Have you ever been having an incredible time skiing, and then lost your group? You are absolutely ripping, then look back for your partner, and boom, they’re gone! You post up and wait, and wait, and wait some more.
What about those days when your friends show up late to the resort? Victims of their own penchant for unfiltered IPAs, and everyone is trying in vain to sync up. Texting and phone calls don’t get it done, and invariably someone is left waiting, or worse, hopelessly lost until lunchtime.
So you don’t know where your party is, it’s tough to communicate with everyone, and you may not even be that familiar with the mountain to begin with. Got it. We’ve all been there.
Well friends … Those dark ages (before 2020) are over. This winter Aleck and SkiMap have joined forces to help you spend less time waiting, and more time riding.
What is SkiMap?
It started off as a passion project of avid Utah-based skier Matt Liapis. His skills as a GIS scientist allowed him to start drawing and refining the most technically accurate digital maps of North American resorts. Now his database covers over 395 North American winter resorts and continues to grow.
Anyone who is new to a mountain either spends precious time trying to memorize those large billboard maps, or grabs a paper map resulting in a gross soggy paper lump in their pocket. We all carry supercomputers in our pockets, so let’s use that shall we?
Each digital SkiMap delivers a variety of useful information. Amenity locations like bathrooms, first aid ticket booths, and food/drink locations. When you have to find these places, you REALLY have to find them. Also helpful are terrain details, like lift specs, run details drawn with easy to view colored lines, terrain park boundaries, open side country terrain, gates, and even existing tree glades across the mountain.
Let’s Save Some Trees Please
Not to get too preachy but it is estimated that ski resorts globally print over a hundred million paper maps annually. These are single-use, and end up littered all across the mountain. Not great for a winter sports. We need trees to help save our winters so that we can ski and ride for our lifetimes, and those of our kids. So that begs the question of the ski and snowboard industry... Why are we still using a sub-par product and shooting ourselves in the collective foot at the same time?
What else is out there?
If you want to carry a resort map on your phone, there are some open source versions like Google Maps which is basic and OpenSkiMap.org which is a step up but still lacking details, completeness and generally not shown to be accurate.
If you are an Ikon or Epic pass holder, they have some pretty cool features listed but you are only seeing their member mountains. Ikon even touts the ability to show your friends on the mountain, but we have yet to test how well it works.
Ok fine, what makes Aleck + SkiMaps so great?
With the free Aleck GO! App you get access to the largest database of digital resort maps and then you have the added Aleck GO! features of real-time group location and group communication (heck yeah, who doesn’t love walkie-talkies). Of course, the Aleck GO! Experience is made even better with the Aleck 006 to keep your phone in your pocket and the powder in your face.