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WWDC Finds: Slopes

I was at WWDC last week, talking to developers about what they've done and what they're working on. Almost all of the apps I saw were impressive, but I can't write about most of them yet. One that stuck out for me that I can write about is Slopes for iPhone.

Slopes is all about gathering data while skiing and snowboarding. I know it's summer, but this was too good not to write about. There will be an update coming this winter and I'll be sure to post again when it's more weather appropriate. There's still snow on some hills, though, so those in areas where the season hasn't ended yet, heads up!

I'll be honest: I don't get along well with skis and snowboards. Tow ropes and chair lifts hate me. As a Minnesotan, I don't mind snow, but hiking through the forest looking for a ski that ejected while I was tumbling down a steep hill is not high on my list of things to do in the winter. That being said, I have the utmost admiration for people that can carve a slope with ease and really enjoy their days in the powder. This app is for them.

When you start your day, you start Slopes, put your phone in your pocket, and hit the hills. Do your thing all day long, and when you're done, Slopes will have some really cool data for you.

It starts with activity maps showing all of the runs you did. It's well designed, and even puts South at the top of the map, given that most ski hills are North-facing and a standard map configuration is technically upside down to a snowsport viewer.

It detects lifts and even figures out when you're taking a lunch or dinner break, tailoring the data presentation to the schedule you kept.

It will give you stats for each run, including time elapsed, top speed, and distance. The coolest part, though, is the interactive three-dimensional model it creates for your run. It's a cutaway showing the hill, with a heatmap to show you your speed. You can flip it around, rotate it, and gain a full appreciation for your activities.

Slopes even creates a recap image for easily sharing with (or bragging to) your friends. It can also export in GPX and KMZ formats, which makes it interoperable with other apps on both desktop and mobile devices.

Slopes has been out since September of 2013, but it's one of the amazing apps that got mostly overlooked in the App Store machine. As I said before, I'll probably never be able to use it in all its glory myself, but for those who ski/snowboard, this a really great tool you should have!

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