Staying connected on the mountain has become exponentially easier since skiers and snowboarders began carrying smartphones; the aging message whiteboards at the base of lifts are all but extinct.
Yet despite such connectivity, solo travellers to ski towns are still looking for friends to ride with and a streamlined method of finding those people.
Enter Go Snow App, a smartphone app that connects skiers and riders all over the world.
“One of the reasons people don’t do as much skiing and snowboarding as they’d like to is because it can be hard to get their friends together to go on different trips, whether that’s Vancouver to Whistler, Sydney to Jindabyne or for some sort of special event,” said Whistlerite Sean Bellerby, founder and executive director of Go Snow App. “We’re connecting like-minded people in communities to go out and do fun stuff in and around snow sports.”
Go Snow works a lot like dating apps like Tinder by matching skiers and riders through shared friends, interests and locations then allowing text messaging through the app itself. Bellerby was quick to note that the similarities with Tinder end there.
“It is purpose-built for riding,” he said. “We spent a lot of time in the southern (hemisphere) winter interviewing skiers and snowboarders. The Beta version we had prior to the release here was a lot like Tinder. Version two now has been iterated and improved upon. Go Snow is not about connecting people to hook up, it’s about connecting people to do more skiing and snowboarding.”
One of the new features on Go Snow is called “Riding Now,” a status check to see which of your friends are already up riding in the resort. This filters the friends who are free to join the day from those who are working or unable to go skiing, avoiding the usual flood of text messages people send the morning of powder days.
The Riding Now feature is more for skiers and riders with established riding groups such as seasonal workers and regular visitors, but Bellerby is confident that connecting people outside of their usual group will lead to skiers and snowboarders exploring resorts to their own personal potential.
A rising trend of millennials is solo travelling, where travellers meet people as they go for their cultural experiences rather than having a companion at their side for the entire journey.
“When we were building (Go Snow) I met so many people that were heading over to Whistler from Australia on their own,” said Bellerby, who is from Sydney, New South Wales. “Go Snow is perfect for that. It allows people to plan their trip and gather riding buddies before they’ve even left home. The other thing is on the days where you’ve got a foot of fresh snow, if you’re out there pushing the limits in off-piste terrain, you should have a buddy with you. Personally I’m much more likely to push my riding if I’ve got someone with me.”
Go Snow is currently available for iPhone on the App Store and an Android version is under development. With a transient population of visitors and seasonal workers, Whistler is proving to be an effective testing ground for the app.
“It’s the number one (ski resort) in the world,” said Bellerby. “It’s a great spot for testing it out and I love talking to people from within the Whistler community about the project. We’re currently looking for a Chief Technology Officer, so if those type of people are out in the community we’d love to hear from them.”
For more information go to gosnowapp.com.