In the days before next-generation video game controllers like Nintendo’s Wii system and the Xbox 360Kinect, the only work-out you might have gotten playing a skiing video game would have been for your thumbs. Not anymore. The game, so to speak, has changed.
Using sensors that monitor your body movement, these new video games provide a level of interaction never before possible. So before you head to the gym, think about booting up – buckle down your Langes and turn on your game console. Then, stretch out your quads, squat to get your knees ready for action, and get your virtual schuss on.
We Ski (Nintendo Wii):
This game, which has a somewhat cartoon-y interface, offers players the opportunity to control their virtual skier with the Wii Balance Board to provide a more realistic feel. You can use it to move the skier right or left, but it has no effect on the skier's speed. Using ski poles requires the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Reviewers found that the controls took some getting used to, but luckily the game features a Ski School to help you learn. You can even take advanced lessons to master tricks. Up to four players can shred We Ski’s Happy Mountain, with over 150 challenges to keep your posse occupied. Overall, the game is less about charging and more about wandering around the mountain on various missions given to you by other skiers. $15, nintendo.com
Kinect Sports Season 2 (Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect ):
While not strictly a skiing game, Kinect Sports Season 2 features skiing as one of the six sports you can play. Using the Kinect device in conjunction with the Xbox 360 game console, players can control the movement of their skier by simply leaning left or right, tucking to go faster, and jumping or ducking to avoid obstacles. You have the option to race friends in a side-by-side format. Not a racer? You migh find that the thrill of this game is gone too soon. It’s focused primarily on ski racing, so if you’re looking to get your jib on, this one isn’t for you. $30, xbox.com
SkiRanger (Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect/Asus XtionPRO camera):
Ski Ranger chronicles a mountain Ranger who has to maintain the law and order of his mountain by mastering different challenges. So if you’re looking to rule your own kingdom, your search is over. Developed as a thesis project by two German students, Ski Ranger is more freeride focused. There are options for head-to-head racing, but things get interesting when giant snowballs come hurtling down the mountain to crush your ranger. Luckily, your ranger can jump on to some of these snowballs. And as part of the ball, he can smash into giant killer snowmen like a bowling ball. Now if you could only do that on a real mountain… FREE for the test version, $25 for the yet-to-be-released finalized version. skirangergame.com