Baby, it’s cold outside. Like, really cold: frigid temperatures across the U.S. are setting record lows. Luckily, chilly weather tends to arrive with a side of snow. So get out there and take part in seasonal activities, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing or hiking through a winter wonderland. Even if the mercury drops below zero, these inventions will help you seize the day.
Got your sights set on the slopes? Know the conditions before you go with On The Snow. This app relies on GPS to display ski and snow reports in the surrounding mountains, including details about the base pack, fresh snow, open lifts and mountain webcams. Liftopia is a similar app and website that marries mountain conditions with lift ticket deals, helping you book ahead to save big.
If you’re a curious snow bunny, the PeakFinder app can make every run an educational experience. It integrates GPS with augmented reality so that you can point your phone at the mountains and see each peak’s name and elevation. The app works offline and around the world, enriching your knowledge about peaks from the Appalachians to the Himalayas and beyond.
Whether you track your performance on the slopes for personal or professional reasons, there’s an app for that. Trace measures your speed, vertical gains/losses, jumps, calories and more at any ski resort. This app lets you compare and share with anyone so friendly rivalries can light your fire on the mountain.
Looking to meet even more friends? Check out the Yonder app, a social network for outdoor enthusiasts. Yonder fosters a fantastically engaged community of active nature lovers on and off the slopes. Even if you’re not in a social mood, Yonder offers unrivaled discovery capabilities. The app boasts an interactive map with reviews and photos—it’s mostly user-generated, and you can follow your favorite outdoorsmen and women.
It’s nearly impossible to ruin a day spent in the snow-dusted outdoors. The wilderness is proven to boost your mood—just one of nature’s brain benefits—but a buzzing cell phone is its kryptonite. Unplug with the help of the OFFGRID app, which functions like an enhanced “do not disturb” mode. OFFGRID activates with the push of a button, and will automatically notify anyone who tries to reach you that you’re away from your phone (or set a custom message). When you do venture online again, you’ll get a detailed report of what you missed, eliminating any FOMO anxiety.
Fanny packs are wonderful, underrated accessories year-round, but pack a particularly potent punch during winter. Their lower-abdomen placement means that your gadget stays warm, adding hours to its battery life, and this moisture-repellent pack protects your phone from water damage. The zippered enclosure ensures that your devices won’t accidentally slip onto the slope. Plus your phone is easy to reach—the convenient placement means you’ll never miss another call or spontaneous snowy snapshot.
Speaking of batteries…when in the great, frigid outdoors, it’s never a bad idea to carry a backup battery. When energy and daylight are running low, a portable power source is a modern-day superhero. We love the Lifejacket Battery because it carries several full charges for most devices and has a visible power indicator.
You’re never too old for a good old-fashioned snow day. Whether you ring in 2017 with a snowball fight or a black diamond run, go forth and embrace your local winter wonderland.
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.