Backcountry App/Websites

We want to collect Apps and Websites that we find useful, for everything from preparation to when you are out in the backcountry. Getting correct and up to date information is very important and can be the reason between life and death.

We are going to spilt the app/websites into the countries they are relevant to. Also we will have a world-wide category with app/website that can be used in multiple countries. This way you can easily scroll down and find the country there is relevant for you.

 

World-wide  

Fatmap:

Free with possibility to upgrade to a paid version with more features.

Fatmap is a 3D map that includes most of the world. It is full of tours and freeride runs, so you can get ideas of where to go and information about the tour. Available online and on both iOS and Android Appstores.

You can choose what activities you want to do on the map, so if you are planing on going ski touring you can add ski touring as the activity and it will show you all the ski tours available on the map in the area you are looking at. You can also add freeride runs, so if your are free riding in a new ski resort, you can study a bit of the terrain before getting there, making sure you don’t waste the first day learning where the cool terrain is.

You can also add a few filters for free

  • Gradient
  • Aspect
  • Elevation
  • Distance
  • Avalanche
  • Flats

By using these layers you can easily compare your route to the avalanche bulletin and see if you are going to be in a safer area or not. Being able to see the mountain in 3D can also help your navigation when getting into the mountains, as you already have an idea of how it is going to look like.

Most people use topography maps to plan their tours. We also recommend to do this and bring the maps on the tour. They can be difficult to read however and are scaled 1:25000 or 1:50000, which can make it difficult to see how some areas looks like since it is too small on the map, so using Fatmap and the topography map together makes it possible for you to find the same spot in Fatmap and zoom in for a closer look.

 

The Explore membership is only 29.99 Euros a year. 

With an Explore membership you get access to even more features on the map

  • Topographic map overlay in some countries + a global one
  • Custom map overlay
  • Unlimited offline map downloads
  • Snowlayers: Snowdepth, Fresh snow and Snow forecast
  • Live resort status
  • Member privileges from partners
  • A contribution to a better planet through POW (Protect our winters) and 1% For The Planet.

 

Being able to connect Fatmap with tracking apps gives you the possibility to track your tour and place it onto the map for yourself to see it. You also have the opportunity to share your tour on the Fatmap app to other users, so they can see it and maybe even do the same tour as you.

Fatmap has made an app call Fattrack, where you can track your tour. It has gps coordinates, compass and an altimeter there which can help you navigate on your tour.

Fatmap can also connected with the following tracking apps:

  • Garmin
  • Suunto
  • Life Pass
  • Strava

 

Fatmap is available on their website or as an app on iOS & Android

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

 

EAWS:

Free

avalanches.org is the official website for European Avalanche Warning Service. They have created an interactive map covering avalanche bulletins around the world, so you can easily find the avalanche bulletin you are looking for. With a few clicks you are directed to the local avalanche bulletin in the area you want.

European Avalanche Warning Services collect up to date information on what is happening in the current season, with information about numbers of fatalities that have occurred in different countries due to avalanches. According to their website they record an average of 100 fatalities every year in Europe. This is why they have made it a goal to spread avalanche awareness and knowledge to help reduce the loss of lives.

You can also find avalanche knowledge, with information such as

  • Avalanche Danger Scale
  • Avalanche Problems
  • Avalanche Size
  • Information Pyramid
  • EAWS Matrix (Objective avalanche danger scale)

With a more in-depth description of the avalanche problems they hope to give the backcountry skiers and snowboarders a better understanding of the snowpack and help make smarter decisions in the backcountry - saving lives by knowledge and awareness.

You can find EAWS on their website.

 

SnowSafe:

Snowsafe is an avalanche forecast app that collects avalanche bulletins from a number of different countries in Europe making it super easy for you to find the avalanche bulletin of where you are going. It is available in 6 different languages, with a few being English, German and Italian.

Snowsafe still doesn’t have all the avalanche bulletins in Europe yet, but they are working hard to be able to cover all of Europe. At the moment you can use Snowsafe for the following regions:

  • LWD Vorarlberg
  • LWD Tirol
  • LWD Steiermark
  • LWD Salzburg
  • LWD Oberösterreich
  • LWD Niederösterreich
  • LWD Kärnten
  • LWD Bayern
  • PVA Alto Adige / LLB Südtirol
  • Agencija Republike Slovenije za Okolje
  • Stredisko Lavinovej Prevencie - Slovensko
  • Varsom Norge

 

All these regions are placed onto an interactive map, where you can easily find your location, or the location you are going to, and get the avalanche bulletin for the day. You even have the possibility to look at 5 days back to see how the avalanche bulletins have changed through out the week, giving you an even better idea of what condition you are going to meet in the backcountry. 

The app is very easy to use and you can really feel that they have been focusing on making the avalanche bulletin simple and easy to read. It provides you with the information you need to plan your tour, makes the avalanche bulletin available offline as soon as it is updated and send you warnings if the bulletin is updated during the day helping you to stay safe.

The only thing we found negative about the app is that not every avalanche bulletin is translated into the 6 languages available, which means that if you want to read the avalanche bulletin in Norway then there is a chance that you only can read the details about the bulletin in Norwegian.

Overall Snowsafe is a great app that makes it easy to find the avalanche bulletin and simple to read.

