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Feedback for new ski app?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi! I'm trying to get some feedback for an idea for a phone app that...

- Shows your location on a piste map.
- Understands how lifts and pistes are connected.
- Knows if they're open, the lift type, and piste difficulty.

It shows you on the map which lifts to get, for example...

- To get to a particular destination.
- To get to the highest point on the map.
- To do the longest continuous series of runs.
- To do a random route of a certain amount of time.
- To get to the fastest lift serving a red run.
- To go where you haven't been before.
- Can set min/max difficulty of run, eg just blues and reds.
- Can avoid lifts based on their type (eg drag lift).
- Can use lifts currently open or lifts planned to be open.

In short, the point of the app is to seamlessly give you fun things to do and goals to accomplish.

Is this an app you would use?
Do you use a tracker like Ski Tracks and would you use both?
What goals would you want (ie like the bullet points above)?

You may know that a similar app called Skadi FIS exists, which does point-to-point navigation and general suggested routes with detailed voice directions. It is visually polished, but unusably slow on my phone, I cannot download new maps, and it's expensive. If there's a differentiator, it's that I would focus on providing many different specific goals. Personally I really do want these goals rather than skiing around aimlessly. Do you also feel that way?

Thanks for any feedback.
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I would give a go definitely if the app does well what you have described although would need to pretty good to spend money on it. Ski track still the only app I have ever bought. Very keen using it for a bit but at the moment not caring too much about the stats anymore. At the moment a routing app would be cool to try although looking the ski map its part of the fun as well.

I'm a software engineer btw - keep thinking about working in some sort of ski app to develop as well.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It doesn't sound like one I'd use. I think I prefer to ski in the moment and enjoy it rather than for it to just be something I'm doing in order to achieve a specific goal.
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
My problem with all these apps is that its virtually impossible to use a phone in bright sun with goggles on. Not to mention gloves (even with etips). I just find a paper map so much more suited. I've tried a few apps, and the only one I use is Ski Tracks - and then I turn on in the morning and leave it in my pocket - so I'm not actually interacting whilst on the hill.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The Ski Amade has a navigational app that does pretty much what is being described; it's handy and free
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Have tried Ski Tracks, was fun for a bit but don't use it now.
Have tried the Crystal ski app but couldn't get it to work.

The main use for a ski app that I would require is to accurately see where all my buddies are at that moment in relation to the lifts and pistes and maybe have a message function built in.
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
gixxerniknik wrote:


The main use for a ski app that I would require is to accurately see where all my buddies are at that moment in relation to the lifts and pistes and maybe have a message function built in.


Ha, now that would be something I'd use just to see where my son has got. He tends to ski faster than me and the thought of waiting at some convenient spot (such as where there are different piste options) never seems to quite get through to him.
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I think this exists already and is called FATMAP. I think it has most of those features.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
The Dolomiti Superski has a navigational app that does pretty much what is being described; it's handy and free too (or at least did, not used it for the last couple of years)

Of course there, the area is far to easy to navigate around without a map or a SatNag.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thanks all. Yes, similar to what Ski Amade does (just downloaded). I assume the Domiti one too. FATMAP, though very full-featured, as far as I can tell isn't really practical for quick navigation whilst on the piste, eg you might set a route on your laptop the night before.

@gixxerniknik @olderscot, SkiLynx or SNOCRU may work for friend tracking if you haven't seen them already. If I ever do make the app I would add this functionality eventually because it combines quick nicely with the routing.

I can understand not wanting to use an app at all or finding them difficult to use/see. A top priority would be having a simple interface that requires a maximum of a few taps and drags to get the information you want. It should be quicker than getting a paper map out.

As an example use case from my last trip to Alpe d'Huez, I wanted to get to Pic Blanc and went up the 3 Marmottes lifts only to discover the connecting piste to the final chair was closed. From that point, you have to go all the way to the bottom and get another 4 lifts. It seems to me this kind of app is significantly more useful for the bigger resorts, and so I'm thinking of doing a 3 Valleys specific one first.
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I like the idea of it Jancellor. Certain features I would not use. If you can add in the skitracks tracking into it that would also be great. Sounds like a big ask.

Certain Piste maps are difficult to see how you can get from one piste to a certain lift so if the app helps that would be useful. The location function of friends would be great.

Getting friends to pay more than 99p for any app is always difficult though.
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I like the idea of one app to do all resorts, however once you have a working app you might want to approach each resort and ask them if they would like you to build it for their resort as you will need their input for the closed lifts or lift warnings or busy lifts, etc?
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Sack the Juggler, Crystal app is pretty good for covering a large number of resorts. However I generally find it easier to just download the specific app for the resort I’m in.

