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More ski resorts going to RFID

marzNC

Angel Diva
Apparently Wisp in MD has gone to RFID for 2019-20 using the Axess system. Pacific Group Resorts operates Wisp. Be interesting if Wintergreen in VA also goes RFID soon because PGR is also the operator there.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Apparently Wisp in MD has gone to RFID for 2019-20 using the Axess system. Pacific Group Resorts operates Wisp. Be interesting if Wintergreen in VA also goes RFID soon because PGR is also the operator there.
Wintergreen has also installed RFID gates. Given the way Wintergreen lifts are laid out, it should help traffic flow once people get used to how RFID works. Could be a little confusing during the holidays this season though.

The Wintergreen GM explained RFID to property owners during the fall. Presumably many remember when the homeowners owned the ski area.

https://www.ourwintergreen.org/news...reen-will-be-a-touch-more-luxurious-this-year
" . . .
At recent meetings with Wintergreen property owners, Rod Kessler, General Manager of Wintergreen Resort, noted that one of the major appeals of this new high-tech access tracking system was the amount of data it provided his management team and the increased security. Kessler stressed, however, that what he liked most about the RFID passes was how they provided a better experience for everyone coming to enjoy Wintergreen’s snow.
. . ."
 
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Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I had heard a rumor that Snowbasin was going to move to RFID. But am guessing not? Have t seen any evidence of it even on the horizon.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I had heard a rumor that Snowbasin was going to move to RFID. But am guessing not? Have t seen any evidence of it even on the horizon.
Hmmm . . . according to the Mountain Collective FAQ, Sun Valley and Snowbasin were using RFID. Maybe that's one source of the rumor. Perhaps the switch from MCP to Epic is a factor. The RFID system used by Vail Resorts is different from the one used by many other destination resorts, including Alta, Snowbird, and Solitude.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Bridger Bowl near Bozeman, MT quietly installed RFID for 2020-21. Presumably the plan for RFID goes way back before the pandemic. But should be helpful for the upcoming season where capacity limits will be necessary on weekends at least. For Bridger, midweek powder days can be pretty busy too because so many employers are "powder friendly" and kids with good grades are allowed to skip school for powder turns. Learned that from a grandfather who retired to Bozeman from the midwest to be closer to his grandson. Only disappointment of the move was realizing that he wouldn't have Bridger to himself midweek when the Bozeman "Blue Light" was lit for a powder day.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Be interesting to see what happens at resorts that are scanning versus RFID gates and Covid precautions.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I was looking to see what Alterra's Crystal was doing this winter, but happened to see news reports for Crystal in Michigan . . .

Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, MI will be the first ski area in the state to install RFID. They are working with AXESS. The system will be installed for 2020-21. The press release went out Sept. 9, 2020. Crystal is one of the midwest locations for the Indy Pass. The most expensive season pass at Crystal Mountain is $325.

In addition to RFID gates, AXESS also has products for issuing RFID cards without the need for someone to go to a ticket window. The guests buys a lift ticket online the first time, then uses the bar code on the receipt email at a terminal box to get the RFID card. Afterwards, additional days are added to the card and the rest of the season is direct-to-lift. It's not clear whether or not Crystal will implement that product though.

https://www.crystalmountain.com/your-visit/press-releases/rfid-chairlift-gates/

Sept. 9, Western Michigan Tourist Assoc
Crystal Mountain Adding RFID to Chairlift Gates
https://www.wmta.org/2020/09/09/crystal-mountain-adding-rfid-to-chairlift-gates/
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I'm not sure, but I'm seeing some construction activity on the north side of Tremblant at the Duncan chair. I've asked a friend to check if its RFID gates. Normally there are ticket scanners. But with Covid, that type of contact isn't advised. So now would be the time to do it at any resort.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
There are likely to be resorts with RFID from AXESS adding ticket dispensers to their base areas. It's an easy way to minimize contact with resort employees since there won't be a need to go to a ticket window.

The other company that many U.S. ski areas used for RFID lift access is SKIDATA. They also have similar machines for buying or adding to an RFID card.

Screen Shot 2020-09-27 at 9.08.24 PM.jpgScreen Shot 2020-09-27 at 9.08.43 PM.jpg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Yet another independent mountain will have RFID going forward. Bridger Bowl in MT started getting ready for RFID before the pandemic hit. They will reap the benefits of having made the decision to invest the effort and money. Bridger will require reservations for lift access for season passes and day tickets. They posted about winter operations for 2020-21 a few days ago.

