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MapSki - App for finding your mates and navigating the slopes

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I want to start a company that builds a strava for skiing but with a feature to locate and find your friends. Who is in.

It seems when I go skiing so many people have no idea how to ski the terrain, do the same runs day in day out, lose their friends, end up on the wrong pistes, are constantly faffing about with paper maps which disintegrate, spend time at top or bottom lifts trying to shout down the phone in a desperate attempt to find their friends etc.

It is possible to have an app that navigates, suggests options, plans routes, assembles groups, records data, creates competitions & leaderboards and much more.

Im one person with limited finances but vision, a brain and a desire to create a snow based business.

Discuss and if anyone wants to be a part of this, bear this in mind - all the apps currently are crap and there are over 120 million skiers across Europe and USA Canada and the industry is worth over 100 billion including snowwear.

Richard
p.s. to anyone replying, thank you for your views regardless as to whether they are critical or supportive - its all super valuable feedback.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Fri 2-04-21 20:01; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Intriguing. I'm interested. If you ever get to the point of needing one I know a true genius (not me!) developer with a strong background in mapping.
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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?
Quote:

all the apps currently are crap


Ullr maps basically does all that already. Of course it's only for Whistler. I suspect any app that wants to do it with that level of detail would need to just focus on a few resorts.

Quote:

plans routes


Problematic. What happens if a piste is closed. Or perhaps one has/hasn't been groomed that day making it much easier or harder than normal. Is the app capable of avoiding bottlenecks at certain times of the day.

I'm not sure there is as much demand as you think. For most ski tracks is enough. I think WhatsApp allows GPS tracking of friends and most people already have it.
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Greengriff

Yes would happily chat with any genius developer. Ill dm you my mobile
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

all the apps currently are crap


Ullr maps basically does all that already. Of course it's only for Whistler. I suspect any app that wants to do it with that level of detail would need to just focus on a few resorts.

Quote:

plans routes


Problematic. What happens if a piste is closed. Or perhaps one has/hasn't been groomed that day making it much easier or harder than normal. Is the app capable of avoiding bottlenecks at certain times of the day.

I'm not sure there is as much demand as you think. For most ski tracks is enough. I think WhatsApp allows GPS tracking of friends and most people already have it.


Ski routes get updated daily from resort databases as do conditions etc as for grooming etc you can request this data too and if not set up a reporting. If the app grew to 10s millions users placing a drone in each resort to do a mornign flyby woudlnt be difficult nor particularly costly - during peace time all those US Army drone operators will need something to fly!

Loads of apps have GPS location - this doesnt assemble your friends nor does it guide you around the mountain, nor does it give you an update or an alarm when you will need to head back or miss the lift closures.

Ass for bottle necks - I've just opened communication with an app developer who worked on lift wait times and so yes it would be possible to set up a reduce lift wait times too.

I also feel the app could plan your progress throughout a week setting routes taking data processing it to determine performance and then increase level.

Nothing normal launches perfect but spin this forward ten years and you may be having sensors in boots and skis alongside the app to monitor body mechanics too.
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@plectrum, I'm not sure how this will be different from the normal resort applications like Yuge in Les Arcs. It tells you all the resort information such as what is currently open, what the lift queues are like, present piste maps, reccomends itineraries, gives you the navette timetables and I believe also has a buddy location facility, though since I think this is a useless feature I haven't bothered checking. I suppose if you got rid of the annoying bits like asking you to pose for photos at certain locations giving awards for completing tasks, reccomending apres ski activites etc you might get some downloads
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
So basically
https://iski.cc/en/index.html
?
Which is fantastic
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
To make it clear if Person 1 is at location X with skill set * Person 2 at location Y with skill set £ and person 3 is at Location Z with skill set & - you can click assemble and it will give you the best option and route based on criteria it can also update this based on your performance data recorded to date alongside your advised initial settings.

Benefit here is no-one needs to stop skiing or try and work out the best point to meet. You just click assemble and the app works it out for you.

Alternatively you can choose a destination which could be based upon an activity such as we all want to meet to try speed test or snow park or for a coffee or for lunch which feeds Person 3 who is Vegan.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
So basically
https://iski.cc/en/index.html
?
Which is fantastic


No - Performance stats or what you've skied is kinda interesting to geeks etc personally whilst its easy info to pack into any app and would be part of all apps thats not the need.