Even then I only really use the app in the lead up to the holiday, once I’m in resort I’ll glance at paper maps or the large boards that are dotted around. I also just like to go with the flow and can usually have a snapshot in my head of where we’re going and ways that we could change e.g “this run looks quieter, let’s do that first, get that chair back up and then do this run over here”
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@jancellor,

There is already a Free app that does much of that & covers lots of French resorts, as well as plot a GPS route A to B with required runs, lift etc. that you can specify by slope colour.
http://www.4riders.ski/
available on android & IOS
snow conditions     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Really helpful again, thanks. I had reviewed around 20 apps before posting here and am surprised how many I've missed. 4riders is a good shout -- all I can say is I believe a 2D non-scale map based on the piste map would be more usable. The key difference I'm pushing is the suggested fun-things-to-do or challenges in addition to the point-to-point navigation, but it doesn't sounds like any of you are particularly enthused by that so far. Personally, I also like the feeling of floating around and just knowing roughly where things are, but I would like a little extra push of what to do, especially after a few days in a resort.

Given that I'm just one person competing in a large existing market, I had thought I would first try to make a minimal app with a key new feature, ie simple, fast navigation with additional suggested challenges. Tracking, groups and social-media-sharing could then potentially come later but I wouldn't expect to be able to compete without novel functionality.

Data-wise, the OpenStreetMap data seems pretty good for lifts and pistes in order to build the connectedness structure, though I would expect to have to add in the odd lift and piste on a per-resort basis. I can also grab and cache the lift/piste open/closed status from the resort website (assuming I'm not ignoring a legal issue). What https://liftie.info/ does for example. Ditto deriving a 2D map from the background of the official one, though I'd have to add the GPS coordinates of several anchor points and then draw lifts/pistes on top.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Tubaski wrote:
My problem with all these apps is that its virtually impossible to use a phone in bright sun with goggles on. Not to mention gloves (even with etips). I just find a paper map so much more suited. .... and then I turn on in the morning and leave it in my pocket - so I'm not actually interacting whilst on the hill.


This.
I'm not an avid smartphone user to be fair, and I don't carry one on me or have a phone (or wi fi unless provided free on the hill) signal to ride on. Whilst skiing, my dumbphone is in my sac, or pocket at best, usually turned off. I find a paper map quite adequate for navigation and planning.
Having said that, to know in real time that a lift is closed is useful: I usually rely on checking before I leave the accommodation in the morning, via resort website usually.
Piste maps are not always clear, so there is room to re-illustrate them to give a better idea of true terrain, steepness, how to get to and from, etc - but probably again something I'd check of an evening, not on the hill.
I don't want "challenges" or "fun things to do". I'll explore the runs and lifts at will and make my mind up, not yet found anywhere which bores me that much: but I'm not an avid one-shot only run bagger, either.
The only thing which might interest me is a serious real time description (and pictures) of visibility, wind, snow conditions and a proper description of whether it's a thin yucky blue traverse, mild red with 1 terrifying steep pitch wonder, sustained but wide proper red/black, chopped-up mogul field, crowded to hell cruisy wide blue, flat snowboarder-unfriendly finish, etc etc.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The priority for a mobile 'phone is to preserve the battery in case of emergency. You don't want a power-hungry app sucking-up the power and then the thing dying on you by early afternoon. And as mentioned, for me, faffing-around with a screen I can hardly see is time-consuming and impractical. But I wouldn't mind leaving an app on to do tracking for review apres ski later as long as it didn't leave me dead power-wise.

I skiied with a friend a few weeks ago who had a ski app running - he gave up after a few days. It drained his phone completely by early afternoon. It used a cartographic map, not a piste map, and It didn't understand when he was on a lift (although surely, it could infer from the straight line and constant speed?) so the stats were meaningless. As mentioned, it might be useful to know where your companions are but this has been included in a number of apps and the trouble is you all have to register in some way, and the monitoring load is too power-hungry.

Sounds a bit negative, but I bet there is a model for a low-overhead app that might be popular among skiers and boarders.

Walking in the mountains in the summer, I use the Swiss Map app which gives me OS-levels of map quality on my mobile and obviously centres me usefully using GPS. It can also be 'tuned' for walking as opposed to driving. But in the summer it's much easier to handle the phone and see the screen. Even then, it's not till it's running on a tablet that it really comes into its own functionally, with choice of overlays, route planning and other features and in practical terms, has a display big enough to compete with a conventional paper map.

Perhaps there's more mileage in designing for a tablet? The power drain wouldn't be an issue and even complete power loss wouldn't jeopardise safety. People like me who carry a rucksack might consider taking a smaller tablet along if it did stuff that was useful i.e. you'd get it out at lunchtime/vin chaud time and in the evening, but otherwise keep it under cover. And you might use it on piste in circumstances where you were unfamiliar with the terrain and it could geolocate you on a realtime map that's a readable size?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
There are roughly 120 million active skiers and boarders worldwide in 2019.

A rough stab says only 1% will be willing to use a hyper-interactive trailmap.

Assuming you can persuade a realistic 5% of the willing 1% to discover, download and use the free app, on iOS or Android or KaiOS, you're looking at perhaps 60k potential customers worldwide.

If you charge, say, $1 for the app, you can expect perhaps 12k downloads worldwide.

It is going to be a niche app.
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