ski-tracks-app

Slow down, there, partner!

The newly released Ski Nation mobile app gives tech-savvy skiers and snowboarders one more way to track their turns and access maps, trail reports and photos.

The new Ski Nation application officially launches on November 13, but the iPhone version has been available for several weeks now. The Android version will drop in a week or so. This app links skiers and snowboarders to a database of about 1,000 resorts in North America including cross country trails and even ski jump hills. You can track your days on snow, collect pins for all the resorts you visit, and check out maps and condition reports for your home mountain with just a few thumb taps. There is a commercial component to it as well, with offers from resorts, shops and gear companies, but all the Ski Nation literature insists that the privacy of users will be protected. You can get all the details at the Ski Nation website, and if you feel like trying it out, download it for free. As of this writing, it doesn't have any user ratings on the App Store.

Ski Nation is the latest gizmo to join popular mountain tools such as Ski Tracks and Trace mSnow. All three of these tools use GPS tracking technology to feed the curiosity of skiers and snowboarders.

Ski Tracks is the invention of Core Coders founder Steve Wilson, who started his career building software for flight simulators before launching an app development shop in 2008. Wilson's creation has an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 on the App store and is promoted as "the most downloaded and popular mobile ski and snowboard tracking application in the world."

Use it a few times and you’ll understand why Ski Tracks is so popular. It tracks your maximum speed, distance, vertical, and the slope angles of your steepest runs, then plots your session on snow in rich details with maps, photos, and even the songs you listened to. I highly recommend this app, with a "user-beware" note of caution about the maximum speed feature. It can be awfully tempting to go all out to beat your top speed for the day, and if you're the type of person who gets competitive about these things (not that I would know), you might want to consider a nice fat chill pill before ripping it down at 70 miles an hour and endangering yourself and others.

Ski Tracks is similar to a new system called Trace — with some important differences. Created by the inventors of the popular Alpine Replay action sports app (heavily used at Mt. Hood Meadows last winter), the Trace Ski and Snowboard Tracker doesn't just measure speed and vertical; it also records calories burned, jumps and airtime, including jump height and rotation. You can track all this stuff at any resort in the world.

The big difference with Trace is that it requires a small device that attaches to skis, snowboards, and surfboards and tracks movements in great detail. The data collected by the Trace device can be synched with your mobile phone using the Trace Snow app. The app allows you to share details from your shred adventures that you can compare with your mountain friends, or with fellow riders from all over the world.

What about you? What's your favorite mountain app?

Are you a quantified selfer?

Or do you prefer to leave the phone at home, sneak off into the woods, and enjoy the mountain in peace?