SkiBuds app connecting skiers, snowboarders based on skill level at over 100 resorts
'Right now, Colorado is probably the biggest market'
From Arapahoe Basin to Alyseka, Alaska; Bogus Basin in Idaho to Beaver Creek; Cypress Mountain in Canada to Copper Mountain; a new community-based app is connecting skiers and snowboarders based on their skill level to help make the on-mountain experience more enjoyable.
The free SkiBuds app lists mountains on the Epic and Ikon passes as well as smaller local resorts across the country to bring skiers and snowboarders together, whether it be to learn a new mountain, to ride the trees safely together on a big powder day or to meet up for après.
“It’s cool seeing more and more people get on it,” said SkiBuds creator Stephen Phillips, who is living in Frisco. “The more people that get on it, the easier it is for someone to find a buddy.”
SkiBuds includes over 100 mountains with individual chats, but with Phillips based in Colorado, most of the following is starting here at local mountains.
“Anytime someone asks me to add in a mountain, I’ll add it,” he said.
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Phillips can be found at Colorado resorts promoting the app. As of Valentine’s Day, he had about 90 days on the hill. The app launched this winter and has over 4,000 users, Phillips said.
“Right now, Colorado is probably the biggest market,” he said.
‘I was on my own’
Phillips grew up in Milwaukee. His family would take ski trips to Keystone starting when he was 3 or 4 years old. He eventually moved to Richmond, Virginia, and did a “little” skiing from there in West Virginia, as well as spending some time in Winter Park. After leaving Richmond, he “became more of a ski bum.”
He lived in Tahoe, California; Alyseka, Alaska; and spent last winter in Whistler, racking up over 150 days on the mountain. He moved to Frisco this winter to promote SkiBuds while working remotely for a health care company.
The idea for the app came from his time at resorts across the U.S.
In 2013 at Winter Park, Phillips realized the importance of skiing with a partner on big powder days.
“I got stuck in a tree well myself,” he said. “I was on my own.”
He thought of the SkiBuds name while in Alaska.
“Sometimes you can’t find someone who’s the same skill level to ride with you or you’re chasing powder and you just don’t know anyone there,” Phillips said.
The chats on the SkiBuds app are busy, especially on weekends, with people coordinating trips to nearby mountains and meet-ups at local resorts. Your profile can include a photo, an “about me” section, gender and age, type of riding and a ski/snowboard option.
“Everything I build in the app is kind of based on suggestions behind it,” Phillips said.