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Northstar Ski Resort RFID-Enables Guest Locker Rooms
With passive RFID cards in their pockets, visitors can access storage areas and lockers, without having to put down their skis or other gear.
Oct 26, 2007—As anyone who has recently visited a large ski resort knows, high-touch (and high-cost) ski concierge services are hot these days. Destination resorts are going all out to attend to customers' every need and keep them comfortable. To that end, California's Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort offers its guests season-long ski-storage and locker-room services. In an effort to raise the convenience level even more, the resort recently began issuing RFID-enabled cards for accessing those services.
Located just north of Lake Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe offers 83 groomed trails on 2,490 acres, and is owned by ski-area operator Booth Creek Ski Holdings. The resort worked with Gantner, an Austrian RFID systems integrator specializing in recreational and sports-related applications of RFID, to develop and install the RFID technology at the resort. The system became operational last ski season, and is being expanded this coming season to include an additional level of service.
Here's how the system works: Families or groups of up to four people can purchase access to locker and gear-storage rooms, good for the entire winter season. For $199, they can choose Bronze Level storage, which provides access to a secure storage room where they can lock up their boots, poles and other gear in an assigned storage rack and store it until their next visit. Those willing to invest $1,500 for the Gold Level, or $2,000 for the Platinum Level (new for the 2006/07 season), will have access to a large locker that provides enough space for all their gear, and also sports built-in boot driers so guests won't have to worry about returning to the slopes the following day in wet boots. Subscribers at the Gold and Platinum level can also enjoy the use of a private lounge, offering entertainment and refreshments.
When purchasing a season locker or gear-storage membership, each group or family member is issued a credit-card-sized plastic card with an embedded 13.56 MHz passive RFID inlay made by Legic Identsystems. The inlays comply with the ISO 15693 air-interface standard, as does the Legic RFID interrogator installed in each entrance door to the locker and storage rooms, and each individual locker door and storage rack. Once the group or family selects a desired locker or rack, an employee activates each person's card so it will unlock the entrance door and that individual's locker or ski rack. For the Gold and Platinum members, the card can also be used to open the lounge door.
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