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Ski Buddy: SnowRanger Resort Maps for GPS Recievers

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SnowRanger GPS Map

SnowRanger Ski Map GPS Screen

Photo © Fred Zahradnik

The Bottom Line

A handheld GPS receiver can be very useful on the ski slopes. You can mark important waypoints to make them easy to find, and keep a track log of your ups and downs that you can review later. The SnowRanger map service by Mountain Dynamics takes this concept several steps further, with detailed trail maps for hundreds of major resorts around the world available for download into GPS devices. SnowRanger also features an online service that lets you upload and share (or show off, like the guy who did 70 mph at Durango Resort) your ski track logs and key stats.
Update: SnowRanger has added a dozen new maps for 08/09.

Pros

  • Never get lost at a big ski resort.
  • Track and share your ski day and stats.

Cons

  • Not all resorts covered.
  • Could support more GPS brands and models.

Description

  • Price: U.S. Regional sets, $29.95 each; North America, $74.95; European groups, $44.99, $110.99, or $249.99 for all Europe.
  • Each map shows resort's chairlifts, trails, terrain parks, lodges, roads, parking, tickets, drop-off points and more.
  • Allows uploads of track logs directly from Garmin GPS or accepts standard GPX files.
  • Maps available on memory card, CD, or as an instant download.
  • Available with GPS rental at select Colorado resorts.

Guide Review - Ski Buddy: SnowRanger Resort Maps for GPS Recievers

It's not unusual to get disoriented at a major ski area - even with a trail map in hand - and to be confused about the best way to the next lift, which way to go to meet the family, and where, exactly you are. The SnowRanger map service takes the guesswork out of resort navigation with detailed trail and lift maps ready to download and install in your GPS.

If you ever wondered about how far and how fast you skied, and would be interested in seeing your complete track log overlaying the ski trail system, SnowRanger can do that for you, too.

SnowRanger sells resort maps in regional groups, or by entire countries. For example, the Northeast U.S. set includes maps for 11 major resorts, and the Colorado/New Mexico set includes 18 resorts. Regional U.S. sets sell for $29.95 each, or you can buy all of North America for $74.95. There are more than 420 maps for European resorts, as well.

The SnowRanger maps work with a number of Garmin and Magellan models (see compatibility chart).

With most GPS receivers, download and installation of maps is fairly straightforward and trouble-free if you follow the directions. I downloaded the Northeast mapset into a new Garmin Colorado 400t handheld, which required a little extra file tweaking per instructions on SnowRanger, but I was able to get it working well, and was impressed with the detail and usefulness of the Stowe (Vermont) Mountain Resort map. The maps look great on the Colorado's sharp color display.

SnowRanger's online support is thorough and well-written, includes an online manual, and answered questions that cropped up as I walked through the download and installation process.

My wish list for SnowRanger includes more resorts (check the list carefully before you buy) and support for more GPS brands and models. Overall, the SnowRanger adds an interesting and useful dimension to a ski trip.

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