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Frequently Asked Questions about Powder Project

General

What is Powder Project?

REI's Powder Project is a crowd-sourced trail guide and mapping resource built by outdoor enthusiasts just like you! Contributors add GPS tracks, detailed descriptions, photos, gems, ratings, and comments to bring you an extensive guide to trails around the world, with more added and reviewed by skiers like you every day. We've compiled all of this information online for easy research before you hit the road and as a mobile app to help you navigate while on trail.

Why does REI provide these sites?

At REI, we believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived. REI provides this free guide to the outdoors as part of our commitment to inspiring, educating, and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.

Is this really free?

Yes! The website and mobile apps are completely free.

How is Powder Project different from other sites?

While Powder Project’s information comes from our amazing contributors, the Powder Project content team reviews every trail, hike, gem, photo, and symbol that is submitted. This means that you can be certain that you're accessing the most popular skis with the most accurate data available. We strive to map trails in their entirety like you would find them on a printed map, and featured skis are intended to highlight the best routes in a given area. Our goal is to create a guidebook-quality resource to help inspire and outfit our community to explore the outdoors with confidence.

How do I get free stickers?

Spruce up your gear with free stickers!

How to Use the Powder Project Website

How are your skis rated?

Easy

Easy/Intermediate

Intermediate

Intermediate/Difficult

Difficult

Extremely Difficult: rocky; extremely steep; falls could be unstoppable and deadly


The difficulty icon for each ski line is located to the left of the ski line name, and the color of the line on the map is also associated to the ski line's difficulty with green = easy, blue = intermediate, and black = difficult.

How are your star and difficulty ratings calculated?

Overall, star and difficulty ratings are calculated as an average of all the votes for a given ski. Enjoyment and perceived difficulty can differ from person to person, so the rating system is designed to give you a sense of the communities' overall opinion of a trail. You can see the breakdown of individual ratings by clicking the "Full Details" link in the "Ski Ratings" section. Don't forget to add your own vote too! Just Look for the "Rate This Ski" box on the Ski page.

Is the mileage shown for a trail or ski point-to-point or round-trip?

To determine the mileage for a given trail or ski look for the green start point and red end point markers on the map. The mileage listed corresponds to the distance between the start and end points. Most trails will indicate point-to-point mileage. Loop trails or out-and-back featured skis may indicate round-trip mileage with the start and end point being at the same location.

How do I toggle between metric/imperial units?

Hover over any of the numbers on the trail stats next to the map, and click once the "Toggle metric / imperial" pop-up is displayed.

What are map base layers and how do I toggle between them?

The map base layers are the different background maps on which the trails and skis are overlaid. The four base layers offered are Terrain, Satellite, Neotreks, and OSM. In order to toggle between the different base layers, click the map icon in the lower left-hand corner of the map and select the base layer you would like to use.

Terrain offers a topographical overview of the area. Satellite presents a satellite image of an area. Neotreks is a compilation of data from National Forest, National Park, BLM, and State Park maps with local recreation areas and user community data. Depending on the area, Neotreks may outline trails and OHV tracks in addition to roads like the Terrain and Satellite layers. OSM or Open Street Maps is a crowd-sourced compilation of trail line data from around the world.

How do I update conditions?

Head to any Ski Line or Approach page and look for the "Conditions" section underneath the trail map. Click the "Update Conditions" link and fill out the form to update the trail conditions.

How can I download a GPS track?

Look for the "GPS File" link to the right of the trail summary. Click this to download a .GPX file of the trail which you can then upload or save to another device.

What is a check-in and how do I add one?

Check-ins help you keep track of where you have been and what you have done. You can add a check-in for any ski line or ascent. Look for the "Rate Featured Ski Line" box on the trail page and click the "Add a Check-in" button. All check-ins are saved to your personal profile for future reference, and are added to the list of public check-ins on the ski line or ascent page.

How can I add or remove a to-do from my to-do list?

