27 January 2015

Five apps for hitting the slopes and playing in the snow

snow-apps-iosIn some parts of the country, the ski season is in full swing—and if you want to take advantage of all of this glorious powder, you’ll need more than just a basic weather forecast to get the most out of skiing, snowboarding, or just a fun-filled snow day. Grab these iOS apps to get all the details about your favorite ski resorts and snow conditions, and to connect with other winter sports pals. With these apps, you’ll never miss out on a fresh blanket of snow that’s about to hit a nearby slope—or show up to a resort when there isn’t enough snow to make it worth your while.

REI Snow Report

REI has a pretty loyal following among outdoor enthusiasts, so it’s not surprising that the company has a pretty good snow and skiing information app. REI Snow Report (free) is an excellent way to keep tabs on your favorite ski resorts or outdoor playgrounds. It can track your location to find nearby ski areas, or you can use the search feature to hunt down a snow spot anywhere in the country.

rei snow report
REI Snow Report gives you the weather and other details for your favorite ski resorts. 

Each resort listed has a lot of specifics that will interest you if you’re planning a trip or heading to the slopes that same day, such as the snow level, type of surface, wind, and weather forecast.

REI Snow Report has trail maps for most of its ski resorts. You’ll need to pinch and zoom much as you would on a PDF, so the size of your iPhone will determine how useful or frustrating this will be. Many slopes also provide live video feeds—which you can access within the app—so you can get an idea for yourself how the conditions look.


Liftopia (free) is a must-have for dedicated skiers, thanks to its vast information about specific ski runs and lift ticket offers. The app breaks down the type of ski runs available at a resort based on skill level, listing how many beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert tracks are to be found. There is also a complete list of amenities at ski resorts—like if there is a nearby golf course, hiking trail, or gondola rides—in case not everyone in your party is up for a day of skiing.

Liftopia breaks down the specific difficulty of ski runs and provides detailed descriptions. 

There’s also a substantial deals section, offering discounts on lift tickets to nearby resorts. It includes user reviews, which can sometimes be helpful (and other times not so much) in describing the specifics of each skiing venue.

Trace Snow

Trace Snow (free) is perfect if you hit the powder often, and want to track your adventures and share them with others. It’s more social than informational—it doesn’t have detailed weather info or snow updates like some of the other apps on our list.

Trace Snow can keep track of all your skiing adventures. 

However, you can pack a ton of info about your ski trips into this app. For example, you fire up the app when starting a skiing session, and Trace Snow will track your distance, calories burned, and number of runs down the course. You can also add friends and follow other users to check in on their progress.

In addition, you can check out and rank the various runs from different ski resorts. It also has a neat activity level tracker that tells you when the courses are most busy. If you’re into gamification, you can earn medals and other rewards from supported ski courses.


With OnTheSnow (free), you can find out how many lifts and trails are open at your favorite resorts. Just as valuable is its database of first-hand reviews: OnTheSnow enables you to post a photo and report on your experience, which then gets shared with the whole community.

Get user reports and weather updates for your favorite ski runs. 

You can also enable push notifications for your favorite ski spots, which is useful if you’re heading up to a certain resort, or if a sufficient amount of snow falls overnight and you want to take an impromptu ski trip.


OpenSnow (free) is a great app for finding the best snow conditions, even if you aren’t skiing or participating in another type of winter sport.

Get a full snow report and check out web cams of your favorite mountain sites. 

You’ll need to create an account to access any of OpenSnow’s info, but that account lets you scope out nearby spots to find out their daily snow counts, view live video feeds, and get weather forecasts.

If you like the service enough, you can subscribe to its all-access plan for $19 per year. This nixes the ads and gives you discounts on lift ticket purchases. The bulk of the services are free, however, if you’re still just checking the app out to see if it’s worth keeping around.

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The above article has been originally published by MacWorld and can be seen here.