Travel advice: best apps for planning a skiing holiday

imageDonald Strachan recommends the best travel apps for booking accommodation and more on a skiing break.

We’re planning a skiing and snowboarding holiday. Which apps would you recommend?

Donald Strachan, a specialist in new media and technology, replies

There’s a tailor-made app for just about every stage of the process, from booking accommodation and checking the weather, to mapping your resort and even improving your mogul skiing.

The most useful booking app is Ski Pad (skipad.co.uk; iPhone/iPad; free), which allows you to search for slopeside rental accommodation, pinpoint each chalet on a map and contact property owners directly from inside the app. The company says “around 15 per cent” of enquiries now come via its app. IgluSki’s Deals app (igluski.com; Android, iPhone; free) sends that operator’s latest discounted offers to your phone.

If you want to check conditions at resorts before booking, download a snow report app such as Ski Report (onthesnow.com; iPhone, Android; free). You can select resorts and the app will notify you when any get a fresh snowfall. Ski Guide (Windows Phone; £1.99) uses Windows Phone’s elegant tile functionality to pin weather updates to your homescreen.

However, if you’ve already chosen your resort, you’ll probably find it has an app of its own, with conditions and forecasts that are more up to date than any catch-all app. iPhone users, in particular, can download apps for everywhere from Utah to the Portes du Soleil, and even Cairngorm. Most include trail maps and resort webcams. But don’t use any function that requires a data connection while you’re abroad, unless you want a hefty roaming bill.

If your resort doesn’t have its own mapping app, iTrailMaps (iPhone; free) is a reasonable substitute, with downloadable maps for 750 resorts. Windows Phone’s Ski Guide also includes piste maps.

Once you’re on the mountain, fire up a tracker app to record your day’s exertions. These fun apps use GPS technology to record the distance you cover, your speed, total vertical and other data. GPS alone doesn’t use 3G, so you won’t incur roaming charges, but it does drain your battery.

Ski Tracks (iPhone; 69p) is a great basic GPS tracker that also geotags any photos you take on the slopes. Runtastic Wintersports (iPhone; £3.99) captures more information, and is worth the extra if you take your exercise regime seriously. At the geekier end of the GPS recorders is AntiMap (theantimap.com; Android, iPhone; free). This app also captures your rotation, which proficient boarders can then synchronise with video footage of their tricks via a free desktop app.

To brush up on your piste technique, the excellent Ski School (skischoolapp.com; iPhone/iPad) is loaded with video tutorials, and also allows you to compare video of yourself on a split screen with an experienced instructor, Darren Turner. It comes in three proficiency levels (basic, intermediate and advanced), and each costs £2.99. A Windows Phone version will be available before season’s end.

When it’s time to break for lunch or plan après-ski, your phone can help too – if you’re visiting a resort covered by Hg2’s slick iPhone app (£11.99). It reviews bars, cafés, dining, clubs, shops and more in 41 world destinations, including resorts such as Chamonix and Val d’Isère, where relevant extras such as mountain restaurants and ski guides are also assessed. The 10 major European ski areas covered by Hg2 will also be available as individual apps from late February, costing £2.99 each.

Gearbest TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic
TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic only $2.99