Snowsafe is available on iOS & Android

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

 

YR.no:

Free

YR.no is a Norwegian weather forecasting app and website that we have found really precise in Europe and is one of our most trusted sources to collect weather information from. The website and app both work in English and Norwegian, so you don’t have to be afraid that you need to speak Norwegian to use YR. We always take 2 or 3 weather forecasts and compare to get the most exact weather forecast, but we keep on finding Yr the most precise. 

Using the Yr app or website it is possible to get the weather forecast of specific peaks in the mountains, so whichever peak you are going to, you can most likely look it up and get a forecast for that peak giving the best data to use for your preparation. 

The forecast is set up to you have a 10-day overview where the first 4-days can be split into hourly updates. where you get information like temperature, wind, day-light, rain in mm. As a rule of thumb 1mm of rain is 1cm of snow, but this all depends on the storm and the location etc.

YR.no is available on their website or as an app on iOS & Android

Download on the App Store  Get it on Google Play

 

Switzerland

SLF - White Risk:

Free with possibility to upgrade to a paid version with more features.

SLF is the official Swiss avalanche forecaster and has been responsible for avalanche forecasting on behalf of the Swiss federal government since 1945. SLF has created a platform for their avalanche forecasts called White Risk, which is what we will mainly focus on here. 

White Risk include the following features:

  • Avalanche Bulletin
  • Avalanche Knowledge (Including e-learning)
  • Map Planning of your tour both on website and in app.
  • Topographic maps with slope angle layers, available for Switzerland (Swisstopo), France (IGN) and Austria (BEV)
  • Download maps offline in the app

 

The avalanche bulletin is shown on an interactive map over all of Switzerland, that is split into different regions depending on the forecast. With a simple tap on the region/area you want, the forecast will change for you so you can get a more detailed description of the forecast with information about what altitude, aspect etc you need to watch out for. The bulletin is updated 2 times a day, at 8am and 5pm. The update at 5pm gives you an idea of how the next day is going to look, making it easier for your to plan your next tour. In the morning you just have to check the new avalanche bulletin and see if it matches your expectations or if you need to change your plan.

 

SLF have have done a good job of creating the Avalanche knowledge section of the app. On the website you can learn about avalanches and test yourself on your knowledge. It's a good idea to refresh your knowledge every year. Going through the online classes it is also explained how to read the avalanche bulletin so you understand exactly what everything in the bulletin means when you are reading it. (Online knowledge is not a substitute to an on snow avalanche course, but is a great way to get even better understanding of what you have been learning on your avalanche course) 

 

Planning of your tour is also available in the White Risk app on the topographic map. The 1:50000 scale topo maps in switzerland includes ski tour and snowshoe routes, which is also available in the app, so you can easily follow the recommended tours or you can create your own tour. Using overlays like slope angle, wild life areas etc, you can easily plan your route around the dangers and restricted areas making your planning easy. It also calculates distance, ascent, descent and expected time for you. Using the option to download the map on your phone offline means you don’t need to worry about cell reception in the backcountry.

 

To find the avalanche bulletin on the website go to SLF and for online knowledge and e-lessons go to White Risk. In the White Risk app, there is available on Android or iOS you can find bulletin, e-learning, tour planing and much more.

White Risk is available on iOS & Android 

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

 

Swiss Topo Map:

Free with possibility to upgrade to a paid version with more features.

Swisstopo is replacing the earlier Swissmap with new and better features 

Swisstopo is the officially creator of Swiss topographic maps and they have collected all their paper maps into one app so you don’t have to play with multiple maps when planing your tour. In the app you can find all national maps from the scale of 1:10 000 to 1:1 million, making it possible for you to zoom in real close when planing your route. 

Swiss Topo Map Features:

  • Swiss National Maps (scale 1:10 000 to 1:1 million
  • Arieal Images
  • Panorama Mode
  • Tour Planning
  • Smart Drawing
  • Download map offline

Swiss topo has included their snowsports map that features ski and snowshoes tours. This way you can easily plan your tours after the recommended tours or you can create your own. Swisstopo has introduced a feature called smart drawing that helps you draw your route fast and easy, matching the landscape and staying out of the avalanche terrain, so you don’t have to make every little turn when drawing your route. When you have drawn the route the app will automatically calculate the distance, ascent, descent, time and give you the option to download the gps data for the tour as well as the section of map that you need. 

You can always find your location displayed on the map no matter which map your are on. The coordinates and elevation data of your current locations are always known and easy to locate if needed in a rescue scenario.

This will also make it easy for you to know which mountain is which when you are in the backcountry, but Swisstopo map have made it even easier for you to know this by adding panorama mode. The app gains access to your camera, so you can point the camera towards the mountains and then the summits will be labelled in the camera image.

Swiss Topo Map is available on their website or as an app on iOS & Android 

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

  

Meteo Swiss:

Free

Meteo Swiss is the official weather forecaster in Switzerland. On their website and in the app you can find the weather forecast from 3-hour split up to 6-day overview. This is where you can find wind, temperature, daylight, hazards with avalanche bulletins from SLF/WhiteRiske, cloud coverage etc. 

Meteo Swiss has weather stations located down the valley, on the peaks and close to many of the SAC-huts in the Swiss mountains giving you access to the most correct forecast for the peak you are touring to.

Meteo Swiss is available on their website or as an app iOS & Android

 Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

 

 

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