The need is being guided and having routes planned for you. As said I have heard this so many times 'mate where are you', 'okay wheres that' 'right stay there' 'oh okay well yeah sure meet there' to which 45 mins later 'where are you' 'you took the chouvrets, nah should have taken the chopin' 'poo-poo see you back at the apartment later I guess'

alternatively set a route for 2 hours of skiing to be mellow or improve or really challenge and let the app give you in ear navigation, just subtle pointers head toward this lift and that run small notification.

Or say I want to eat in 2 hours at this restaurant plan a route. Its what we try to do anyway with the paper map but many dont have photographic memory nor a mapping mind and so doubt their certainty and recheck where they are often taking gloves on off etc.

Now ISki does look decent and perhaps they will do this but hey if they do cool.
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johnE wrote:
@plectrum, I'm not sure how this will be different from the normal resort applications like Yuge in Les Arcs. It tells you all the resort information such as what is currently open, what the lift queues are like, present piste maps, reccomends itineraries, gives you the navette timetables and I believe also has a buddy location facility, though since I think this is a useless feature I haven't bothered checking. I suppose if you got rid of the annoying bits like asking you to pose for photos at certain locations giving awards for completing tasks, reccomending apres ski activites etc you might get some downloads


Finding your friend is as many point out useless Whats App or Facebook laready offer share location accurate to 10 m! Im talking Sat Nav style.
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@plectrum,

Ok, so sounds similar to 4riders. www.4riders.ski/index_en.html

Plot in your destination and it calculates the route, lifts, etc. You can even customise by turning off certain lifts or piste colours
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 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.
Im reading this article before supper : 9,999 in 10,000 Mobile Apps Will Fail: Here’s Why
Shocked
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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
Mr.Egg wrote:
@plectrum,

Ok, so sounds similar to 4riders. www.4riders.ski/index_en.html

Plot in your destination and it calculates the route, lifts, etc. You can even customise by turning off certain lifts or piste colours


This does look closer to the button. Still not sat nav nor does it have some other glossy features but nice indeed.
I will download and have a look Smile

Saying all that since it is evident there are loads of apps out there doing similar things it doesnt mean they will succeed etc.

*Edit - Rating in Appstore 1/5 Awful - kept crashing .....
the age of the app is 4 years old and the last update was 2 years ago - this app is semi if not totally dead. I may contact Mr Wolff though as I need a team right now!


Last edited by 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 on Fri 2-04-21 19:57; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

The need is being guided and having routes planned for you.

I cannot see the need for this - and I use programs such as viewranger all the time for navigation. And even use vehicle naviation software,
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
John

You may not but there are 60m skiers. We all see those skiers on their ass sliding down a red run because they got to a no way out scenario, after that often they dont ski the rest of day or even next day. Poorly navigated!

Last ski season I had to really push my ex gf as otherwise we would have missed the lifts home, it upset her and ultimately poorly navigated and aware and time keeping by myself.

With Mapski you can set a return home option which alters for whereever you are on the mountain - little Beep update and head home Roger!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

To make it clear if Person 1 is at location X with skill set * Person 2 at location Y with skill set £ and person 3 is at Location Z with skill set & - you can click assemble and it will give you the best option and route based on criteria it can also update this based on your performance data recorded to date alongside your advised initial settings.


I think this is quite a niche requirement! Far more normal is prearranged plan of "let's meet at [location] around this time". Which is simple enough for any semi competent adult with a piste map.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@plectrum, you asked us, a group of fairly experienced skiers, what we thought of your proposed application before you ventured to carry out more expensive market research and software specification. My view, a personal one, was that most of your requirements were already met and the others were not needed. Sorry.

If I wanted to know where my wife was on the mountain, or arrange to meet up with others for lunch I tend to phone them or send a text. However this has taken place only 3 or 4 times in the last 100 days of skiing.

I have to say your scenario of people sliding down red runs on donkeys (the modern term for ass) made me smile.
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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?
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

To make it clear if Person 1 is at location X with skill set * Person 2 at location Y with skill set £ and person 3 is at Location Z with skill set & - you can click assemble and it will give you the best option and route based on criteria it can also update this based on your performance data recorded to date alongside your advised initial settings.


I think this is quite a niche requirement! Far more normal is prearranged plan of "let's meet at [location] around this time". Which is simple enough for any semi competent adult with a piste map.


Once there is an app that does it for you would you bother with the old way though? This way you can ski as you wish and when you want to assemble it can then work out the best route.

