5 best mobile apps reviewed for Val d'Isere
Just because a ski app is great in one resort, doesn't mean it will be the same in another. We list below our favourite mobile apps that our ski chalet staff, guests and friends enjoy on the slopes of Val d'Isere, France.
1/ On the Snow – Our rating 3/5
Best for weather reports / snow conditions
The best thing about this app is the ‘My Areas' tab, providing an at a glance update on snow conditions with a 6 day overview of recent snowfalls, live info on which lifts and pistes are open and best of all, reports and pictures straight from the slopes by other users, dated so you know how up to date these accounts are. In the same tab, you can see local webcams and a six day weather forecast. On the downside, the adverts are annoying and a lot of the other tabs such as deals and gear are a bit pointless.
2/ Val d'Isere's mobile app – Our rating 4/5
Best for resort info / what's on
New this season, Val d'Isere resort's own mobile app brings something new to the table, putting lots of useful local information into one handy place. It has two choices of navigation: one gives you a nice and neat choice between village and ski so you can easily see what's available and choose accordingly, while the other is more of a ‘what's on' feed and that feels a bit more salesy, less intuitive.
We prefer the village / ski version. The ski side gives you a 3D piste map (remember to download it before you hit the slopes), the lift / piste opening details and emergency numbers you can tap to call - an important detail we often overlook. We love the mountain restaurants function that tells you where your nearest restaurants are (relative to your position on the mountain) with ratings and reviews from TripAdvisor. Meanwhile, we like the calendar function too with details of what's on, when and where from torchlight descents to cinema and local festivals in the village. These are listed as ‘Events' in the alternative nav.
3/ Fat Maps – Our rating 4/5
Best for backcountry, amazing graphics and data loving geeks!
If you love beautiful graphics backed by incredibly detailed data to help you plan your day's skiing, then Fat Maps is for you. Planning your route in the chalet is probably best though as you can't always get a good 3G signal on the mountain, which is frustrating. It's also a bit of a drain on your battery. Having said that, you can use a lot of the functionality offline so if you download it before you go out skiing it's great. It's particular strong for off piste or back country skiing with topographic information such as gradient heat mapping, avalanche zones, crevasse zones and altitude segmentation. Peaks are named. How often have you skied past a mountain, yet you don't know what it's called! We love that you can record your track in 3D and then play it back later with a pretty special 3D fly through, which is saved as a video. Awesome. But you do have to pay for the extra functionality. £9.99 for two weeks or £25.99 for the year.
4/ Ski Tracks – Our rating 5/5
Best for social ski fun
Ski Tracks has been around for a little while now, but it never disappoints. Spend the tiny sum of £0.79 and compare your top speeds, distance, vertical descent, time taken to complete a run with your friends. It's like a mobile Top Trumps on skis with real people! We love that you can map your track from the day although it's not too hot on distinguishing one run from another. You could ski 7 runs and it might think you've done 2! But there are so many positives, you don't really mind. The best thing is it all works on GPS so you don't use incur any data roaming charges and you can share it with your friends. Plus it doesn't usually drain your battery, you can use it all day long and still have charge at the end. If you want to inject some fun competitive rivalry into your holiday this is the one to download.
5/ The app that isn't an app
OK you've rumbled us, number 5 isn't an app. It's an anti-app. It's a jaw dropping vista to stretch the eyes, a slow intake of cold crisp, sweet air, the sharp tang of a breeze reddening your cheeks, the swisshhhhhing sound of skis scraping up the snow and poles clanging, to the ambient mechanical hum of the lifts, whoops of joy, shrieks of fear.
So go on. Take a leaf out of Cornwall's book. Take a moment. Put your smartphone down. Look up. Take in the view. Breathe in the air and drink in the mountains in all its glory.
Now if only there were an app for that…