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The Travel Guidebook has Evolved Ski Resorts go Mobile PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 October 2007




Specialist travel publisher Ski-Ride Productions has launched a new series of free, electronic guidebooks, which can be downloaded to mobile phones; enabling skiers and snowboarders to keep several seasons worth of resort knowledge at their fingertips whilst on the slopes.

Author Francis Johnston is claiming a world first with his latest in-depth guides to Europe’s most popular wintersports destinations. His authoritative resort-specific guidebooks are being published in a specially-developed electronic format (branded as TXTguides™) which allows them to be downloaded and read on mobile phones. The guidebooks are, therefore, weightless; and truly pocket-sized.

Once downloaded and saved to a phone’s memory files, the guides can then be browsed offline, without incurring any call or text charges. Since no network signal is required to use them, they can be read in the most remote mountain areas; and for those readers who can’t wait to reach the slopes, they can even be browsed whilst on underground trains and onboard aircraft. The guides are available free-of-charge, and can be shared with friends via email and Bluetooth. The enterprise will be funded by advertising and commercial affiliations.

Each title contains over 30 chapters of detailed information: covering the history, culture and gastronomy of each mountain region; resort and ski area descriptions; technical data on each ski lift; turn-by-turn critiques of every major piste; appraisals of every mountain restaurant; suggestions for alternative activities; plus après-ski venue listings. Each chapter can be searched by subject, and every page is just two keypad clicks from a main menu. The user experience is as familiar as reading text messages from a [knowledgeable] friend.

Resorts covered include Val d’Isère*, Tignes*, Alpe d’Huez, and Les 2 Alpes/La Grave (France); Ordino-Arcalís*, Pal-Arinsal-La Massana*, Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig and Soldeu-El Tarter (Andorra). *The first four titles are published this Thursday (1 November); the others are scheduled for publication in mid-November. Ski-Ride are also currently compiling four further titles covering all of the resorts in the vast Trois Vallées ski domain in France; to be published in January (2008). The TXTguides range will then cover the destinations of over half of all British and Irish snowsports travellers, making Ski-Ride the defacto market leader in snowsports guidebook publishing.

The publications, which will be updated every month, are available free-of-charge from Ski-Ride’s website (www.ski-ride.co.uk). A parallel mobile-website, specially configured for mobile web-browsers, is also provided for downloading TXTguides files direct to mobile phone handsets: readers can request a web-link to be sent direct to their phone, by texting the word SNOW to 60777 (there is a one-off 50p charge for this service, on top of the bill-payer’s normal text charge. At present, this ‘short code’ link service is available for UK-network mobiles only).

Francis Johnston (Ski-Ride CEO and executive author of TXTguides) commented [that] “traditional guidebooks go out-of-date almost as soon as they’re printed, and are cumbersome for skiers and snowboarders to carry; TXTguides are updateable and are effectively weightless: the travel guidebook has evolved”.

In an age where many electronics manufacturers are developing pricey proprietary electronic-book (e-book) readers, it seems that travellers already have the future of digital publishing in the palm of their hand.

For additional information (and photographs), please contact Francis Johnston at Ski-Ride Productions or visit www.ski-ride.co.uk to download a sample TXTguides guidebook (Ordino-Arcalís).
Ski-Ride and TXTguides are trademarks and trading names of Ski-Ride Productions, England.

About Francis Johnston:
Francis Johnston is the founder and owner of Ski-Ride Productions; his background is in overseas resort operations, sales and marketing at senior management level with some of the UK’s leading Ski, Lakes and Mountains tour operators. Previously resident in Andorra, he has also worked in or visited most of the leading French, Austrian, Italian and Eastern European ski resorts and personally guided well over four thousand holiday-makers and travel industry professionals during that time. He created the SkiSpots travel guidebook series, published by Thomas Cook, and is a contributing author to the Ski Atlas of the World, published by New Holland.

Francis Johnston, CEO, Ski-Ride Productions
+44 (0)1273 735582 www.ski-ride.co.uk
Ski-Ride TXTguides [ski travel guides for mobile phones|http://www.ski-ride.co.uk]
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