Ski Bozeman Backcountry Ski App Review


The Ski Bozeman App Is Your Digital Guidebook and Mapping Tool For SW Montana Backcountry Skiing Adventures

There’s a new backcountry ski app that everyone skiing and riding in SW Montana needs to download. It’s called Ski Bozeman and it’s one of the best backcountry ski apps we’ve seen. Imagine all of the information from a backcountry skiing guidebook combined with top of the line, super high-end mapping and smartphone GPS functionality. Yup, this app is cool.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
The Ski Bozeman App

The Ski Bozeman app is the improved and enhanced digital version of Ben Werner’s Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky – a backcountry skiing guide book focused on some of the best ski routes in SW Montana. Werner joined forces with Gneiss Software LLC, creators of the Climb Montana rock climbing guide app, to bring his guidebook to your smartphone.  Now as long as you have your smartphone, you have all the beta and maps that you need – and it’s all just a tap of an app away.

Don’t let the app’s name fool you. The Ski Bozeman app covers much more terrain than just the immediate Bozeman area. There are routes in the Absaroka Range, Beartooth Mountains, Bridger Range, Greater Gallatins, Hyalite Canyon, and Madison Range. It covers classics like Beehive Basin, Mount Blackmore, The Fin, The Sphinx, Telemark Meadows, and so much more. In total there are 25 detailed routes covered in extensive detail.

When you open the app, you can select a mountain range. You’ll immediately get a brief synopsis of the range, then a list of the routes from that range. Each route has a quick summary, vertical, elevation gain, and distance. Tap the route and you’ll get all the info you need for your next mountain adventure.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky

You can also link directly to the GNFAC avalanche report while you have phone signal or WiFi. Always subscribe to the GNFAC avalanche report and read it daily, so you know what conditions are like. If you receive it in your email,  it will also then save in your email folder on your smartphone in case you want to consult it while on the trail to refresh your memory.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Hyalite Canyon Area Routes

Each route has an Overview, Avalanche Information, Stats, Getting There, Notes, Waypoint Guidance, and a detailed photo. Beyond the text, you can also get driving directions, open the route on Google Earth, and view the route via a high quality map.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Mt. Blackmore Route
Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Important Stats
Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Options and Photos

Opening the route on Google Earth is super cool – especially on a larger screen phone or iPad. It gives you a 3D image for you to help identify additional route information, avalanche paths, and other terrain landmarks. The waypoints for the route are also included on the Google Earth version. It is possible to airdrop the KMZ files to your Mac too. We’ve never seen this sort of seamless connectedness in a ski app before and it’s fantastic for visualizing your day.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Google Earth w/ waypoints

Tap on the driving directions and your smartphone will auto direct you to the trailhead – giving you play-by-play directions via your smartphone’s mapping function. No more guessing what dirt road to turn down. You’ll get very specific directions leading you to the perfect trailhead/parking area. It’s never been easier to start your day off right – especially on those dark, winter time alpine starts.

While all of the above features make the Ski Bozeman app outstanding, it’s the incorporated maps that set this app in a league of its own. The terrain resolution is approximately 33 feet, which is incredibly accurate. Each route has it’s own map complete with waypoints (Lat/Long), so it’s easy to make sure you’re on route. The map is color coded to help you identify slope angle – a huge bonus for route planning and avalanche terrain identification. It also notes trails, roads, creeks, contour lines, and lakes. But it gets better – if you think you’re off route, turn on your phone, open the app and use the smartphone’s GPS to help you identify exactly where you are on the map.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Route Map
Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky
Super detailed mapping

The Ski Bozeman app is the perfect route planning tour for your next ski adventure. It’s an app that everyone needs to buy and use. The mapping is outstanding and the guidebook information is an excellent starting point for both rookies and veterans of SW Montana backcountry skiing.

Ski Bozeman App - Backcountry Skiing Bozeman and Big Sky

I’ve been playing around with the Ski Bozeman app quite a bit so far this season and I’m excited to see more people get their hands on the app. A few things I’ve noted are that the app is quite large. Currently it is 396 MB, so make room on your phone! The size is large because it includes the detailed maps that make this app one of a kind.

The mapping is first class and is an excellent tool for route finding, but it is limited to the 25 routes in the app. This means the mapping part of the app can’t be used to explore other zones yet – but we expect the app will grow in the future to include new routes, which will be great for the SW Montana mountain community.

Smartphones are valuable tools in the backcountry. There is an app for just about everything – tilt meters, mapping tools, GPS functionality, note taking apps, guidebook beta, etc. . The potential is endless, but relying on a smartphone at all times can be a problem.  Smartphones are electronics, signals fade, batteries die – especially in the cold in mountainous terrain. Bring it with you and use it, but know its limits.

The other important thing to note about smartphones is that they have the potential to interfere with avalanche beacons. It’s important to turn your phone off and to keep it a certain distance (17 inches) from your beacon at all times while in backcountry terrain. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use your phone to its full potential – just turn it on when you’re in safe zones.

That being said, use the Ski Bozeman app responsibly and it will be one of the best resources for your SW Montana backcountry adventures. Be safe out there.

Beehive Peak
Beehive Basin

The Ski Bozeman app will be available on all iOS devices. It will be approximately 396 MB. The size is due to the detailed maps. Currently, the Ski Bozeman app will cost $24.99 per year or $4.99 per month. This seems pricy, but there are plans to expand the app in the future to include additional routes, maps, and huts. You can download the app and get 3 free routes so you can see how useful this app will be for your backcountry ski adventures. You’ll buy it. It’s well worth the price.

Overall the Ski Bozeman app is a huge bonus for anyone skiing in the mountains of SW Montana. We’d love to see this type of digital guidebook and high quality maps for more of our favorite ski zones around the world. Until then, we’re stuck with normal old backcountry skiing guidebooks for those zones. Once you download the Ski Bozeman app, stop by here and share your experiences in the comments below.

Download Ski Bozeman App via iTunes (will update link when becomes available).

See you in the backcountry. Be safe and have fun.