Apps and Skiing, an Epic Mix or Should You Pass?

Do you ski with an app? Like to track your skiing vertical on your phone? Vail Resorts claims to have created the most engaging mobile ski app yet – Epic Mix.

From the folks who brought you the Epic Pass – a super savings season pass valid at all Vail's 15 awesome ski resorts, here is an alpine phone app that tracks your vertical skiing, gives you live ski conditions, lift line wait times, shows how your kids are progressing in ski school, where they are on the mountain, and how your race time is compared to Lindsey Vonn. Epic Mix even shows photos of you and your friends that were captured around the mountain, all thanks to your scan-able RFID lift pass at Vail's mega resorts.

I loaded the Epic Mix ski app on a gorgeous blue sky day at Vail. By the way – Vail has tons of snow this season. Here's my honest scoop on the Epic Mix ski app. I'm not big on apps or skiing glued to my phone… I go to the mountains to escape technology, electronics, stats and media. What I like about Epic Mix is you don't even need your phone app turned on. Just sign up, scan your pass, turn off your phone and go ski if that's the way you want to play.

You can check your skiing stats on your phone at the end of the ski day, or the end of the ski season for that matter. If you are engaged with apps, you can check it constantly, earn cool badges, and bragging rights as go, even enter vertical challenges if that's epic to you. I don't love the epic wait feature, I know to avoid lift lines… and I'm not sure that's the best ski resort marketing tool.

As for other ski apps – Trace (formerly Alpine Replay) and Navtronics Ski munch phone data and run down your battery. I like that Epic Mix tracks your ski ticket via RF (radio frequency) as you pass through the lift. You can check your phone for your stats at lunch, even view Epic Mix on your pc anytime, so you don't have to stare at your smart phone all day and miss out on Vail's epic scenery, or Park City's or Heavenly for that matter (all Vail resorts). Of course Vail's Gondola One has Wi-Fi and heated seats, so you can check your vertical in cushy comfort. I liked seeing ho much vert I scored, though my hubby has a vertical altimeter watch, and he tracked more – so the Epic Mix missed a few runs – no biggie.

To me, even better than the free Epic Mix app is the Epic Pass, which for $609 USD ($924 AUD) (with a few holiday restrictions, purchase by April 11 2016 for next season) includes skiing at all 11 epic Vail Resorts, plus bonus days at Verbier Switzerland. With day tickets at Vail and Beaver Creek in the $150 USD ($227 AUD) range, this pass amortises quickly with one trip out west. The Epic Mix app will track your vertical at all them, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City (which now includes Canyons), Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood, Wilmot, Afton Alps and Mt Brighton. It even includes discounted buddy tickets… and frankly I'd rather ski with abuddy and have someone to chat with on the chairlift rides than be glued to my Epic ski app.

See you on the slopes, and stay tuned for more multi-ski resort pass deals like the Max Pass. Though I'm thinking the Epic Pass is a must, for skiing  just Park City and Vail  for a week each. Lift tickets are well over $100 USD ($152 AUD) a day, so at $609 USD ($924 AUD), well, you don't need an app to do the math.