You can add a ski line or approach to your to-do list by clicking the "Add To-Do" button on the approach or ski line page. To-dos will show up on your personal profile and are a great way to keep track of ski lines that you'd like to complete. If you would like to remove an aproach or ski line from your to-do list, head to back to the approach or ski line page and click the "On Your List" button to remove the to-do item.

How can I message other contributors through the site?

You can directly message any other member of Powder Project Project by clicking the "Contact" button on their profile page. They will be able to message you back respond directly to you via email. Responding directly to a message via email will share your email address with the person who contacted you.

How to Use the Powder Project Mobile App

Should I enable location services when I download the app?

Yes! Enabling location services will allow the app to determine your location in order to show you the best trails that are nearby. Also for iOS devices, you will have the ability to track your own skis by enabling location services. If you did not enable location services when initially downloading the app, you should be able to update your location services preferences under your device's general settings.

How do I download, update, or delete areas?

With location services enabled, the state where you are currently located should download automatically when you first install the app. To download new areas, navigate to the "Areas" section by clicking on the menu icon. Once in the "Areas" section, you will be able to download, update, and delete areas. To delete an area, tap "Edit" at the top of the screen and select the areas you would like to delete.

What do the black number clusters on the map mean?

The black number clusters indicate the number of trails found in a certain area. As you zoom in on the map, the numbers will break into clusters with smaller values as some trails are no longer in view. The numbers don't correspond to any ranking or organization of a trail list or network, but are rather a visual guide to highlight areas of trail density.

How do I select a trail and view more details?

Either tap on the line on the map or click "Trail List" at the bottom of the screen to display a list of all the current viewed trails organized by rating. Selecting a trail will highlight it on the map and provide a summary of the trail at the bottom of the screen. Tap or pull the trail name up to display a detailed description and more information. From this view, you can also check-in, add a to-do, update the conditions, or add a star and difficulty rating.

How can I get driving directions?

Parking symbols will provide you with driving directions. Tap on a "P" symbol on the map, and the driving directions will open in your phone's default mapping app. Drive-up camping symbols and visitor center symbols will also provide driving directions similar to parking symbols.

How is Ski Line difficulty rated in the app?

Difficulty ratings follow a color coded difficulty rating scale. The difficulty scale ranges from easy to extremely difficult with the associated difficulty icon as follows:

Easy

Easy/Intermediate

Intermediate

Intermediate/Difficult

Difficult

Extremely Difficult: rocky; extremely steep; falls could be unstoppable and deadly

Where can I find the map legend?

The map legend is located in the app menu. From the main screen, click the menu icon to expand the sidebar menu.

How can I find my current location and skis near me?

Tap the small arrow in the upper corner of the map to orientate the map to your current location and explore nearby ski lines.

How can I change the map base layer?

To switch from one map base layer to another, tap the mountain icon on the map. The map base layer will change from a satellite image to a terrain base map. Changing the map base layer can be a beneficial way to see more about the terrain that a ski line covers or to see the type of land cover that a ski line moves through.

How can I add to-dos or check-ins?

Navigate to the ski line you want to add to your list. Once you've pulled up more details about the line, look for the options at the top of the ski line description that allows you to add a Check-In, To-do, Rate, or Share. Your check-ins and to-dos will be saved to your profile.

How can I record a track in the mobile app? (iOS only)

From the main screen, click the menu icon to expand the sidebar menu. Under your profile, there are three options. Select "GPS Tracks / Record". This will take you to a page where you can view your recorded tracks and record a new track. Note that for this function to work, you will need to make sure that your location settings are set to "always" so that the app can continuously record the track.

How can I convert my recorded track into a ski line or approach? (iOS only)

If you want to publish you recorded GPS track to our database, head to the Powder Project website and click on your profile icon and select the "Your Profile" link from the drop down. Once on your profile page, you will see a list of your recorded tracks. Select the GPS track that you'd like to make public. On the next page, you will have the option to "Share on Powder Project". Clicking that button will take you through the steps for adding a new ski line. Note that you will not be able to publish your track directly from the mobile app.

How can I change my app settings?

From the main screen, click the menu icon to expand the sidebar menu and select "settings". Once on the settings page, you will have the option to change from metric to imperial units, choose whether to display photos or trail names on the map, and log out of your profile.

