Here are a few tips to keeping a decent signal and extending your battery life while on the hill!
NIt's a drag and reality. Your signal can be poor in the mountains and your battery dies quickly in the cold air. Here are a few things I've figured out through trial and a few more I've picked up from other locals.
1. Turn ofF LTE
We don't have LTE service in the mountains, but your phone will keep looking for it. It will try really hard and keep scanning. This will prevent it from getting the strong 4G signals from the antennas on the slopes. Have someone show you the fake pine trees that are actually cell towers - there are several of them around Vail and Beaver Creek.
2. Stick a hard warmer or toe warmer on your phone
Yep. Those things that are supposed to keep your hands and toes warm, actually do a better job keeping your phone warm. I sometime use the toe warmers, because they have an adhesive side that sticks to my phone case. The Lithium batteries in smartphones aren't rated for cold weather - so stick your phone in a warm place (an insulated pocket) and stick on some instant heat. And, for god sakes, don't take the thing out on the chair lift... that email can wait.... it is a drag to drop your phone off the chair lift. There is a very low chance that it will be found.
3. Use the Low Battery mode (AND TURN OFF ALL YOUR APPS)
This keeps your phone from constantly connecting to the cell network for background information from Apps that are closed. Sure, you may want to track your vertical feet with things like SkiTrax, but make sure you only have the Apps open that you want open. You can update your email, weather, Slack channels, when you want to, on demand by opening the corresponding app, rather than have your phone doing it in the background and draining valuable power.
4. External Battery Pack
I usually don't take one - I don't like the bulk, but I bought a good one for my son after he kept using the excuse that his battery was low as a reason he wouldn't call or text me back.
5. CAN'T GET a DECENT signal? Try switching to airplane mode for 5 seconds, then switch it back on.
This works. I learned it from a telecom engineer who worked on cell tower signal systems. Sometimes you phone wants to "hold on" to a signal it is getting from a tower that is far away. Your phone may even lie to you, saying you have lots of bars. By switching to Airplane Mode, then back to normal, your phone tries to locate the nearest tower. One of two things happens; either you get the truth that you really have 1 bar of signal and no data connection or you have the joy of a reset to a closer tower with a stronger signal.
Now go enjoy yourself... but remember you're in the wonder and beauty of the rockies.... you don't need to be focused on a small cell phone screen when you go a great view