For those who don't know about Bridger, what makes it unusual is that it's a very successful non-profit. Most of the people on the slopes are locals from Bozeman, which is about a 20-min drive. There is virtually no lodging near the base. However, getting in a few days at Bridger is one of the reasons I like to take trips to Big Sky. Bridger isn't a small mountain. There is about 2000 acres, with terrain for all levels from never-ever to experts willing to hike on the ridge.

https://www.bridgerbowl.com/pdfs/covid/winter-operation
Tickets and Passes
We know everybody is curious about how our system will work. We were very fortunate to be working with an outside contractor to develop our new RFID based ticket and pass system long before the pandemic swept through the ski industry and country. The e-commerce portal where pass (and soon ticket) products are being sold will be where our guests will make their daily reservation(s) for skiing. Reservations will be made based on your RFID account number; family and groups will be able to make reservations together, so no one person in a family group is left out of the fun. Full details on how this will work will be forthcoming before the season pass refund or credit date of November 20, 2020.
Our RFID system will allow Bridger the ability to scan all tickets and passes at all lifts on a daily basis. Reservations will be checked when entering the property and again at the lifts. No reservation equals no ability to access the property. Most guests will have no issue skiing the days they want, as we will do our best to maintain reservation numbers at an optimal level. Unquestionably, Saturday, Sunday and Holiday skiing, when combined with overnight snowstorms, will make this a challenge for all of us. All Day Ticket sales will be made online. The RFID cards we are using will be rechargeable and renewable so don’t lose them or you will be charged for a replacement.
 

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hmmm . . . according to the Mountain Collective FAQ, Sun Valley and Snowbasin were using RFID. Maybe that's one source of the rumor. Perhaps the switch from MCP to Epic is a factor. The RFID system used by Vail Resorts is different from the one used by many other destination resorts, including Alta, Snowbird, and Solitude.
I asked SV last year when they would get RFID and they said probably never because it's too expensive for a smaller resort. That was pre-covid though so we'll see if things change.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I asked SV last year when they would get RFID and they said probably never because it's too expensive for a smaller resort. That was pre-covid though so we'll see if things change.
That's silly and sounds like a guess from someone who has little idea of the value of RFID data.

I talked to the manager at Taos several years ago who is responsible for ticketing among other things. He would love to have RFID. But the situation at Taos was that new lifts had to be prioritized after the ownership change that brought in enough money to upgrade Taos.

Jiminy Peak in western MA put in RFID years ago. Solitude was the first Utah ski resort to install RFID back in 2005 when it was independently owned. Both are a LOT smaller than Sun Valley, which has been owned by a family with solid financial resources for quite a while. They spent a lot of money renovating the Sun Valley Lodge.

After 2020-21, I may have to start a thread asking about ski resorts without RFID in the U.S. It's going to be a pretty short list. The use of RFID in rest of the world are way ahead of the U.S. That's why the companies who install RFID at ski resorts in N. America are often based in Europe.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The former Snowtime resorts in PA (Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop) that were first bought by Peak Resorts and are now on Epic have moved to RFID. Epic uses the version of RFID hardware/software that allows for hand scanners.

Sounds like during the holiday period the transition to RFID was confusing, per usual.
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ski Roundtop in PA now he RF passes, but they still have handheld scanners, being such a small mountain. It is nice to not have to fumble around to get the pass for them to scan it with the old school bar code scanners.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Ski Roundtop in PA now he RF passes, but they still have handheld scanners, being such a small mountain. It is nice to not have to fumble around to get the pass for them to scan it with the old school bar code scanners.
It's not the size of the mountain that makes a difference. It's that Vail Resorts decided years ago that they liked the flexibility of an RFID system that allows for hand scanning.

Jiminy Peak and Wachusett aren't big mountains. But they installed RFID gates quite a few years ago.
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It's not the size of the mountain that makes a difference. It's that Vail Resorts decided years ago that they liked the flexibility of an RFID system that allows for hand scanning.

Jiminy Peak and Wachusett aren't big mountains. But they installed RFID gates quite a few years ago.
Oh, okay. I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to spread misinformation. I need to stop commenting on the posts of people who actually know what they are talking about lol :doh:
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I was really hoping that Tremblant would go RFID because of Covid. But in chairlift ride today it was mentioned that they are also mask police, social distancing police and traffic control. So I guess the scanners aren't going anywhere soon.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I was really hoping that Tremblant would go RFID because of Covid. But in chairlift ride today it was mentioned that they are also mask police, social distancing police and traffic control. So I guess the scanners aren't going anywhere soon.
Interesting. I've been reading Chris Diamond's book, Ski Inc., and a lot of it is about his experience at Steamboat, which was sold by ASC to Intrawest. Intrawest installed RFID at W-B 2014-15, then at Steamboat and Winter Park for 2015-16. They chose SkiData. The company now known as Alterra bought Intrawest in 2017. Wonder if that's related to why RFID was never fully implemented at Tremblant.

Taos is another destination resort that hasn't yet invested in RFID. There were more critical major projects needed first to upgrade lifts after ownership changed a few years ago. I know the man in charge of ticketing would really like to have RFID.

Snowbird also put RFID implementation at a lower priority than lift upgrades and building a big lodge with a view of both sides of the mountain.
 

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