nearly everybody has a smart phone today which can do quite a lot more than only take calls and send messages. These devises can be connected to the Internet and there is a huge multitude of applications which can be downloaded to (supposedly) make life easier.

Some apps however are actually quite helpful, especially if you are travelling somewhere new and need help with orientation, maps, info, etc. In Sölden (Austria), Saalbach (Austria) and Ischgl (Austria) for instance, this has been introduced just a year or two ago and can be downloaded from the respective system stores. All apps provide the necessary info you may need as a new winter sports visitor to these resorts. They also offer the standard resort information that is most frequently needed, e.g. piste maps, weather conditions, piste conditions, events in the resort, resort map and addresses for the most popular and necessary facilities, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, taxis, doctors, etc. Over and above that you can also get up-to-date webcam images, lift pass prices and info about Alpine road passes, and Saalbach for instance, additionally eve offers a personal tracker. Just switch on the GPS function in your mobile and you can track altitude, velocity and total distance during your day on the piste. Sölden, on the other hand, has started equipping the mountain huts with wifi networks which can be accessed for free and saves customers the expensive roaming costs during the well-earned breaks on the tops of the mountains. The Sölden mobile app displays the huts where wifi can be found. More and more resorts in the Alps and the US mountain ranges offer such multifunctional applications.

Besides the ski resorts, which rather lay more focus on the actual resort info, there is also a large number of apps which can do only one or just a few things of which the large resort apps offer, but often their quality is really good and it can be a lot of fun using the app. User friendliness and easy installing are the first two criteria which have to apply to a successful app. In the download areas for the major mobile systems (Apple’s App Store, Android’s Google Play and BlackBerry’s App World) you can mostly find info on how many people have downloaded the app and how well it works by user rating. Ideally the app should be free of charge, but quality may cost. A small fee may be levied to enhance programming and maintenance of these applications.  All apps mentioned here are free of charge in at least of the mobile system app stores.

Coming back to the specific apps for winter holidays, there is one which was launched by the ski equipment provider Rossignol (“SkiPursuit”) and which is merely a tracker app for checking velocity, ascent, descent and distance of your day on the piste. At the end it is displayed on a map of the ski area you are in any you can share the results with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. This app has no further fancy gimmicks however the functionality of what it is supposed to do, seems to be quite recommendable.

All in all it is up to the user to decide if a complete information app is more convenient than an app with a single function. As long as the app is free to download it is not a bad idea to try out a few different ones to compare.


  • Wednesday, 13. February 2013
  • author: Selina Sauerland
  • category: Equipment
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