Does the app really work offline?

Yes! Even without cell service, you'll be able to see the trails and your location on the map. If you know you'll be taking the mobile app off the grid soon, you'll have an even better experience if you take a moment to scan around that area before going offline. This will allow the app to cache the background map. The ski lines and approaches will display clearly whether you take this extra step or not, and you should always be able to see a blue dot indicating your exact location on the map.

How often is the data in the app updated?

The mobile app will automatically check for new data every two weeks based on your date of install. The data is updated weekly on Friday evenings. If you want to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information in your pocket for the weekend, you can delete and reinstall that area after the weekly update. Otherwise, your app will automatically update every two weeks.

Can I add ski lines, photos, or reviews from the mobile app?

At the moment, you will not be able to add ski lines, photos, or reviews in the mobile app. You will need to head to the website in order to add photos and ski lines to the site.

My Profile

How can I create a profile?

You can create a profile using either your Facebook account or your email address and a password. If you choose Facebook, we'll never post for you and any communication from us will be directed to the email address that is linked to your Facebook account.

What should I do if I didn't receive a verification email?

When setting up your profile, you will need to verify your email. Sometimes the verification emails are accidentally filtered into a junk or spam folder. Check your spam folder to see if the email ended up there. If you are still unable to find the confirmation email, reach out to us at content@adventureprojects.net, and we will help you to confirm your account.

What does my point total mean?

Points are accumulated as you contribute content to the site. A breakdown of your points total can be found on your profile page.

How can I change my profile photo or edit my profile information?

On the website, click on your profile icon. Select "Your Profile" from the drop-down menu. From your profile page, you'll find the "Edit Profile" link just below your profile picture. This will allow you to edit your name as it appears on the site, your location, other interests, favorites, and club membership, as well as allow you to update your profile picture. Just be sure to hit "Save" once you are finished editing!

How can I update my email address?

On the website, click on your profile icon. Select "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu. From the account settings page, you'll be able to change your email address.

How can I reset my password?

On the website, click on your profile icon. Select "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu. From the account settings page, you'll be able to send a password reset email.

How can I delete or merge my profile?

If you'd like to delete your profile or merge two existing profiles, send us an email at content@adventureprojects.net with information on the account(s) that you would like to be deleted or merged.

How do I change my notification settings?

On the website, click on your profile icon. Select "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu. On the account settings page, look for the check box under the Emails section to turn on or off notifications for new comments on your trails and photos.

How can I opt-in or opt-out of the newsletter?

On the website, click on your profile icon. Select "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu. On the account settings page, look for the check box under the Emails section to opt-in or opt-out of the newsletter.

Can I show that I am a member multiple local clubs on my profile page?

First, kudos for your involvement with the local trails! For now, you can only be a member of one local club on our site. Choose wisely and stay tuned for possible changes.

Stewardship and Advocacy

What are sanctioned vs. unsanctioned ski lines?

As part of our commitment to showcasing the highest quality content, we have decided to only add ski lines that are sanctioned by the land manager or land owner. Sometimes, areas may have "secret" lines or lines that are used but on private or unsanctioned land. While we understand that these lines may technically seem open and accessible, we don't want to showcase them as this may encourage their continued use. Instead, we strive to only show lines that are on public land or sanctioned by land owners as we believe this will help preserve access to and promote the respect of these areas. If you are unsure about whether or not a ski line is sanctioned, there are a few options. Reaching out to the land manager, asking the local park ranger, or email content@adventureprojects.net.

What resources do you have for organizations / clubs / race directors?

In addition to club pages and links to land manager websites that can be added to trail and ski line pages, we offer a completely free and customizable widget that can be used to showcase ski lines or an event on your own website. More information about the widget can be found here.

What partners / organizations have you worked with in the past?

Adventure Projects has previously partnered with IMBA and has worked with land manger organizations such as the USFS, BLM, and US Fish and Wildlife Service to help showcase trail systems on these public lands. We have also worked with local clubs, State Parks, non-profits, and tourism boards.

