3 ski enthusiasts create ‘Gaper Day’ game for iPhone, Android | VailDaily.com

3 ski enthusiasts create ‘Gaper Day’ game for iPhone, Android

Ben Harmer, one of the creators of the new "Gaper Day" app, wants to be very clear that the term "gaper" is thrown around in good fun.

"My definition would be a clueless skier who shouldn't be where they are. They tend to be in the way without realizing it," he said. "My message about the gaper is I respect the gaper because at least they're skiing. You're going to find a gaper on the mountain probably right in front of you. They're all across the East Coast and the West Coast, so we always have fun pointing them out."

Rated M for mature, the Gaper Day game is available on Android and soon on iPhone and iPads, as well as desktops. It's a "bare bones" game, Harmer said, and free to download — with occasional 30-second ads.

"You are the gaper and essentially every day is Gaper Day and your goal is to crash into skiers and that's what scores you points," Harmer said. "It's probably the opposite of a normal ski game where it's not about doing tricks and is more about doing damage."

The game is very simple and entertaining for bus rides, gondolas or when your boss isn't looking. As the gaper, you ski down the mountain aiming at jumps, other skiers and beer cans while avoiding snowcats and ski patrol.

"One of the inspirations is it's kind of like 'Grand Theft Auto' on skis. The object is to really be a menace and the style is kind of retro. It's a bit of a throwback to the old 'Yeti' ski game," Harmer said.

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Those that remember Windows 95 might know the retro PC game "Yeti Monster" skiing slalom and free-ski.

Harmer along with two other friends created "Gaper Day." They went to grad school at University of Pennsylvania and have recently focused on making mobile games, with "Gaper Day" being their first.

"We started with this passion for action sports," Harmer said. "We always thought Gaper Day was such a fun day and event, so one day it just sprung up to make a game."

The game's founders call Big Boulder their home mountain in Pennsylvania and for the most part ski on the East Coast. But the game is meant for skiers all over.

"Go out and go skiing, and respect the gaper," Harmer said.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-784-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.