Winter Park Resort to add hands-free ticketing, charging | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park Resort to add hands-free ticketing, charging

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

WINTER PARK — The days of awkwardly fumbling around with gloved hands to present your lift ticket for scanning are coming to an end.

Winter Park Resort will partner with SKIDATA to add radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology to its main lifts this season, eliminating the need for a visual scan of tickets and passes.

All lift tickets and season passes will be issued on a QuickTrax card implanted with an RFID chip, said Steve Hurlbert with Winter Park Resort.

Guests will pass through RFID gates accessing each chairlift. The gates will open after registering the guest's QuickTrax card.

Guests won't need to remove the card from their pocket in order for it to be scanned, and the cards can be reloaded online.

"Rather than buying a pass and picking up a pass from the pass office every year, all of your info is already on your QuickTrax card," Hurlbert said.

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Lift operators will be on site to assist guests.

Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc., which operates Winter Park Resort, will also add RFID technology to Steamboat Ski Resort.

Winter Park and Steamboat will be the first Intrawest resorts to use the technology.

Both resorts will also add Resort Charge to their growing list of technological amenities.

"We're excited to be able to bring RFID technology to our guests for the 2015-2016 winter season," said Gary DeFrange, president and chief operating officer of Winter Park Resort. "We view this as the next logical step in our continuing mission to enhance the Winter Park experience for each and every guest. With RFID, overall ease of access to the mountain is greatly improved, allowing visitors the flexibility of loading their QuikTrax card with a variety of products online without having to go to a ticket window or talk to an agent."

Winter Park will install RFID gates on the Zephyr Express, Arrow, Gemini Express, Challenger and Super Gauge Express chairlifts.

Guests will have the option of connecting a credit card to their QuickTrax card, allowing them to make purchases at the resort without carrying cash or a credit card.

"All you would need to carry with you on the mountain is your cellphone if you need it and your QuickTrax card," Hurlbert said.

Beyond ticketing

RFID has already proved to be a dynamic a technology with potential that reaches far beyond ticketing.

Vail Resorts uses RFID to track guest runs and send photos through its EpicMix application.

Though Winter Park Resort doesn't have any immediate plans to expand its RFID system beyond ticketing and financial transactions, having the infrastructure in place presents many opportunities for innovation further down the road, Hurlbert said.

"I think absolutely what's really, really cool is once you walk down this road, from a technology standpoint, it really opens up a lot of opportunities for you," Hurlbert said. "We see that the possibilities are really kind of endless and being able to bring this technology to our guests is just incredibly exciting for us."

For more information about Winter Park Resort's new RFID system, visit winterparkresort.com/rfid.

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