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The five best android and apple skiing apps

It is quite scary to think how quickly technology is changing the way we live. Most of us now have a mobile device that allows us to download apps from either Apple or Android, take photographs using a built in camera, lock onto global positioning satellites, and generally access information from the internet; something that would have made even our recent ancestors think we were witches. When it comes to skiing, taking a smartphone, or 'gadget' as my wife likes to call them, along for the ride doesn't just give you the ability to call for help if you turn your ankle, or arrange a night out when the sun stops play. There are a huge number of apps, many of them free, which allow you to get the most out of your time in resort. Useful for tourists, but especially so for those of you working a winter season, the following reviews cover a few of our favourites that we think would compliment your coming 2012/13 season.

Ski Tracks (Apple)

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What is it - this app records where you have been during the day so that you can look back at various details such as time, velocity and elevation.
Who is it for - it would appeal to anyone when it comes to that question we all wonder from time to time, "how fast did I go?" - not that we'd encourage you to use this app to try to break speed records! But as someone who uses a GPS app for running, I can tell you that the average person gives the kind of smile that betrays the fact they are thinking, why bother. If you are interested in statistics and analytics then this is a great app. It uses the in-built GPS chip in your phone to constantly (when the app is running) record your movements, speed, time, and altitude. You can choose to start and stop if so it is great for recording split times, and it will also log the position you take photographs too. Our favourite bit is the ski vertical stat which lets you know how many feet you have descended - which quickly becomes a bit of a competition! A word of caution though, GPS apps eat your battery quite quickly, though the life claims on this app are quite reasonable - fourteen hours for the new 4s iphone. In reality we managed closer to ten, though we did have other processes running. A nice feature of Ski Tracks is the way it cuts out if the battery life is getting too low. This means your phone won't die completely on the slopes, which is a well thought out feature.
Where can I get it - itunes app store

Ski and Snow Report (Android)

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What is it - this one tells you all about snow conditions, weather reports, and webcams.
Who is it for - everyone. Gone are the days when you stuck your head out of the window to see whether there had been fresh snow. The best bit about this app is how it crowd sources information about snow conditions. Combined with live webcam images, more than two thousands resorts are covered, which makes it easy to plan your day's skiing. Not sure how accurate the weather forecasts are, but when are they ever! We found this app invaluable at the planning stage, with all of us checking it before we'd even left England.
Where can I get it - google play

RealSki (Apple)

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What is it - Essentially it is a set of ski maps, but it is a lot more than that too thanks to it's live view.
Who is it for - everyone who wants to know where they are and how to get to somewhere else. This app uses the mysterious sounding, augmented reality. What it basically means is when you point your camera at a chair lift or mountain, pasted over the live image, the app will label what you are looking at, a bit like the heads up display they use in fighter aircraft. Examples of good places to use it would be if you know the name of the chair lift you are looking for, or if you don't want to find yourself hurtling down a black run by mistake. Examples of bad places to use it would be if you are carrying speed half way down the piste, looking for somewhere to stop and eat. In practice we didn't really find much need for it, but that didn't stop us having lots of fun with its impressive features. It is another one that uses your phone's GPS, but it isn't really trying to be an analytics app. Leave your resort maps at home (It is currently a free download, but still, check an up to date list of resorts, as it doesn't cover everywhere.), and use this app if you get really lost, though be aware that using the camera for a live view for extended periods will make short work of your battery life!
Where can I get it - itunes app store

Ski School (Apple)

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What is it - This app is designed to teach you good ski techniques through video lessons and through live analysis of yourself in action.
Who is it for - If you want to be a better skier, this app will help you improve. First thing to stress is a cheap mobile app is not going to come close to the improvements you will make through actual ski lessons from another human being, but nevertheless, there is some value to be had from this one. There is a lite version, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The workshops talk you through basic and more advanced techniques, and we found them appropriate and accurate (they are written by a qualified ski instructor). The analysis side of the app sounds great, but we found it quite difficult to get a good video of ourselves trying to emulate the instructor's turns. Even so, the split screen did allow us to easily see the difference between someone who knows how to ski, and someone who pretends that they do.
Where can I get it - itunes app store

Ski Jumper (Apple, Andriod)

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What is it - A game.
Who is it for - For anyone who wants to chill out and waste some time after a tiring day on the snow. The actual game play could be better, but we are including it for the amazing graphics, and partly because we aren't brave enough to actually try a ski jump. It is a game you can lose yourself in a for an hour or so and does get addictive the more you play it. For free it is definitely worth a download.
Where can I get it - itunes app store or google play

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