What is REI's policy on stewardship?

REI is actively involved in the preservation and promotion of public lands. The Co-op has given more than $77 million over the last few decades to various organizations to support the stewardship of these public resources. We believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived and that being stewards, protectors, and caretakers of the places where everyone can recreate is a vital part of our mission.

Content Quality Standards

Where do you get your data?

All of the content that is added to the site is user-generated. Crowd-sourcing our data means that we are able to provide the most accurate information directly from the local experts who regularly ski the lines that they add to our database. Sometimes we partner with land managers, local clubs, non-profits, or guidebook authors to gather this data as well, but more often, the data is added by passionate individuals eager to share the word about their favorite lines.

What does crowd-sourcing mean?

Crowd-sourcing means that the members of our sites are also the primary contributors. Anyone who has a Powder Project account can add ski lines, approaches, and photos to the website. Members can also rate and comment on lines and photos, update ski line conditions, post to the forums, and improve existing lines and approaches. Powder Project is a community built resource for folks just like you!

How does Powder Project review submissions?

All of the content that is added to the site is reviewed by our full-time team of trail content editors. A team of mapping nerds and passionate outdoor adventurers, they do their best to ensure that we have the highest quality information and most accurate data. During the review process, they may reach out to you with questions, comments, or feedback so don't be surprised if you receive an email from them regarding a submission! For all submissions, two reviewers must approve the content before it is fully published for the website. Once fully approved, the ski line will be added to the mobile app by the end of that week.

How long does this review process take?

Typically, allow five to ten business days for a submission to be reviewed and approved. If your submission requires immediate attention, send us an email at content@adventureprojects.net.

How detailed should my description be?

The more detailed you can make your description, the better! When writing a line description, think about how you would describe the line to a friend—they are going to want to know all the details and exactly what you thought of the line! Details like what you are likely to see along the way, any notable turns, the avalanche hazards (triggers, etc.), the best time to hit the line, decision points, and any insider tips or recommendations are all great to include.

What kind of photos should I add?

We love to see action photos of people, scenic vistas, and photos of interesting features along the trail. Try to avoid selfies, groups standing around, or any signs, parking lots, or maps. Photos should be least 600 x 600 pixels, and preferably high resolution.

What should I know about copyrighted material?

For copyright reasons, we ask that you do not copy any text or photos directly from another website, print resource, or other publication. We want to respect copyrighted material, and we would rather hear about the experience in your own words anyway! If you know the original author or photographer, and they have given you permission to use the text or photos on Powder Project, please have them send us an email at content@adventureprojects.net explicitly stating that they have granted you permission to use their material.

Troubleshooting

Why is the mileage for a line not matching the mileage shown on my GPS device?

If the mileage from your GPS device doesn't exactly match what we have on the website, GPS inaccuracy may be to blame. Each device measures distances slightly differently, which might account for the difference. Additionally, if you added a very long line using a highly precise device, our site may pare down some of the GPS points to save space and ensure a quick load time. While the site will never cull major points, sometimes small switchbacks can be lost, resulting in a small discrepancy in the mileage.

My text didn't save, can I recover it?

If you've lost your text data, try immediately using the "Back" button on your browser to return to the previous screen. Sometimes this will recover your text. However, if that doesn't work there isn't much more that can be done.

Why can't I submit a line?

If the save button doesn't seem to be working, it is likely because you are missing a required field such as star or difficulty rating. Scroll back through the page to see what is missing, and then save the line again once this item is added. You'll also need to add a photo to all ski lines. The system will not let you proceed with submitting your ascent or ski line until it has these required items.

What should I do if I there is an issue with the mobile app?

Before reaching out, please delete and reinstall the app to see if that fixes the problem. If there was trouble with the initial download, reinstalling the app will sometimes resolve the issue. If you're still having problems, contact us!.

Why isn't my new line appearing in the mobile app?

