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More ski resorts going to RFID

marzNC

Angel Diva
@marzNC I am all for RFID. I am really tired of the RFID crew staring at their screens instead of noticing when a whole family where one or two are not getting through end up holding the line up for so long that multiple chairs go empty on long lift line days. I love getting to keep my pass in my wallet in a secure pocket. That I do not miss with the old paper tickets one bit. Or the flapping around sound. I don't mind wearing an armband with my pass which some places allow.
What you don't like is pretty much the same feeling I get when a bored liftie scans a bar code with no interaction at all. Even worse when they are in the middle of a conversation with someone else.

Where I've been going through RFID gates there is one person with a tablet and someone else who is actively paying attention to people going through the gates. That's the person who is responsible for helping out someone who is having issues getting the gate to open.

I'm not thinking about a flapping sound of a paper ticket. I'm thinking about having to fiddle with a paper ticket in order to get the bar code visible to a hand scanner. Of course, I could let the liftie twist the ticket around, but it's faster if I can get it facing the right way while waiting to get scanned.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
You are lucky to visit resorts with two employees at the gates! Not so for us, so they fail to catch the obstructions.

I liked Japan where almost all the resorts jad a paper ticket that could be in a see through armband. They do not require scanning as each day a new ticket is printed which a checker can easily identify.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
You are lucky to visit resorts with two employees at the gates! Not so for us, so they fail to catch the obstructions.
At the base lifts with RFID gates at Big Sky there always at least two employees. When it was busy for Ramcharger 8, there was always at least one employee on each side. The RFID gate set up has two sets of 4 gates each, side-by-side, that lead to 8 low gates just in front of the conveyor loading belt. The liftie on the side with the singles line was actively paying attention to add single(s) as needed. There is also a separate RFID double gate for ski school on that side. The other liftie was always quick to help out anyone who had a problem with the RFID sensor.

For Switch Current 6, there are lift lines that merge in from both sides. During busy times, there was a liftie managing the people who were next to go to the RFID gates. Would alternate which side to draw from, plus the singles line. There was always someone else at the gate to help if needed.

Alta has three lifties for loading when busy: one with a tablet, one managing the lift lines using the "front row" approach, and one helping people who have a problem with their RFID card.

My home hill in Virginia always has two lifties. There isn't as much emphasis on checking with the tablet at times. More effort is spent making sure the lines move smoothly and the chair gets held a bit since the lifts are all fixed-grip lifts. Massanutten implement RFID last season. Went pretty smoothly overall.
 

BlueSkies

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
One problem I've noticed with gates at some resorts is the positioning the gates too close to the loading area. If there is ample room beyond the gate, enough groups can be lined up so that a problem with one group will not result in empty chairs (and can also provide enough room for a group to wait off to the side for the problem RFID to be resolved).
 

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I like the RFID - I was surprised at Sunshine and Lake Louise that we had to pull our passes out to be barcode scanned. It’s been a while since I’ve had to take my pass out- I usually only see it once a year or when I wash or get a new coat.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Magic in VT is moving to RFID for 2023-24. The change is noted on the season pass webpage. Many of the resorts who have moved to RFID in recent years are using a third-party system that is based on hand scanners. I assume that's cheaper than installing RFID gates. Certainly eliminates the fear that jobs would be lost.

"To preserve and enhance our less crowded ski experience, we are also setting limits on the number of season passes we sell at 1,800 passes. All season passes and tickets in 23/24 will now be RFID-enabled so we will know exactly how many skiers visit Magic each day in order to better control skier traffic now and into the future with better usage data. Hand-scanners will be used at the lifts and all you need to do is have your pass card in your pocket somewhere, no need to take it out or have it showing in the lift line! The scanner let’s us know it’s you and not some stolen card. With our new purchasing system, every one will need to make a new account this year at purchase."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Wolf Creek in Colorado went to RFID last season. For 2023-24 they will have the ability to re-load an RFID card without going to a ticket window. Last season you had to get a new card for every purchase. Not that big a deal for me and my friends since we got to WCSA during early season. Still it will be nice to not have to stop at a ticket window. The way they sell lift tickets, the maximum number of days for a multi-day ticket is 3.

My home mountain, Massanutten, also didn't have the re-load feature until the second season that RFID was used for lift access.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I think I've noted a few of the resorts moving to RFID in 2023-24 already but here's a list from an article from Peak Rankings.

