These games and apps for weather, entertainment, cold-weather sports activity and more will help you make the most of your snowy adventures inside and out.
It’s January and much of the world is dealing with the good and bad of mid-winter: freezing temps and icy roads on one hand, and on the other, the stark beauty of the season and adrenaline-filled snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
Whether you prefer to play outdoors in the fluffy white stuff or stay cozy and warm inside, here are some new and recently updated apps to help you brave winter’s bite. Be sure to bundle up!
Snowboard Party ($2.49)
Zoom down the slopes, catch big air and land sick combos with this new Windows Phone 8.1 game. Snowboard Party features eye-popping 3D graphics, 15 unique locations, and your choice of 11 snowboarders and a wide range of boards.
The game’s multiplayer mode means you can play with your friends or challenge riders the world over via online leaderboards. Other features you’ll love include “Halfpipe” (chain multiple tricks in a row for a higher score) and “Big Air” (competitions where riders perform tricks on massive jumps at high speed).
Leki Trek & Ski (free)
No matter your winter sport, this SensorCore-enabled Windows Phone 8.1 app will log your steps and distance, track and map your route, and connect you with other snowboarders, skiers or hikers. The app also features training plans for cross-country skiing, trekking and Nordic walking.
For more info, check out our recent in-depth story about Leki Trek & Ski here.
Whether you’re keeping warm inside or snowshoeing through the woods, this streaming-music service can play a soundtrack best suited for the situation. In addition, the Pandora app for Windows 8 and up (available in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand) just got a nifty update that includes two cool features.
The first is a sleep timer that you can set for five minutes to 50 minutes. Now, you can doze off to your favorite tunes and get your shut-eye.
The second new feature is voice command. With your Lumia equipped with Windows Phone 8.1, tap Cortana, your personal digital assistant, and say “Pandora play” or “Pandora find” and the name of the artist or title of the song you want to hear. (Originally available in the U.S., Cortana is now available via the Lumia Denim update in China and the UK in “beta” and in “alpha” in Australia, Canada India, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.)
For example, I just said, “Pandora, play David Bowie,” and in about two seconds, “Young Americans” started playing. You can also like, dislike, and skip songs, too, via the voice command.
If it’s too chilly for you to go out, Netflix can be a good cold-weather companion. The app, which was recently updated to include Cortana search, profile selection and content pinning, offers a premium, smooth video-watching experience with no hiccups.
Netflix has thousands of titles to choose from and you can search by genre or title or tap one of the “top picks” Netflix compiled based on your viewing history. One feature I like is how I can start watching a show on my TV and resume watching it later on my Lumia when I need a quick break.
There are a number of useful weather apps out there, but one reason why I love this app–recently updated to allow for more customization–is because of its beautiful lock screens and its wealth of useful Live Tile info, such as current temperature, wind speed, and precipitation.
You have your choice of three lock-screen styles and information settings. You can also choose your background image: It can reflect the current weather in your location, display the daily Bing wallpaper, or show a custom image.
Want to learn about even more weather apps for Windows Phone? Check out our story here.
What’s your favorite app among those featured here? Do you have one or two other apps that can help you fully enjoy the winter season?