Learning the skills necessary to ski or snowboard is only half the battle of enjoying these snowy pastimes.
The biggest challenges to enjoying a skiing or snowboarding getaway often have very little to do with the actual act of skiing and snowboarding.
Want to know where the best snow - artificial or real - can be found? Interested in selecting the best gear for your individual skill level? How about tracking your overall progress by measuring speed, airtime, distance and other critical data?
Several apps are available to help enhance the skiing and snowboarding experience, including some that are absolutely free to download and use. From finding cheap lift tickets to mapping out the best way to avoid traffic on the way to the slopes, there is an app to meet just about every ski and snowboard need.
The following is a list of the best apps designed for skiers and snowboarders:
Trace Snow Ski Snowboard Track
Formerly known as AlpineReplay, it is the premier ski and snowboard tracking app, Google Play said. Men's Health magazine ranked it the No. 1 winter sports app for its ability to allow users to track their day on the mountain by measuring speed, distance, airtime, vertical lift and calories expended.
The app can produce a basic set of statistics accessible right on the slopes. Users also have the option of logging into AlpineRelay.com to view progress attained over the course of an entire season, comparing their progress with that of their friends or publishing stats to social media. Trace Snow is available for both Apple and Android devices, and is free to download and use.
Available for both Apple and Android devices, this app is one of the world's most popular ski and snowboarding applications, based on the number of devices that have downloaded the app. Ski Tracks can provide run-by-run analysis, comprehensive ski or snowboarding stats, and graphs charting the user's elevation, speed, maximum altitude, total number of miles and/or accumulated hours actively spent on the slopes, and slope degree.
The app is priced at 99 cents for both Apple and Android devices.
Designed with the help of internationally-renowned ski instructor and writer Martin Heckelman, this series of apps for Apple devices uses modern media to help individuals teach themselves to ski. The series covers every style of skiing, as well as snowboarding techniques with Olympic Medalist Mathieu Bozzetto. It is ideal for everyone from first-time skiers and snowboarders to those looking to learn fancy new techniques.
Each app includes 20 to 30 individual lessons that are presented in video, audio and text format for ease of use. Users who wish to sample free extracts from all four of the SkiTips App Series can do so through the SkiTips Lite App. Access to full lessons only is available by downloading the complete version of the app for each category, which cost $4.99 each.
In the Snow
Available for Apple devices, this app contains ski and snowboarding news from all over the world, including summaries of the top holiday offers for skiers. The app is free to download and use.
On the Snow's Gear Guide
This app is free and available for both Apple and Android devices. It's great for providing information about the latest tools of the trade, including boards, skis, boots and other popular accessories.
REI Snow Report
With reports from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Argentina, Australia, Chile and New Zealand, it's easy for skiers and snowboarders to decide whether it's a good day to hit the slopes. The app compiles information about the base, projected snow, weather forecast, open lifts and trails, providing trail maps from every resort located in covered areas. It also is able to produce tweets from resorts, webcam footage and links to resort websites. The app is free to download and use.
Free to download and use on Apple devices, this app offers discounts up to 80 percent off ski-lift tickets and rentals at over 150 ski resorts around the world. Skiers and snowboarders who do not have a device with an iOS can visit the app's website at liftopia.com to get similar offers.