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Enjoy winter travel with these handy iPhone apps

by Megan O'Neil

Bitter winter weather may be tempting you to hibernate until spring, but don’t let great travel opportunities slip away simply because of single digit temperatures or treacherous-looking roads. Armed with the right winter travel apps, you will be cozying up in a fantastic Swiss lodge or whizzing down the slopes at Veil in no time at all. So pull out your sweaters, ski boots and gloves and whatever you do, don’t forget to pack your iPhone!

The winter months are a great time to find cheap flights and hotels. With the Ski Vacation Deals iPhone app (free), you can find top-notch vacation packages too. The app allows users to search by state in the U.S., and by region in Canada and Europe, both known for great skiing. A quick scan of deals in Colorado, for example, produced a package that included one free night at the Keystone Resort.

Some popular destinations have their iPhone apps. Among the best is the Whistler Go-Guide app ($1.99) which includes everything a person could possibly want to know about traveling to Whistler, Canada, one of the most popular winter destinations in North America. Information is nicely categorized by accommodations, off-piste attractions, shopping, and so on.

Once you have booked your trip, you need to make sure you are properly outfitted. The OnTheSnow Gear Guide app (free) lets you browse through thousands of products for winter sports, including everything from snowboards to cross-country skis.

AAA TripTik MobileLive Flight TrackerWinter weather can create travel delays. Keep abreast of your flight status using the Live Flight Tracker app (free). It could save you from wasting precious hours sitting in an airport terminal. And if your mode of transport is automotive, check on road conditions and rest stops using the AAATripTik Mobile app (free).

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There are several useful apps that can help you track snow conditions at your favorite ski resorts too. At the top of the list is The Snow Report (free), by The North Face. This app helps users compile a list of resorts that they frequent, and then provides real-time information about the conditions at that site. Or, you can search for the top 10 resorts that got the most snowfall in the last 24, 36 and 48 hours, and plan your visit accordingly. It also includes an avalanche advisory, searchable by mountains.

Ski TracksPhresheezFor those who like to log their time on the mountain, there is the Phresheez app (free). Using GPS, it tracks your movement on the mountain including speed, incline and difficulty of runs. Similarly, the Ski Tracks app ($0.99) records an entire day of skiing or snowboarding. Run information can be shared with fellow enthusiasts.

No winter vacation would be complete with out a twirl or two on an ice-skating rink. The iLocate - Skating Rinks app ($0.99) is the quickest and most efficient way to find a skating spot close to you. In a matter of seconds, I was provided with four dozen indoor and outdoor options nearby.

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