For instance Portes de Soleil - huge domain - you go up Pleney and decide you know what its not great, heading to Les Gets, get their ski it rapidly and feel lets go over to Mont Chery. Now your wife's group were doing lessons on Pleney and have no real idea how to get to Les Gets, you dont wish to come back but if they could get over to the cafe de la soleil in les gets youd happily meet them there.

its a click click go with in ear directions
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On top of this with dji imagery, go pro videos and in ear guides it would be possible to click any run and get a quick tuition as how best to approach ski that run from an expert (who's perhaps performance data is on a leaderboard so you can compete!). Which could be addition services, may well be nice to view or listen to whilst relaxing in chalet.

I do wonder how long until sensors are in boots and skis too.
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I wouldn't be interested in a skiing navigation app because skiing from A to B isn't the same as driving from A to B. Google Maps navigation is useful when driving because people usually want to get to their destination as quickly as possible, regardless of the type of road / driving experience. It is nearly useless when planning a leisurely cycling route.

When I ski, it's mostly about the enjoying the travelling, not the journey efficiency. So the quickest route is not usually the one I would want to take. Where I would ski would depend on:

- if a run was open or not
- the snow conditions
- if I had skied that slope before
- if the slope / lift was busy or not
- slope aspect, depending on the time of day
- the terrain type (e.g. wooded, exposed) depending on the weather
- whether the slope had been pisted or not
- if there was a toilet on my route (if I needed the loo)
- how much time I had to get somewhere (if I had spare time, I would take a longer route)
- and lots more.

An app could cater to some of the above, but not all of them. The more customisation allowed in the app, the more skiing time wasted inputting your requirements each time.

Back to the driving analogy. Road systems have a hierarchy of speeds and traffic capacities. 99% of people driving from London to Bristol probably use the M4. But the road has a high capacity, so when Google Maps sends you the same way, it's not a problem. If you did the same to ski from Pleney to Les Gets (to use your example), it would exacerbate crowds on direct / key linking runs, and wouldn't be an enjoyable ski.

Finally, in your Portes du Soleil scenario, IF your wife was unable to use a simple piste map OR follow signposts, it would be easy to tell her: "keep far left onto the Chardon Bleu blue run, then keep going. Meet me at the bottom of the gondola". Contrast that with her having to open the app, remember to turn on location, hoping that the location was exact (if your location was displaced slightly onto the Morzine side of the ridge, it would direct you all the way back to Morzine and back up again), find the exact destination in Les Gets (would this require using a MAP?), take out her earphones from her pocket, hope there was enough battery in the -10C temperatures. And the app still wouldn't know which way you were facing to start with, so she would either need to use signposts or a piste map to work out which direction to set off in...

I think that is why "all the apps currently are crap".
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Quote:

(who's perhaps performance data is on a leaderboard so you can compete!)

In various ways we have had this discussion on snowheads before and the general concensus is that we should not be racing on public pistes.
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@plectrum, What I would do is build a framework app. One that can be easily adapted to lots of things but with the analytics in the core app. Then for a ski app you add the ski front end. That way you have one to adapt to different markets.

All this is free but with adds linked in.

Then you can download the local skin for the front end.

For revenue you can have restaurants advertise on the app and only those that advertise get a route-me to the restaurant.

These days people want an app for free (so your revenue is adds) with an extra in app purchase for the added value (analytics). Or additional leisure features.

The key is. Why would a customer download it?

It would have to fulfill a "real" need/issue, (more likely to have been done before) or you offer a feature that they didn't know they should consider but now you have shown the benefit then they want it (less likely to have competition).
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
denfinella wrote:


- if a run was open or not - Yes
- the snow conditions - Yes
- if I had skied that slope before - Yes
- if the slope / lift was busy or not - Yes
- slope aspect, depending on the time of day
- the terrain type (e.g. wooded, exposed) depending on the weather - Yes
- whether the slope had been pisted or not - Yes
- if there was a toilet on my route (if I needed the loo) - Yes
- how much time I had to get somewhere (if I had spare time, I would take a longer route) Yes
- and lots more.



Could definitely offer most of these. Let's remember the numbers 60million skiers in Europe up to 80m USA / Canada.

Thank you for the constructive criticism, good or bad its highly useful in framing the offering and deciding whether its worth pursuing.
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johnE wrote:
Quote:

(who's perhaps performance data is on a leaderboard so you can compete!)

