Vail Debuts Internet Of Things-Enabled Ski Slopes

Vail Resorts’ smartphone app will provide skiers with real-time information about lines at the lifts.

Vail Debuts Internet Of Things-Enabled Ski Slopes
[Photo: Flickr user Zach Dischner]

This winter, Vail Resorts is trying something different on its ski slopes: Crowdsourced, real-time wait times for ski lifts offered via smartphone app. Vail Resorts says that an update to its EpicMix smartphone app will collect data from the RFID-enabled season passes skiers carry at the resort. It’s one of the most ambitious efforts yet to bring Waze-style crowdsourced location data into the sports and vacation spheres.

“Providing real-time lift line wait times is a first for the ski industry,” Vail Resorts executive vice president Robert Urwiler said in a statement. “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 smartphones and other mobile devices across the distinct topography and layout of our chairlifts to calculate reliable wait time information for our guests.”

EpicMix TimeScreenshot: via Vail Resorts

According to the Denver Post, the crowdsourced wait time technology will be available for 55 core lifts and gondolas at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. Vail Resorts plans to deploy the technology at resorts in Utah and California in the 2016-17 season as well. In 2011, Fast Company examined how Vail combined data mining with customer loyalty programs in an earlier iteration of the EpicMix app.

About the author

Based in sunny Los Angeles, Neal Ungerleider covers science and technology for Fast Company. He also works as a consultant, writes books, and does other things.

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