IoT on the ski slopes
Aug 17, 2015
Vail Resorts has announced EpicMix™ Time - an expansion of its industry-leading and award-winning ski and snowboard app, EpicMix - which will allow guests at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone to access real-time lift line wait times enabling them to better navigate the mountain and make the most out of their ski and ride experience. Leveraging recently developed technology, EpicMix Time will calculate and display up-to-the-minute chairlift and gondola line wait times across 55 core lifts and gondolas, as well as 13,600 acres of skiable terrain in Colorado.
"EpicMix Time delivers time transparency to our guests, showing them lift line wait times across the mountain, providing them with information to choose where to ski and ride, and giving them more time on the slopes," said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "This is just another innovation from our team that introduces more digital technology to the mountain in a way that does not interfere with the guest experience or the incredible beauty of our mountain resorts."
EpicMix Time will debut during the 2015-16 winter season at the company's four Colorado resorts - Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. After piloting the program in Colorado, Vail Resorts plans to expand EpicMix Time to its other destinations in upcoming seasons, as well as expanding the program to give updates on on-mountain restaurant and rental shop wait times as well. Vail Resorts is currently testing this ground-breaking technology at Perisher Resort in Australia, which is currently in the middle of its ski season.
"Providing real-time lift line wait times is a first for the ski industry," said Robert Urwiler, Vail Resorts' executive vice president and chief information officer. "Similar to apps showing traffic flow, like Google Maps or Waze, we're applying unique and sophisticated analytics to aggregated, anonymous location data generated by smart phones and other mobile devices across the distinct topography and layout of our chairlifts to calculate reliable wait time information for our guests. We are truly leading the travel industry in how to incorporate technology into the guest experience."
EpicMix debuted in 2010 as an RFID-based system which allows skiers and riders to track their days on the slopes and share their accomplishments via social media, while never getting in the way of the on-hill skiing and riding experience. The RFID chip in season passes and day tickets tracks vertical feet, number of lift rides and other data. Vail Resorts followed the original EpicMix with EpicMix Photo, delivering free digital photos through ski pass information, EpicMix Racing, recording digitized amateur racing statistics, and EpicMix Academy, providing information and goals for guests enrolled in ski school, and EpicMix Guide and Challenges, allowing guests to navigate and compete against friends and family on the mountain. Vail Resorts has been using RFID for "hands free" ticket scanning for seven years, a system which also allows guests to purchase and reload their tickets both on the web and on mobile devices.
Source and top image: Vail Resorts