In various ways we have had this discussion on snowheads before and the general concensus is that we should not be racing on public pistes.


Lol. I think one skis as fast as one can ski on slopes regardless, all this does is measure that speed etc. Safety is paramount but if you can ski fast you do. I can relatively but Ive seen super fast skiers do so.

Also time of day as well.

Full on race yes indeed but few have that ability in them and actually pushing yourself is a good way to improve too.
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If you build an app framework I think then selling B2B would be a good business model.

You would want to be in a position to say to (for example) Val Theorems tourist board. We have a framework that can work locally for you. We can build you a VT app for £10k. They then have to find the local restaurants etc to advertise. So they reclaim their investment.

I can see this mode applying to sailing, cycling and also tourist destinations.

A sort of find my iPhone but for friends.
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@plectrum, One disadvantage is off course data usage. I have loads of data, a dual SIM phone and when I travel I use data (Europe is free on my BT plan) or buy a travel SIM. Some are expensive (worldsims) and some are cheap eg Singapore tourist SIM, no snow in SF but it is just an example.
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 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.
@GlasgowCyclops, a friend wanted to do a 'RoadTrip' app for visiting wineries. for instance.

I see your point, I think!
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@GlasgowCyclops, 3786 ski resorts in Europe - 10k an app (which is too cheap but yes what ever it needs to be)

So all can laugh this Easter weekend - Portes des Soleil direct from app store - the official app!

Portes du Soleil Winte‪r‬ 17+
The official app
developer: ASS INTERNATIONALE DES PORTES DU SOLEIL

F.M.L
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@plectrum, I don't know the price of software in the mainstream. However from a sales perspective / business development (which is what I do) it is all about price performance. What price would someone be willing to pay and why.

For example, a ski resort. Who signs off the purchase, what is their budget, and is there a category for the budget? How can they justify the purchase to others?

They can justify it by saying. Hey boss. If we had this app we could charge a restaurant 1000 euros to advertise on the app. Big Q? Would the restaurant pay that when Google reviews are free. So what would be the price an advertiser would pay? This related back to how much you can charge for the app and then relates back to how much you can spend on development.

If I were you I would do it. I think it is a good idea because so many times I've been in a restaurant with snowheads and we are wondering where the one that took the wrong turning is.

Also if I want to go down a red but others want the black and some want the blue, then your app idea is good.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Lol. I think one skis as fast as one can ski on slopes regardless, all this does is measure that speed etc


It's not unusual seeing people try to beat their top speed on ski tracks app I would definitely disagree. Also in the pre-vail days Whistler had a daily king of the mountain leaderboard for most vertical and a few times I definitely snowboarded faster than I would have otherwise to try and up my standings a few times. So I think you are being naive if you don't believe apps and leaderboards make some people ski faster than they would have otherwise.

Quote:

I do wonder how long until sensors are in boots and skis too.


They already are! Carv.

Quote:

the snow conditions - Yes


I think I as a fairly experienced snowboarder would struggle to accurately and reliably quantify snow conditions of a run I'd just done. I don't see an app being able to offer much more than the general resort weather report. Then you have the issue of conditions changing quite dramatically during the day (e.g. spring conditions, developing bumps etc.)

Quote:

Let's remember the numbers 60million skiers in Europe up to 80m USA / Canada.


Strava has 70million members, and they can't even offer this kind of stuff because it's to expensive/complicated. Drones providing real-time data is just unrealistic, plus they are banned in plenty of resorts now anyway.

I think you also overestimate how time crunched most skiers are. For most it's a holiday. The idea of having sat nav style directions fed to me through an earpiece sounds awful. Most of the things your potential app would offer I can already do with other apps. The unique things e.g. plan a route for multiple groups to meet each other at a specific location are so niche I can't see them attracting too many new users. I tend to agree with @johnE that it's not a viable project, but good luck if you do choose to go down that route.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@plectrum, Change the name of your app - "SkiMApp"
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My two thoughts as a mobile user are data charges and battery life. I go skiing in Andorra which is outside EU and so data charges are horrific. Or Canada, same story. Battery life, I don't have any skiing or navi apps but still my battery seems to be half gone by the end of the day, particularly if I'm taking pics/vids of my children (noting also the phone has switched off a few times when it gets too cold) and I'm not sure how much bluetooth uses when transmitting to headphones as one might want to here. Presumably those who use strava, ski tracks etc have already addressed this issues.
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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?
Quote:

I go skiing in Andorra which is outside EU and so data charges are horrific.

