Appalanche: the latest apps for winter wanderers

Posted by Peter Burnside on 15/01/2016
Your smartphone is a useful tool in the mountains. Photo: Shutterstock / Tiplyashina Evgeniya

Headed for the snow this winter? Get app-to-date with the latest applications for your electronic devices.

Whether your bag is skiing in the stunning vistas of alpine territory or a refreshing, brisk hike in the hills of the Lake District, there's an app for that. Read on to find out what our top picks are to track your route, tell you how many calories you're burning, or that will send for help in the event of an emergency.

Skiing and Snowboarding

FATMAP Ski – 3D Ski Maps and GPS

This app appeals to the hardcore and the geeky in one svelte offering. There’s mountains of info here; including resort details and the most detailed 3D ski maps ever made, according to FATMAP. And the ability to plan, record and share your ski adventures with jealous friends.

An amazing amount is included in the app, from avalanche risk zones and gradient heat mapping to interactive resort information.

The 3D maps are impressive to use, but downloading them uses up a ton of space on your device. Make sure you download them on Wi-Fi before you hit the slopes or you could rack up a hefty data bill.

To access premium services it costs £9.99 for a two-week pass, or £25.99 for a yearly subscription.

Available on iOS and Android.

Ski Tracks

Another offering that combines the technical details with the thrill of the slopes, this application for skiing and snowboarding records your day out on snow; tracking distances and your run without the need for signal or a data connection.

Replay your days in deep powder and find out the maximum speeds or durations of your descents. The run-by-run analysis tool is packed full of statistics for those that like to get into the nitty gritty details.

The developers hope that the app will be able to run all day on your device and they designed it to use as little battery as possible. Make sure to set the app so that the battery monitor will stop the app before your phone goes dead, leaving enough power to make an emergency call if necessary.

Ski Tracks costs £0.79 on both iOS and Android.

Available on iOS and Android.

Emergency

Alert5

Although we never think we’ll need them, apps for emergencies can give you a little more peace of mind. Alert5 helps as you can instantly alert up to five people from your contacts list with a map of your exact location in the event that you need urgent assistance. It does what it says and adds a couple of additional features.

There’s a setting to send out an automatic alert after a given amount of time, unless you stop it. Or one that will send an alert if the app finds you’ve moved outside a given radius from your starting position.

Unfortunately the app is not free to use and requires you to sign up for a 12-month auto-renewing subscription at £4.99 per year.

Available on iOS and Android.

ICE: Emergency Contact

Another alert app but with an additional twist, ICE: Emergency Contact allows you to alert contacts and rescue workers in the event of an emergency and also incorporates a feature that allows you to save your medical information.

In this application, you can save useful information for rescue workers – things like any allergies or health problems that you have, if you’re currently on medication, your blood type, if you’re an organ donor, amongst others.

Then use the app, or place a widget on your homescreen, to send an SMS with your GPS co-ordinates to your saved contacts alerting them that you need help. The free version of the app allows you to contact two contacts while the premium version allows you to contact many more and is free of ads.

Premium app costs £0.79.

Only available on Android.

Uepaa!

Whether you’re hiking in the highlands or climbing in the remote corners of the world, the multi-award winning smartphone app, Uepaa!, is a must-have for the safety conscious; particularly as it allows you to send out an alert even when you’re without mobile signal.

This app automatically creates a safety network between other users’ devices within range, which allows you to contact emergency services even without signal. The free version gives access to the 24/7 Emergency Centre, allows you to notify personal emergency contacts, and logs your last known position for rescuers to find you.

Extra features in the premium version are mostly aimed at those that go it alone: Accident Detection is designed to realise when the user is in trouble and automatically send out an alert; Buddy Aid immediately requests first aid assistance from nearby users; Remote Tracking allows friends and family to check where you are; and the One Time- & Interval Alarms checks up on the user at specified intervals and sends out an alert if the user doesn’t respond.

A year’s subscription costs £48 in the Android version.

Available on iOS and Android.

WATCH: Footage from a dramatic slide down Parsley Fern on BMC TV

Walking

ViewRanger GPS – Trails & Maps

For the modern-day hikers, ViewRanger GPS is a mapping, tracking tool come social media enabler. You can use it to discover trail guides, download OS maps, record and share your adventures, and show your real-time location.

The integrated navigation system uses your phone’s GPS system to show you where to go alongside helpful statistics such as the bearing, distance and estimated time to your next waypoint and the end of the route.

If you’re offline don’t worry, the app works without data connection using the device’s GPS, while mapping is cached in storage.The user data also synchs between the user’s devices and can be accessed online via a PC or Mac.

Some maps require an in-app purchase.

Available on iOS, Android, Symbian and Kindle Fire.

Map my Fitness/Walk

If you like to get out and about, be it walking, jogging, running or cycling, this could be the app for you. Map my Walk and its alternative apps allow you to track your route, your activity, log your food and share everything with friends.

Furthermore, if you prefer to keep your fitness indoors, then you can record other activities like yoga, cross training, gym workouts and many more. Plus the data can be synched with other health and nutrition apps like MyFitnessPal and Google Fit.

For the data-driven, the app provides stats galore. From how many calories you’ve burned to checking out your elevation profile, those that like to get bogged down in numbers will find more than enough here. But if you want more, the premium version also adds special features such as heart rate analysis, personal training plans and audio coaching, not to forget getting rid of those pesky ad banners.

Premium version costs £2.30 on Android.

Available on iOS, Android.

WATCH: The delights of winter hill walking on BMC TV

Weather

Met Office Weather App

The UK’s national meteorological service needs no introduction and its app is fast becoming the number one go to when users want to check the connies. This award-winning app provides accurate and timely weather warnings and forecasts from the UK’s national meteorological service, with the option to subscribe for push notifications on your electronic device.

From hourly to five-day forecasts and text descriptions to meteorological maps, this great Met Office app is a must-have when looking for insights on what tricks the UK’s unpredictable weather is up to. Aside from normal weather reports, other features include the ability to save up to 10 favourite locations, UV forecast maps, and social media sharing.

The app is ad-supported, but in response to customer feedback the developers have added the option to remove advertising for the cost of £1.99 through an in-app purchase.

Available on iOS and Android.

Salomon PowderQuest

Powered by wePowder.com, this is touted as not just another weather app, but the best weather app for freeriders in Europe and North America. It combines the most accurate new snow forecasts with the best freeride resorts to help you discover the best freeride routes

Salomon PowderQuest even says it has its own personal weatherman reporting on where it will snow, and with over 700 freeride routes powder is almost guaranteed. Don’t forget to check the local avalanche bulletin and topographic maps before you head out.

One of the app’s many features allows you to make your friends jealous by reporting the (hopefully perfect) conditions in real-time and sharing it with friends.

Even better, it’s free.

Available on iOS and Android

WATCH: Avalanche and route assessment on BMC TV


As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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