Steamboat ski passes getting tech upgrade | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat ski passes getting tech upgrade

A crowd can be seen forming in the Storm Peak Express lift line as snowboarder Matt Quick takes a few minutes to relax as he heads up the Burgess Creek lift at Steamboat Ski Area during Scholarship Day in 2014.

— The era of fumbling through jackets and layers to find and display that ski pass to a lift agent at Steamboat Ski Area is over.

The ski area announced Monday it is incorporating a new technology in its lift tickets and season passes that will allow hands-free access to lifts and the gondola.

It’s called radio frequency identification, or RFID, and the RFID chip embedded in the passes and tickets will automatically open access gates to the lifts when a skier or rider approaches.

Such technology is already being used at other ski areas in Vail and Mount Hood Meadows, Oregon.

More ski areas are now embracing the RFID tags as a way to improve customer service and reduce waits at lift lines.

Human lift operators will still be on hand to assist with the access gates and keep lines moving.

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The new technology will also let skiers and riders attach credit card information to their passes and tickets so they can keep their credit cards and cash off the slopes.

The pass can then be used at on-mountain restaurants and retail locations.

The adoption of RFID in season passes and tickets is the latest in a long line of recent technology upgrades at the ski area.

Other recent additions include cell phone charging stations at Thunderhead Lodge, free Wi-Fi at all of the ski area’s restaurants on the mountain and the installation of a distributed antenna system, or DAS, which allows cell phone carriers to offer better data connections in and around ski area facilities.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10