Oddly when I was in Andora I would ski to pas de casa just to get a, rather week, French signal
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@plectrum, you talk about "Strava for skiing" and that is exactly where I would start. The reason Strava isn't good for skiing is that it doesn't know when you are actually skiing, and when you are on a ski lift or other transport. I am sure a lot of the 70 million Strava users (figure quoted by @boarder2020) also ski and would love to incorporate their skiing holidays.

So as first need you need to know the GPS data for all the ski lifts etc in every (!) resort. That way the app could record the distance/time/average speed for actual skiing. A free app which was Strava-compatible (because users would want to upload days skiing for their running/cycling/etc friends to see) would get rapid take up.

But I think you want to set up a moneymaking business, not a charity. If you were successful with the above, there are two obvious options: either persuade Strava to make you an offer you can't refuse to take over your business, or pin your hopes on paid-for enhancements like route planning.

The trouble is, it seems to me that the easiest way to do it would be to be part of Strava in the first place. Quite a lot of people switch on their Strava when skiing, presumably in running mode - my daughter does for example, and routinely tells me that she was the tenth fastest woman (or whatever) down some piste. Strava already has all the data you need, it just needs an automated process to identify from it those sections that follow most closely the same route at the same speed and are likely to be ski lifts - maybe with a quick reality check against a piste map at the end by an actual human who skis. And then modify the normal Strava route recording software to subtract those sections when calculating distance travelled etc.
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@boarder2020, Carv looks cool!
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@j b, interesting about strava considering if you are on a lift you are going UP and if skiing you are going DOWN! Wink just saying!
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Quote:

So as first need you need to know the GPS data for all the ski lifts etc in every (!) resort. That way the app could record the distance/time/average speed for actual skiing


I don't think this is necessary. Most GPS watches with a ski mode can automatically calculate when you are on a lift (I suspect they use accelerometer data showing vertical ascent at a constant rate). I suspect plenty of the Strava crowd have GPS watches with dedicated ski mode which would be preferable to phone and app (better GPS accuracy from what I've seen, possibly better battery life, no roaming costs, extra measurements (e.g. barometric altitude, heart rate etc.). My watch gives me over 20 different measurements I can view during snowboarding! Big companies like garmin and polar are throwing lots of money into research, design, and programming these things. That's before you add in things like carv for those that want even more data collected and more variables to analyse. I don't see a phone app competing for those that seriously want Strava for skiing (and likely already own a GPS watch anyway).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@GlasgowCyclops, It all comes down to users. If you have 1 million users and you know when they are due to go skiing etc you can look to sell them lots - holidays, packages, transfers, snow wear, snow gear, snow hire, in resort offers etc.

Monetizing the app isnt so much of a concern, its whether it would be downloaded (free) by 1m min.

Im not sure I agree with @boarder2020 about the ease at which groups can assemble as in all my ski memories its been more often than not to no find each other or not actually wanting to hang about waiting at top of lifts for 20 mins in the vague hope they actually have managed to navigate correctly.

As for in ear nav. It depends. This can be turned off it can be very occasional, it can be only if you go the wrong direction etc.

For me the key may be that regardless as to whether its a good idea it may not be one that fundamentally people give two hoots about as bumbling slightly clueless and occasionally trying to pinpoint where the xxxx one is on the mountain may be what people actually want!

For me though the assemble offering as well as the get me the xxxx home offering are the winners because it is something groups may use once or twice a day only so it doesnt drain battery or data and it is just used when you really want to get somewhere without error.

It also allows you to ski totally freely for the remainder of the day with the certainty that at the click of a button you can find your makes assemble and or get home without concern or worry.
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Quote:

if you are on a lift you are going UP and if skiing you are going DOWN! just saying!


Not that simple. Plenty of runs have some small sections with incline. Going through a terrain park would show up as you taking lots of very short lifts if an app classed any time the accelerometer rose vertically as being on a lift.

Quote:

@boarder2020, Carv looks cool!


I'm still pretty skeptical about how useful it is right now as a stand alone product to improve skiing. I think combining that data with a human coach could definitely be useful though. I'm sure as development continues it will only get better.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@boarder2020, its not hard to delete off the lifts they are fixed GPS points with fixed certain levels of ascent.

@boarder2020, Agreed bit of both human and data works
snow report



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