Vail Resorts Takes Pioneering Trail

The company's EpicMix service is using RFID technology to enhance the skiing experience in new and exciting ways.
Published: September 6, 2011

A niece of Andrea Linne, RFID Journal‘s features editor, enjoys skiing at Vail Resorts. She recently received an e-mail touting Vail’s EpicMix service, which employs radio frequency identification to track the number of vertical feet that each visitor has skied during a given season, and also allows skiers to share that information via social-media sites (see Vail Resorts Links RFID With Social Media). The e-mail announced that EpicMix is now adding the ability to share professional photos of skiers taken on Vail’s trails.

“EpicMix is revolutionizing the way we ski—again,” the e-mail states. “The innovative app that tracks vertical feet and days skied is adding photo capabilities for this winter, making it even easier for skiers and snowboarders to share their on-mountain experience. Vail Resorts is eliminating paper lift tickets, and is instead offering each skier a reusable and durable card. These cards, along with every season pass and PEAKS card, will be enabled with RF technology, which on-mountain photographers will scan to deliver the pictures they take of you with your EpicMix account—free of charge. The new photo-sharing functionality officially launches in mid-December 2011.”

The e-mail links to a cool video explaining how the system works. The video shows how using RFID to identify skiers enables the resort to upload photos taken by its professional photographers to each skier’s EpicMix Web page. From there, the images can be shared with friends on Facebook and Twitter at no additional cost (though high-resolution images for printing purposes must be purchased).

What I love about this is that Vail Resorts is utilizing a new technology—RFID—to provide new services that will encourage customer loyalty. Vail won our 2009 RFID Journal Award for Best Use of RFID in a Product or Service (see Benefits Up and Down the Ski Slope). The resort has continued to build on the capabilities that the technology enables.

My hat is off to the company’s CIO, Robert Urwiler, who has led the effort. It took vision and a lot of hard work, I’m sure, to create an entirely new concept—and to bring together the technical components to make it work. But working, it is.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.