Baby Health in Winter
These days the quantity and capabilities of apps available for mobile devices are quite impressive—let alone how powerful smartphones have become. In my case my phone is better than my computer… but I digress. Ironically, some of these apps that focus on outdoor travel, recreation, and exploration provide technology that allows you to disconnect from this media-centric society. And while there is nothing more annoying than pulling your phone out while in the woods, or on a chairlift for that matter, below are a few handy apps that skiers can utilize in the offseason, some of which are equally worthwhile in the winter. Each of them will help you venture further off the beaten path, or drool over mountain ranges and ski lines until snow flies again.
OnX Off Road App $30 Per Year
Considering how everyone is trying to flee cities and track down campers and campsites during the COVID-19 pandemic, the overlanding and camping scene is taking off. However, the problem is those popular campsites are now overrun with people, both an annoyance and potential health risk. So being able to disappear is becoming key to truly appreciating the wilderness. The OnX Off Road App is pretty slick since it takes a lot of the beta research needed to escape, by taking land management agency data and compiling what roads are currently open for travel and how they’re accessible—either by 4X4, ATV’s, dirt bikes, or good old fashioned trekking. The new app allows for offline map usage and weather and plans on allowing users to upload data such as conditions, photos, etc. It’s ideal for planning an off-the-grid excursion and, come ski season, will be useful to navigate a remote ski adventure.
Trailforks is perhaps the most simple and easiest app to use for navigating mountain biking, trail running, or hiking trails when you’re new to an area. When I started mountain biking, a friend of mine suggested using it rather than pulling up a PDF map on my phone every time I was trying to figure out where to go. The maps can be tailored to different activities, loading only what you want to see and providing navigation, descriptions of popular trails, length, steepness, and difficulty ratings. While you likely won’t use it often on your home turf, it’s awesome for summer travel and exploring new areas—allowing you to plan out long rides, runs, and hikes with ease.
When I lived and skied back East, I had a classic GPS unit to tag and save all of my convoluted entrances into steep chutes, it also helped to navigate in reverse when I was out scoping reconnaissance for new areas. Nowadays the GAIA GPS app blows away most modern GPS units and then some. Depending on your level of membership you can download and customize maps, develop detailed routes before your trip, and essentially do a lot of the route-finding before you head out. While GAIA is great for hiking, trekking, and camping in the offseason, it really proves its merit for ski touring in areas that have expansive mountain landscapes. It has been incredibly useful for me over the past several years, and my maps are full of colorful routes showing up tracks and descents.
If Google Earth, Facebook, and Strava had a baby it would be Fatmap. The app has incredible resolution and the ability to fly over and zoom into mountain ranges and zones all while tracking where you are among them. You can upload routes or see what others have added, add photos and descriptions to share among users—the app also features content to suggest nearby adventures. You’ll need a membership to download offline maps, particularly useful when venturing into the backcountry or during winter, given I think Fatmap works best in conjunction with a powerful GPS like GAIA. Over the past couple of years, I’ve sussed out lines via the amazing imagery and overlaid it with features like their avalanche data—which produces a hot zone map regarding slope angles, making it nice for approaches and hazard assessment. It’s pretty impressive, and, if anything, allows for some fun mind surfing turns during the offseason.
Baby Health in Winter Rolling Stones fans in Norway, 1964. Photo: National Archives of Norway. Via Wikimedia Commons. Teenage girls are yelping. It’s just after four in the morning and a huge rat—a heaving, greasy, small-dog-size thing—is dragging its weight along the pavement next to us. “Eurgh, fuck off!” yell fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds, one pulling...