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Skiers Gain Art-Decorated RFID for Lift Access at Granite Peak

The system, provided by SKIDATA, will allow season- and day-pass owners to access the resort and lifts hands-free using an RFID card, and to utilize the same pass—which features artwork from a different local artist each year—to collect loyalty points and engage with the resort later in the season.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 28, 2018

Wisconsin's Granite Peak Ski Resort, the largest ski resort in the U.S. Midwest, is launching an HF RFID system this season that will provide access control. The solution is expected to expand to a credit-card linked payment system by the end of the season, and to a loyalty program next season, if all goes as planned. The system, provided by Austrian technology company SKIDATA, will be taken live when the resort opens this fall, according to Lisa Zilinsky, Granite Peak Ski Resort's marketing director.

The RFID system comes with a community-centric feature, Zilinsky says, known as the Designer Series from Local Artists. With the launch of the new 13.56 MHz HF RFID-enabled tickets and passes, the resort invited the community to submit artwork that would be printed on the front. That art would then cycle to other pieces and artists in subsequent seasons.

Granite Peak, located in Wausau, Wis., is a 700-vertical-foot ski resort with 75 runs and four high-speed lifts that can serve 3,500 visitors daily during an average ski season. That season typically begins in late fall and continues into April or May, depending on the weather. The resort is located in Rib Mountain State Park. Until this season, the ticketing system was all based on paper, Zilinsky explains. "If you had a season pass, you could go straight to the lift," she says, but that pass had to be manually checked by lift operators each time the lift was used.

The resort wanted to come up with an RFID pass that could be stored on a rechargeable card on which credit to access lifts could be added at any time. With the new system in place, skiers can first buy a day or season pass online, entering information about themselves, such as their gender, age and address. They can also upload a photograph of themselves. That data is then linked to the unique ID number on a printed RFID card, which is useable as a day or season pass, according to the purchase dictates.

Upon arrival, each guest signs a waiver (unless he or she has already done so ahead of the visit), and that person's signature is stored in the resort's Siriusware point-of-sale (POS) system and is linked to his or her RFID-based account. The visitor will not need to sign the waiver again during subsequent visits. After signing and acquiring the ticket at the ticket window, the guest is then instructed to carry the pass in a pocket on the left side of his or her body, after which that person can proceed to the lift.

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