I’ve talked a lot lately about getting out of our heads and learning to see through the eyes of a normal skiers with normal likes and normal budgets and normal interests.
But that normality also extends to their ability to navigate around a resort.
Many of us don’t realize that the ability to navigate around a new resort and read terrain and know where trails might end up is a thing, but it very much is. Especially for the casual, destination skier who only spends a couple weeks on the mountain each year and, when they do, often does so at a large, new-to-them mountain.
But signage isn’t always easy to spot and trail maps do not always convey the nuance of specific runs. Phones struggle in the cold, trail maps get wet, the list goes on.
That’s not to say none of these things help. They do and are often more than enough. But 6-7 years ago I got to try the Sherpa app that Dwight Eppinger put together at Copper Mountain and saw a really clever, really effective solution to resort navigation: audio.
Turn on your phone, open the app, put headphones or ear bugs on, and put your phone back in your pocket. A little GPS plus some thoughtful audio will help you down the mountain.
And that’s exactly the idea behind a new app called Snonav.
Listen, I get pitched by a lot of app creators and most are searching for a problem instead of solving one. But I’ve been impressed with the concept and execution of Snonav.
Design for larger, destination resorts where lots of folks will be visiting for the first time, I do worry about bit about the source and reliability of their data set. Overall, though, the app is well-designed and, perhaps more importantly, not too overloaded with features which often trips up new apps that try to be everything for everyone.
Early reviews are always a little biased, but no major complaints from users thus far aside from lack of mountains.
One of the best parts about Sherpa was how it was customized by Copper. Literally. Dwight would actually draw geo-tagged outlines on a map and add custom tips to each spot.
So while this app is a great start, it may still lack that personalization I think is necessary at some point given the lack of standardization of…you…know nature. And mountains.
Which is why I waned to write about it. I know a lot of resorts were intrigued by Sherpa, I know a lot of marketers get the importance of resort navigation, and while building an app from scratch is a big lift…well…now there’s a team working on this idea and maybe it’s worth having a quick conversation. Either way, I’m curious to see if this latest attempt gets lags.
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