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iPhone apps and tips for snowed-in TUAW readers


As I write this, snow is falling. That was the view out of my office this morning. Yes, I know it's only October 27th. Yes, I know that winter starts on December 21st. But sometimes in Colorado we get blizzards or major snowstorms in "non-standard" months. We're supposed to get two feet of the white stuff before this storm departs Thursday night.

An IM conversation with Mike R. got me thinking about what iPhone apps could be useful when you're snowed in. Here's my list, and be sure to use the comments section below to leave your ideas.

You're going to be getting a little cabin fever after being stuck in the house a few days, so why not go insane a bit faster? There are a number of snow globe apps for iPhone in the App Store [iTunes Link], so you can shake them up and watch those little virtual snowflakes falling, all while laughing nervously and sharpening that butcher knife.

On a much more positive, happy-thoughts note, how about thinking about where you can go skiing or snowboarding when the roads are cleared and you can actually get the car out of the garage? The first thing you'll want to know are the snow depths at all of your favorite resorts. The US$1.99 Snow Reports [iTunes Link] does exactly that for over 2,000 resorts worldwide. Ski Lodge - Snow Reports [US$4.99, iTunes Link] is similar, but also provides detailed trail maps, directions to the nearest resort, and more.

When you're on the mountain and riding your board, it's always fun to use iTrailMap 3D [US$4.99, iTunes Link] to trace your runs via GPS on a map, then send the map to those obnoxious virtual coworkers who keep sending you pictures of the palm trees swaying outside their San Diego offices.

After a couple of days of snow (we're destined to get 2 feet of snow by Thursday night, and then the winds are supposed to start kicking in), you begin to wonder if you're going to survive being snowed in. Many Coloradans have "snow emergency kits" containing a few days of food, water, and enough charged iPhone batteries to play games and keep from going stir crazy for a while. If you're concerned about surviving in any conditions, The Survival Pocket Reference [iTunes Link, US$0.99] is chock-full of data on shelter, first-aid, and foraging for food. That's provided, of course, that your iPhone remains charged up and you're able to find edible plants under two feet of snow.

By the way, keeping that iPhone charged up might not be too hard with something like the Midland ER102 Emergency Radio [Amazon Link]. Not only does it keep you updated with depressing news about the snowstorm, but you can also charge your iPhone with the hand-cranked power generator and your charging cable.

Perhaps getting out and playing in the snow will make your spirits bright! Of course, there's always the thought of cold, wet clothes, as well as tracking ice and water into the house. So why not have a virtual snowball fight? There's an app for that -- Snowball Fight [$0.99, iTunes Link].

If all this talk about snow is getting you down, I offer one final app to cheer you up a bit. That Beach Channel [US$1.99, iTunes Link] provides a series of beach videos with stereo sound to let you dream about being on a warm tropical beach for a while.

Sure, it might not be snowing at your place now, but be sure to keep these apps in mind if you're in a place where the flakes will fall soon.

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