It may still be in its infancy, but a new smartphone application could prove to be a useful tool for local and visiting snowmobilers alike.
Dubbed SledPilot, it is available as a free download for both iOS and Android operating systems as a resource for snowmobilers, tourism operators and other snowmobile industry builders. The app is designed to provide access to the latest weather, trail grooming updates and local services. It also features an events calendar and the capability for users to share photos.
The app was created by Chris Noseworthy, a programmer and The Western Star’s regional digital advertising specialist for western Newfoundland.
The Western Star has partnered with the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation to provide the information available, including deals from local businesses that are available only through using the application.
Tony Sheppard, the provincial snowmobile federation’s general manager, has the app downloaded on his phone. Since it’s only been available for about two weeks, he said it’s still a little early to have gotten much feedback about it from other sledders.
“It is getting around and I think it is going to be a fairly useful tool,” said Sheppard. “I think it will be well received. A lot of our snowmobilers are relatively young people and the majority of people now have smartphones.”
Local snowmobilers may be well aware of where the good trails are and where they can go to get what they need during their excursions. The maps and local services directory may be more useful to those unfamiliar with the region.
Sheppard said the federation is working with The Western Star to improve the information regarding trail conditions.
“I don’t think we have the trail updates set up perfectly yet, but we are starting to get it going,” he said. “This is the initial season for it and we’ll have a few kinks this year but, by next year, it will be well set up.”
He believes the photo-sharing component will be something that can help improve safe riding for people checking the app or trail conditions.
“If there is a problem on a trail somewhere, then someone could post a photo as a notification,” said Sheppard.
The project started when The Western Star’s advertising team was discussing how to provide a digital pocket map to sledders via their handheld devices. The map was designed by Star Style Studio, a division of The Western Star, and it got incorporated into the app.
Gloria Hunt, The Western Star’s sales manager, said her team is proud to have created an innovative product that can benefit the snowmobiling industry and advertise local businesses at the same time.
“The development of the SledPilot app as a digital version of the pocket map, accessible to snowmobilers through a hand-held device, is a unique solution to reaching the widest number of people possible, whether these snowmobilers are local, provincial or out-of-province,” said Hunt. “The app will prove to be an indispensable resource for snowmobilers.”