I am apologetically addicted to skiing. I love tech and my career but at 9 times out of 10, if you ask me what I’m thinking about, I’m going to tell you skiing. 2017 has been a great season for me so far and like many skiers and riders, I want to keep track of where I’ve been, how fast I’ve gone and how many vertical feet I’ve skied in a day. One of the best and most complete apps for this is Snocru. The app allows you to track all of these statistics for the day and does it in a battery friendly way. Snocru also lets you link up with friends who are skiing with you so you can compare stats and share that information with each other or on social networks like Facebook.
I’ve been using the app for the past few weeks to track my skiing and it has quickly become a must-have app for me. If you are a skier or snowboarder, you will probably find it a must-have app too.
Ski & Snowboard Tracking
The key feature of Snocru is the tracking of your runs as you ski or snowboard. Leveraging the GPS built into your phone, the app tracks all of your runs, lift rides and gives them to you in a nice, easy-to-view map. To start, open up the app and on the main page there is a Start Tracking button. Tap it and the app will prompt you to verify that you want to start tracking your runs and ask if
you want to check in at the resort closest to you. This check-in element is part of the social networking of the app which I’ll cover later in the review. Once you start tracking, Snocru tracks your every movement, updating every three seconds. You can adjust this up or down as you see fit in the Settings but generally, 3 second updates are enough. The lower you go, the more detail (accuracy) you will have of your day on the hill but equally, it consumes a bit more battery. As you have your phone in your pocket and are on your ski runs, the app will keep track of where you go and will be continually updating the map and other statistical data.
The map view in Snocru has three basic views for your information. First is the Normal view which shows you an outline of all of the places you went on the mountain that day. It shows you the chairlifts and the runs and as long as you have had the app running, you will have a good track of just how much of the mountain you covered that day. My home mountain is Vail which is a large, spread out area both on the front side and the back bowls of the mountain. This view allows me to see all of the places I went and can be a good way to remember which runs you enjoyed and which ones, not so much.
The second view is the Speed view. This shows you on the same map the areas in which you were fast or slow you were on your runs or rides. The third view is Density. This shows you the areas where you spent the most time, again, including chair lifts. The green areas of the map indicate you didn’t spend much time there while the red areas are places you spent a lot of time during the day. If you take me for example, I tend to ski 2 or 3 days a week during my lunch hour. That means that I tend to hit the lifts that are closest to my locker so I can get on the hill faster. My density maps shows me often taking the same runs and same lifts for that hour to an hour-and-a-half while I ski. I don’t have time to go traversing across the mountain. On Sundays however, when I’m often 1st or 2nd chair, my density maps are less red and more green as I’m a bit all over the place.
The app also keeps track of the amount of time you have spent skiing and it can be paused if you go into the lodge for a coffee or a water break. In addition to providing you a map of your ski day, it also provides you a wealth of other data which you can view at any time by swiping up while you are viewing the map. This will bring up a dashboard that shows you your maximum speed as well as an overall average, the distance you have covered both ascending
(think chairlifts) and descending. You will also see the total vertical feet you have descended, the altitude change and the number of runs and average slope of your runs. There is a huge amount of data in Snocru and if you are a stats geek, it is an app that will please that inner geek.
Social Skiing & Riding
Along with all of the tracking you can do within Snocru, the app also has a strong social network element. Beyond linking your Snocru account to your Facebook account, the app allows you to setup your “cru” of friends for the season or for the day. This allows you to see each others statistics but also allows you to see where they are on the mountain. This is particularly handy for those who do back country skiing or are in a large ski area like Vail.
In order for the “cru” features to work, you have to have invite friends (or be invited) who have the app as well and have linked it to their Facebook account. You can also invite them via SMS or Email. Once you find them, you can invite them to your “cru”. If you are skiing or riding with those friends, you can start tracking them as you are on the mountain once you setup a Daycru.
Check-in is also a feature of the app. This allows you to check into the resort you are skiing for the day and other users of Snocru can see you if you have your preference set to do so. Check-ins and other posts on the Get Started Page can be given a high-five or a thumbs down and comments can be made too. There is also a chat feature built into the app so you can send messages to your Cru.
As you use the app, you can start to compare your statistic to others who use it. You can see who has the maximum speed, most vertical feet descended, number of runs and number of days skied. These leadership boards be viewed for the entire season or just a day. You can also break it down to a
particular resort to see who has gone the fastest on the hill or who has skied the most vertical feet.
The social elements of Snocru absolutely add a layer of fun and challenge to the app. The ability to see what your friends or doing or other users of the app on the hill is fun and can keep you connected as you go throughout the day.
Tracking & Battery Performance
Any app that uses the GPS antenna in your phone drains battery and does so at a higher rate than it not being enabled all the time. Snocru is no different but it is quite efficient in doing it. By default, the app will update your position every 3 seconds. That can be adjusted up or down: Go down and you get more accurate information but it is draining your battery faster. Go up and the information isn’t as accurate but your battery last longer. Generally speaking, the 3 second update works. I’ve adjusted mine down to 2 seconds (you can do this in the Settings) and I’ve not had any noticeable difference in battery life on my Nexus 6P.
My longest full day of skiing started at 8:30AM when I was 1st chair for the day and I ended tracking that afternoon at 3PM. It was paused for about 60 minutes during that time for lunch and other breaks. So all in, 5.5 hours of tracking. I started the day with 100% battery and when I finished tracking, I had 22% left. So no doubt, it used up a lot of battery. However, if I compare that to another app that I tested, Ski Tracker, that app flattened my battery after just 3 hours.
The accuracy of the tracking is equally as impressive. On the maps, it is very accurate to the runs I made, even down to the side of the run I took on wide runs. I’ve not had the app fail me in tracking at any point which, at the end of the day, is the point of Snocru.
Conclusion & Recommendation
If you are looking for a solid app to track your skiing or snowboarding, I highly recommend Snocru. It has a wealth of data that it provides, accurate and impressive run tracking, statistics and a great social element. It does all this without abusing your battery so you can still make phone calls at the end of a full day on the hill.
Snocru is free to download and to track your first day. There are some things that you won’t get without subscribing to the service like the density and speed maps. You can do a yearly subscription for $9.99 per year or a season long one for $4.99. More details can be found within the app.