Only fully approved lines will appear in the mobile app. This cuts down on download time, and also reduces clutter for users who are already looking at a lot of line data on the mobile app. If your ski line is incomplete, in progress, or under admin review it won't show up in the mobile app until it is fully approved. You will receive a notification on the website once your line has been fully approved which typically takes about five to ten business days. Ski data updates are sent to the mobile app on Friday. Our recommendation is to update the app on Friday evening, and if the line still does not appear, let us know.

In the mobile app, why can I see lines on the map, but not the underlying map tiles?

When using the mobile app, if you do not have network service or a wifi connection, the map tiles may not load. Due to the size of Google maps base tiles, we do not download all of the map tiles when the rest of the trail data is downloaded. The app will cache recently viewed map tiles for a period of time. If you know you'll be taking the mobile app offline, you'll have a better experience if you take a moment to scan around that area in order to download and cache the map tiles. You'll then be able to view the map tiles in the background when offline. The lines will display clearly whether you take this extra step or not.

Adding Data to the Map

What is a ski line vs. an ascent/approach?

An approach/ascent is how you get to the skiing. It's mostly uphill. A ski line is the actual skiing. It's got to actually descend and should mostly be downhill.

How can I record a GPS track?

A GPS track can be recorded on any GPS-enabled device such as a Garmin watch or smartphone app such as the Powder Project App for iOS (GPS tracking is not currently available for Android). Just head out and be sure to record the full route in order to be able to add it to the site after your ski! Strava and MotionX are apps that we like.

How can I add a line from another GPS source?

If you recorded your track using another app or device, you will need to export a .GPX, .KMZ or .KML file of the track to your computer in order to upload it to the site. Once you have downloaded this file from your other device, simply click the "Share Your Trails" link in the drop down under your profile icon, and select "Share a...". You can then upload your file.

How can I manually edit GPS points?

GPS points can be manually edited either by hand or using the "Crop Route" slider bar located at the top of the edit GPS page (link found above the map on the ski line edit page). The slider bar will crop the start or end of the track. Manually editing the GPS points will allow you to move single points in the track. Additionally, you can delete points on the track by holding the "d" key and hovering your mouse over the points you want to delete.

How can I reverse the direction of a track?

From the ski line edit page, click the "Edit the GPS points" link. On the next page, look for the button under the slider bar above the map that says "Reverse Direction".

How do I add a new club or land manager?

If you don't see the appropriate club or land manager on the drop down list, you can add it to the drop down list by clicking the link to add a new club or land manager. In addition to the club / manager's name, you will need to provide a URL for the official website and a location for the club / manager. The more specific you can be the better! An admin will review this requested addition and add the club / manager to our drop down list as soon as possible.

How do I change the location of a ski line?

Ski lines will automatically be associated to the closest town in our database. If this is incorrect, you can change the location by selecting the correct location from the drop-down list of the nearest towns. This drop-down is located underneath the map on the ski line edit page. If you don't see the city/town you are looking for on this drop down list, send an email to content@adventureprojects.net so we can add it to our database. Note that "area" and "location" are different. Areas are created by Powder Project admins and adhere to a parent-child hierarchical structure. If a ski line is associated with the wrong area, email content@adventureprojects.net with the ski line URL and the area you'd like it to be associated with.

How can I make sure that my edits save and that all the required fields are filled out?

In order to save your edits, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the trail edit page. If the save button doesn't seem to be working, it is likely because you are missing a required field such as the star or difficulty rating. Scroll back through the page to see what is missing, which will be highlighted in red, and then save again once the item is added. You'll know that the information saved correctly if the page refreshes to the completed page.

Corresponding with your friendly trail content admin.

You may receive an email from a trail content admin who has reviewed your submission. You can respond to the admin and take a look at the submission by clicking the link provided in the email. Admins review content for quality, accuracy, and legality and will often email contributors with specific questions about submissions.

Can I add international content?

Yes! We love seeing content from all over the World. However, since we're a US-based site, we request that all content submissions are translated to English. Contributors can leave the original language text below the English version. As international land-use regulations often differ from those in the U.S., please be patient with our review process and feel free to send along any links or information that may help verify the content being open to the public.

Adding Other Content

Adding photos.

