I’m Bill Langlais, President and “Ski. E.O.” of SkiTrak. I’m an avid skier, mapping enthusiast and software engineer. I ski around 65 days a year split between Killington Vermont and Whistler/Blackcomb British Columbia. I founded SkiTrak to provide a product that would enhance the skiing experience by tracking skiing and presenting metrics to help skiers measure how they are doing.
When I became an avid skier, I would wonder just how much do I ski? How fast? How well? How often? And of course, how much time do I wasted on ski lifts?! Being a Software Engineer and a mapping enthusiast I was very interested in combining these interests together to track statistics on my skiing. Ten years ago I tried using a Garmin GPS 40, one of the early hand held GPS’s, to answer these types of questions. Unfortunately I determined the technology was not quite adequate for what I had in mind.
In April of 2004 I discovered the Garmin Foretrex 201. This impressive device appeared to be perfect for the task. It would last over 15 hours on a single charge, would hold over 10,000 track points and could acquire those points as quickly as every two seconds. It also conveniently straps to your arm like a wrist watch and can be worn outside your ski clothes due to its water resistant and durable packaging. It has a small built-in display that can show you the points you have currently tracked, complete with zoom and pan. It also has several screens that can be customized to show you up to four statistics of the many it is capable of such as time, speed, altitude, distance traveled and average speed. After you are done skiing for the day you can download the data into you computer via the included serial cable. All this for a very affordable price. However I found that just downloading the data wasn’t very useful. I wanted the same simplicity of the on-screen display, only carried out for a whole weekend trip, or a whole season, or how ever many seasons I wanted to store. Furthermore, the kind of questions I had required analysis of all that data, conversion to familiar units, grouping into runs and lifts, and tons of clean up.
Since then I have been developing SkiTrak, a program that will collect, store and analyze data from countless days of skiing. It will show you where you skied and can even download free scaled maps* upon which you can display each day of skiing. More importantly, SkiTrak has a built in spreadsheet style data display that delivers answers to all those key questions. All the calculations are done automatically from your GPS data, just select and expand the pre-processed information in a simple grid to get accumulated totals for day, month and season in more than a dozen different statistical categories.
Since the introduction of SkiTrak, I now support the Garmin Forerunner 205, a more accurate device which also comes with the Garmin Training center for tracking other sports, such as running and biking.
“For all ski enthusiasts out there like me who want to know how you are doing, find out with SkiTrak.”
* Free scaled maps are available for the US only and require internet access. These maps are retrieved from TerraServer-USA a free service that is not controlled by SkiTrak and are available on as long as TerraServer-USA makes them available. Other sources specifically for International images are under investigation.