October 16, 2023

NEW RFID ACCESS:

 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Tremblant has had RFID for the snow school and Club des Montagnards members. It's just going full on for the public this year.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Tenney Mountain in Plymouth, NH is going to RFID for 2023-24. The new owners, North Country Development Group, clearly have the financial resources and interest to take Tenney to the next level. The new website is quite good.

Recently talked with the Dir. of Marketing for Tenney at Snowbound Expo. He's open to all sorts of ideas for encouraging people to check out Tenney. I had a very good time skiing there on a powder day in 2019.

March 2019
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Discovery in MT has moved to RFID for 2023-24. They just opened for 7-day operations on Dec. 21 and have pretty low snow conditions so Christmas week tickets are bargain priced. Online re-loading will be available once people get an RFID card. Discovery is working with SkiData for RFID lift access.

From the Discovery FAQ:

What is the difference between an RFID and a ticket?

Paper tickets are the old way to ski. RFID cards are the new improved way. An RFID card is a plastic card that you put in your pocket. Our scanners at the lift will read the card through your clothes and automatically open the gate each time. RFID Keycards can also be reloaded at home so you can skip the ticket office and head straight to the slopes!

Screen Shot 2023-12-27 at 10.23.48 AM.png
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Tremblant is having major issues at one lift, TGV. So today I noticed the gates were gone. As you went through it still peeped. There is not enough space before the gate to get into a 4some. But it's a middle lift, so it really isn't needed.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Back when I started this thread in 2015, the number of ski resorts in N. America that had RFID was low enough that it could be a surprise when someone took a ski trip outside their usual region and found they had to figure out what pocket to put an RFID card for lift access. By 2019 many destination resorts were using RFID for lift access but it was less common for smaller mountains. The technology had shifted and was not as expensive by the time the ski industry had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020-21 season. Small and medium size resorts sped up the process of moving to RFID. It helped that gates are no longer required for those using AXESS.

Recently, I saw stats in an article that confirmed my sense that most ski resorts have RFID for lift access as of 2024. For the USA, 26% of all ski areas/resorts were using RFID in 2018. By 2023 57% are using RFID not only for lift access but also to track data for the number of visits. Apparently that changed the stats for some resorts about how often 1-location season pass holders showed up.
 

Trailside Trixie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
We are OCR at Bromley and I can't tell you how many people assume this is the same as RFID... "no sir, I'm sorry we are only OCR, not RFID so you'll have to take your ticket out of your pocket, etc.

Magic went RFID last season but have folks with scanning guns rather than gates.

@marzNC You mentioned earlier in the thread about talking to the director of marketing at Tenney. Was his name Rob? If it's him, he's a good friend of mine and part of our spring killington crew. Great guy and his Tenney enthusiasm is infectious. I showed him all around Magic when he was doing indy mountain research and he'll return the favor this winter when go to Tenney. It's a couple hours away from us so I'll need to bake it into my winter schedule so we'll go out there on friday night and stay until sunday.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
We are OCR at Bromley and I can't tell you how many people assume this is the same as RFID... "no sir, I'm sorry we are only OCR, not RFID so you'll have to take your ticket out of your pocket, etc.

Magic went RFID last season but have folks with scanning guns rather than gates.
It's probably even more confusing now that there are resorts in New England using hand scanners for RFID cards. Meaning besides Epic resorts.

Vail Resorts created their own dual-frequency RFID system from the start for Epic passes, which allowed for both gates and hand scanners.

The latest scanning technology is based on using an App on a smart phone with Bluetooth.
 

Trailside Trixie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It's probably even more confusing now that there are resorts in New England using hand scanners for RFID cards. Meaning besides Epic resorts.

Vail Resorts created their own dual-frequency RFID system from the start for Epic passes, which allowed for both gates and hand scanners.

The latest scanning technology is based on using an App on a smart phone with Bluetooth.

Very true. I don't mind explaning to people, it's the rude ones who act indignent expecting me to reach in their pocket to take out their ticket whom I have a problem with.

Magic is RFID but use hand scanners. Butternut, Killington and Stratton are RFID but have gates.

Bromley uses hand scanners but have OCR technology so must physically scan the lift ticket/pass.
 

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