You can share your photos by clicking the "Share your Trails" link under your profile icon. Remember that your photo must be associated with a ski line or ascent in order to be showcased on the site. If you are able to use a GPS-enabled device that can geotag the location of your photo (a smartphone or GPS-enabled camera), this is helpful when uploading the photos to make sure that they are positioned correctly on our map. Be sure to add a short, descriptive caption and make sure your photo is positioned in the correct location on the map.

Adding videos.

You can share your videos by clicking the "Share your Trails" link under your profile icon. Remember your video must be associated to a ski line or ascent in order to be showcased on the site. Videos can only be shared if they are posted to Vimeo or Youtube. Prior to sharing a video, it is advised to open the ski line's page for the location where you video was taken so that you can add the video to the correct line on the map.

Adding symbols.

You can share your symbols by clicking the "Share your Trails" link under your profile icon. Try to use symbols to highlight the major items of interest for a given area (i.e. the main parking lot, the best campsite, the nicest picnic spot, etc.). Remember that if you add too many symbols in a single location, the map can get quite cluttered!

Improving Existing Content

Can I edit ski lines that are already on the site?

Lines that are fully approved on the site can be edited through the "Improve this Page" link. You can update the ski line's description or GPS data. Submitted changes are reviewed by an admin before the changes are finalized, and the ski line is updated. The accepted updates will appear in the mobile app after the text has been fully approved and the app data has been updated on Friday afternoon. If you'd like to send in a new GPS track to completely replace an existing track, please send it as an attachment to content@adventureprojects.net with a link to the line that needs to be updated.

How do I improve an existing ski line?

Head to the line's page and look for the "Improve This Page" link. Click this link, and it will walk you through the process of updating the ski line. Once you are finished editing the line, be sure to submit the check-out for review.

What does it mean if a ski line or ascent is up for adoption?

Lines that are up for adoption are incomplete or abandoned submissions that typically need more details, the naming or routing verified, or a photo or two added. If a ski line or ascent is up for adoption, you will see the adoption header at the top of the page specifying that the line is incomplete and up for adoption.

How do I adopt a ski line?

If you are familiar with a line and would like to adopt it, look for the "Adopt Trail" button at the top of the ski line's page. The adoption header will also indicate what is missing so you know what items the ski line needs to be completed.

How do I un-adopt a ski line?

If you no longer wish to complete a ski line that you added or that you adopted, please send us an email at content@adventureprojects.net with a link to the line that you would like for us to put back up for adoption.

How do I report illegal content?

If you find a line on the map that needs to be removed, please send us an email at content@adventureprojects.net with a link to the content and information clarifying why it should be removed.

How can I add or suggest edits for an area page?

If you have insider info on an area, we would love to hear from you! Visit the area page to submit a suggestion for where to eat, drink, stay, and enjoy the area that you know best!

How to Submit for Review

How do I submit a ski line or ascent for admin review?

Once you are done editing your ski line, you will still need to submit them for admin review. Note that this step does not happen automatically when you save the route. After saving your completed ski line or ascent, select the "Submit for Admin Review" option in the header at the top of the line's page and confirm that you do want to submit. Be sure to double check your submission before hitting submit. Ski lines that are under admin review are on-hold, and you won't be able to make any additional changes unless an admin puts the line back in progress for you to edit.

How do I know if my content was approved?

You will receive a notification on the website once your content has been fully approved. Look for a small red notification icon next to your profile icon.

What happens to incomplete lines?

Ski lines that have been in progress and are unsubmitted after 40 days become stale. After this date, we will send you an email to remind you about the line, and to give you the option to either finish it or put it up for adoption if you are unable to complete it.

Why am I getting a reminder email to finish my ski lines?

If you've received an email that your submission is unfinished or still in progress, this can mean a couple different things. First, ensure that your ski line or ascent has been submitted. Look for the "Submit for Admin Review" button or "Re-submit Trail" button. Otherwise, you may have a message concerning your submission before it could be fully approved. When in doubt, look at the "In Progress" banner on the homepage to see what stage your submissions are in or look for the red notification icon next to your profile icon for any notifications about a submission being fully approved.