Facebook application idea #26: X-country skiing

January 25, 2009

Today while X-country skiing, I thought about making a post to my Facebook account afterwards, to let my friends know which trails I skiied. And since the trails all have colours, it would be nice to have something graphical in the post. At this point, I begin to think that an application is in order…

This application will

  • Let you track which trails you ski, when you ski them, and, optionally, the times.
  • Tabulate the trails you ski, and provide a cumulative number of kilometers you ski.
  • Publish stories to your friends’ pages to let them know you’ve been skiing.
  • Show you which friends are also skiing, and how you’re doing in comparison to them (distance, times).
  • Make comments about the different trails and rate them on a scale.
  • Let you vouch for a friend’s time.
  • Show the requisite Google ads to generate a little income.

At first I was thinking of doing this for the North Bay Nordic Ski Club, but I could make it more generalized so you could add additional clubs and trails.

The local club has boards up for several “clubs”. One is for the longest trail, which is the green trail, so the club challenges each other to see who can ski the most green trails in the season. There is another board for the “all trails club”, and a few others.

The North Bay Nordic Ski Club has a web page, so I’d provide links there, naturally (by the way, the club uses Joomla! as it’s CMS).  It would be nice to embed some information into the Facebook application (their trail report page, for example).  If there was a standardized format, it would be nice to import that data into the application. I could do it now, but it would mean some ugly screen-scraping. But then again, I’d be sacrificing localization for generalization…I couldn’t very well do this for other ski clubs. Maybe just links to trail conditions and your local club home page.

Looking at what’s out there already , I see Nike+ Running Monitor has something like this for running. Plus they’ve got an iPhone / iPod Touch app you can use to upload your results. Nice. I don’t see any cross-country skiing apps, somehow downhill and snowboarding apps are more popular. I took a quick look at the Snowdays application, but it just tracks the number of days you ski.

So what’s the end goal of this application? If these little competitive, one-upmanship Facebook widgets can drive me to improve my Tetris game, maybe they could get me out on the ski trails more often.

Incidentally, I did a brown and a gold today.