Long gone are the days when you needed the weatherman to give snowfall reports or you had to rely on crinkled trail maps for directions. Now more than ever, technology is changing the way we approach the slopes. From emailing photos on ski lifts to finding trails that lead to lunch, skiers are demanding resorts up their tech game. Our team has details on the places that are embracing all things wireless and tweet-worthy this winter.
As Vail ski resort celebrates its 50th anniversary, lift One (it debuted on Nov. 16) provides the most comfortable, high-tech ascent to Mid-Vail yet, and in a record-breaking seven and a half minutes. The gondola sports built-in Wi-Fi, ensuring skiers can send last-minute e-mails and social media boasts; and the heated, composite-leather seats keep riders toasty between runs.
Tweets or Facebook posts touting the perfect run or spectacular powder won’t do much good without some cold, hard proof. Smartphone app EpicMix (available on both iPhone and Android) aims to remove all doubt in a decidedly 21st-century way. Head to any of the Vail Resorts—including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar—and scan an RF-enabled lift ticket to have your stats, such as vertical feet gained and lifts taken, tracked via the app’s sleek interface. For more evidence, shots snapped by EpicMix photographers on the mountainside are sent directly to your account and can easily be uploaded to Facebook and Twitter (and even printed out, if you’re feeling nostalgic). EpicMix also features a Foursquare-esque pin system and the ability to virtually race against your friends’—and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn’s—slope times.
Vail Resorts’ mountains aren’t the only ones carving out a presence on the app market. Both Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort in British Columbia and Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in Utah offer iPhone and Android apps (Whistler Blackcomb Live and Snowbird, respectively) that are attractive, fast and easy-to-use tools with information such as road status, trail maps, snow reports and camera footage of prime ski routes. You can also tweet photos directly through both apps. While there are other resort-specific smartphone apps available (like Telluride’s informational app and Aspen’s LivePass) that track your trails with GPS, Snowbird and Whistler’s well-performing and well-designed interfaces set them apart from the pack.
Photos Courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb