You’ve come to rely on Google Maps to navigate the city streets. Starting in February 2013, they’re going to help you find your way down the slopes. And they’ve already unveiled 38 new trail maps of ski resorts.
Ski hills throughout the nation are joining on, and soon the ubiquitous smart phones will become commonplace on the mountain. In the gondola, on the lift, or standing by a trail sign, lost souls will be finger petting their phones to find their most desired route down.
Is it necessary, you may ask?
The current version of Google Maps ski resorts pales in comparison to James Niehues beautifully rendered trail map illustrations. If you’re not familiar with Niehues’ work, take a careful look at the snowy trees on virtually any ski resorts’ trail map. Niehues has illustrated over 300 resorts throughout the world.
Google’s version is not quite an interactive work of art, yet. You’ll find that the runs are color coded to demarcate their difficulty, and the ski lifts are shown as red dotted lines. Navigation functions like how Google Maps works on the city streets. You click the arrows to move forward or backward, and on some of the most popular runs, there is the “Street View” feature that allows you to look at photos from certain locations.
Given the popularity of their street maps, Google’s ski trail maps seem destined for success. But what do you think: Do you want to rely on your smartphone while you ski?