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Ski Resorts Adopt RFID for Lifts, Payments

SKIDATA is now piloting a UHF version of its RFID system to enable the capture of zone-based location information regarding lift tickets, while three more North American ski resorts are adopting the HF versions this season.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 16, 2017

Three North American ski resorts are adopting an RFID-based solution provided by SKIDATA, an Austrian access-control technology company, for this winter's ski season. The system leverages passive high-frequency (HF) RFID to provide access control and payment services. Several other resorts are testing the use of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID to gain additional functionality.

The HF 13.56 MHz-based solution is already in use at approximately 1,500 resorts worldwide, with the RFID tags built into lift tickets to enable skiers to access the slopes hands-free. UHF technology offers a further step, the company reports, by tracking the movements of skiers into some zones within a resort so that the company can better understand traffic movement. Panorama Mountain, in British Columbia, and Quebec's Bromont are using the technology for lift access and payments, while Snow King Hotel, in Wyoming, is in the process of installing the same technology for lift access.

Panorama Mountain has installed RFID gates to read lift cards at the resort's Mile 1 Express, Discovery Quad, Sunbird Chair and conveyor lifts. At its ski slopes, guests will be able to use SKIDATA's RFID-enabled lift-access cards, which are reusable during multiple seasons. A skier can reload his or her card by making a payment online or by phone, allowing that person to bypass ticket windows. Guests will also be able to use the cards, if they so choose, to sign up for Panorama's Resort Charge system, enabling them to pay for items at restaurants, bars or stores, and thereby eliminating the need to carry cash or a credit card on the premises.

SKIDATA is a 40-year-old international solution provider that specializes in professional access management and ticketing for ski resorts. With the opening of this winter's ski season, the firm is finding that the access-control adoption rate for RFID technology continues to pick up steam, says John Keefe, a SKIDATA sales professional. The company has offered its 13.56 MHz HF RFID-based lift tickets for slope access for two decades, and is now piloting its solution using UHF RFID technology, allowing greater functionality for skiers (due to its long read range), and more data for management regarding skiers' activities.

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