On The Snow
On The Snow was a mobile app owned and operated by Vail Resorts. It delivered free daily snow reports and current conditions for more than 2,000 ski areas globally.

After launching a redesign in 2019, On The Snow saw 50% YOY drop in screen views. After a 4-week design sprint, my team and I delivered recommendations on how they can improve.  


On The Snow provided information for snow sports for nearly 50 years. Between the app and the website, they garnered over 2.2 million unique monthly visitors.

In October 2019, On The Snow (OTS) launched an app update that was met with mostly negative reviews, leading to the app store rating to drop to an average of a 1.3-stars.

“The changes have literally made it useless to me.” – Nov 2019, App Store Review
“It verges on not being useful at all. I don’t see how it can ever be a helpful tool.” – Nov 2019, App Store Review

Stakeholders asked us to do further research into the cause of users’ unhappiness and to deliver recommendations on how they can create a more user-friendly experience.

Research & Testing

Our four-week design sprint was split into two sections. In the first two weeks, we spent the majority of our time doing research and conducting interviews and in the following weeks we focused on redesign.

We began with assessing the current state of the app and taking note of what we thought initially didn't follow UX best practices or make sense for the goals of the app. (The notes below are some of these initial thoughts combined with user feedback.)

Data Analytics

My team was given access to On The Snow’s relevant Google Analytics information. Using this data in conjunction with research and user interviews, we concluded that the majority of OTS users were “weekend warriors” – users that were trying to decide if they wanted to go that morning or users that were making plans just a day or two in advance.

Competitive Analysis

My team and I looked at Open Snow (most direct competition, easy to customize), NOAA (superior weather/snow forecasting), and Epic Mix (specific to the Epic Pass resorts, but easy to navigate and scan). We also looked at apps like All Trails and Fat Maps that were not direct competition to OTS but offered useful features and great functionality for outdoor adventurers.

User Interviews & Task Analysis

My team and I interviewed skiers and snowboarders who used OTS or similar apps to plan trips. We also performed a task analysis with each interviewee where they were asked to locate the snow report for their favorite resort.

Overall, the consensus from our users was that the app…

  • was not easy to use,
  • lacked consistency in UI elements,
  • had valuable data but it was hard to find,
  • and the overall flow (load time, breadcrumbs, etc.) needed to be updated.
Card Sorting

Interviewees were also taken through a card sort to help us reprioritize the information hierarchy of OTS. My team and I found that user reports, current weather, 24-hour weather forecast, and recent snowfall data were consistently ranked highest on the list of importance.

Redesign Round 1

For the first round of redesigns, we analyzed what was most important and what competitions were doing successfully that users liked.

  • Added an onboarding process so new users can quickly get the most out of the app
  • Simplified navigation by removing confusing icons and prioritizing sections users want to see
  • Prioritized real-time data to focus on user wants
  • For the resort pages, we reduced sub-navigation into three categories so users can quickly see all of the necessary information

After presenting these concepts, we got some feedback from the clients at On The Snow and proceeded onto the second round of redesigns.

Final Recommendations

After another round of redesigns, we presented our new concepts, screens, and research to On The Snow. Below are the highlights and main areas we focused on when updating this app.


The final onboarding recommendation walks users through key features. It ensures that users don't land on a blank screen and understand what actions they should take when they're dropped in. This section also opens a business opportunity for On The Snow – the community favorites section could also be sponsored by different resorts or ski areas.

Favorites & Search

Users now open the app to their favorite resorts and ski areas. They can also customize notifications, user reports, and tweak ideal conditions. Adding more resorts using the search function is much easier.

Resort Details

To simplify navigation, my team and I decreased the number of breadcrumbs from seven to three: Snow/Weather, Mountain Stats, and User Reports. We found the majority of OTS’s data could fit into these three categories and reorganized the information to make more sense for users.

User Reports

Updated user report pages make it much more clear and easy to post. Users can easily add a report right from the slopes within a few clicks.

The app today features onboarding, improved UI primarily in search and navigation, and a large focus on real-time data. The app rating has improved from nearly 1 star to a 4.8 in the iOS App Store.


Click through the interactive prototype to see some of the final design in action.

view more work ->
view next work ->