It just got a lot easier to track your mountain treks.
Due to an Apple Watch update that combines GPS and altimeter (altitude) measuring, ski apps are now able to quantify performance. If you’re wondering how many calories you’ve burned or how fast you were going, all that data is available and more.
The new features are rolling out today, with Ski Tracks, Slopes, Snocru, Snoww, and Squaw Valley’s apps all getting updates. They are most compatible with Apple Watch Series 3 and an updated operating system of watchOS 4.2.
TechCrunch had the opportunity to get a sneak preview of the apps.
Slopes was one of our favorites. The app lets you track your vertical feet, distance, heart rate, and lets you know exactly how much time you’re spending skiing versus waiting in lines and riding lifts. And it’s not just skiers. Slopes works for snowboarders, too. It tells you both your top and average speeds. It also shows you a map of your journey. The app auto-detects when you’re idle, so there’s no need to stop and restart with each run. The app is free, but users can upgrade to “Season Pass” for $19.99 per year and receive terrain and satellite maps and more.
Snoww is another app that helped us gauge performance. It also has the added focus of helping us connect and compete with friends. The latest update allows users to find their friends’ locations and access the app hands-free via Siri (important for when it’s freezing cold). There are leaderboards for tracking distance, speed, runs, hours and vertical feet. You can compare yourself against friends and also other local users of the app. Winners can unlock virtual “trophies,” although we think you’ll feel like a winner as long as you’re performing at your personal best.
And if you are a fan of Lake Tahoe skiing, check out Squaw Valley’s app the next time you’re there. The mountain that was proudly the home of the 1960 Olympics, is looking to provide a modern ski experience, with an app that enables users to get real-time updates on wait times and lift closures. It will even tell you whether your friends are halfway up a chairlift, or nearing the bottom of a run. You can also purchase lift tickets and send group messages directly via the app. Workout metrics like average speeds and vertical feet are available, too.