It’s been almost a snowless winter so far in New England, but that doesn’t stop me from hitting the slopes whenever I want via my Android phone. SummitX Snowboarding delivers the sights and sounds of downhill racing in a fun and challenging package. It’s free to try with one mountain’s worth of runs before you buy the full version.
You start at the top of the mountain for every run. Unique touch controls for each thumb let you carve turns, crouch low for additional speed, or leap upward over small moguls or at the end of a ramp. The controls take a little getting used to: I found them almost too sensitive at first and kept steering into the side of the mountain or off the course, but over time I got better at small, subtle maneuvers.
You score points for navigating through flags along a run and for performing “grab” tricks when you catch air. New touch controls for grabs appear whenever your snowboarder leaves the ground and you use your thumbs to select various stunts, but you have to time it right or you’ll crash back to the ground in the wrong position and end up face-first in the snow. A time limit keeps you focused because when the clock hits zero, your run ends, no matter where you are.
The free version provides 16 runs on one mountain, but the paid version (via an in-app purchase) adds five more mountains of snowboarding. It’s worth a download if you enjoy snowboarding, but can’t get to a mountain.