Meadows Blog

NO MORE TICKETS at Mt. Hood Meadows

New RFID gates and passes eliminate traditional lift ticket while providing more convenience, accurate vertical feet tracking and innovative products

Freemotion access gates at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski ResortMT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – The traditional lift ticket – a staple on guests at Mt. Hood Meadows and many other resorts – will no longer be used at the resort. Mt. Hood Meadows is installing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) gates at all of its lifts this summer, allowing guests to board lifts without showing their lift ticket. Guests will carry a unique RFID card or pass in their jacket or on an arm band. An embedded RFID chip triggers the gate to open for valid passes, eliminating the requirement for guests to present their pass or lift ticket for hand scanning.

Improving the Lift Boarding Experience - #1 Customer Complaint

Resort Executive Director of Communications, Dave Tragethon expects the new technology will have a significant improvement on the guest experience. “Showing a ticket or season pass for scanning, every time a lift is boarded is the number one guest complaint at Mt. Hood Meadows. The RFID access gates will allow instant and consistent verification, with the card or pass tucked securely in a guests’ pocket. Guests will no longer need to fumble for their ticket, holding up others for scanning. This will improve lift line flow and the overall experience. In essence, we are freeing our guests and our attendants from this challenging task, particularly during stormy weather. The system will also allow our tremendous Lift Operations staff to continue to focus on safety and hospitality for our guests.”

Accurate Vertical Feet Tracking Even on the Upper Mountain

Meadows will install the access gates at every lift, including the upper lifts where in the past the resort did not regularly scan passes. Passholders and guests who “claim” their day passes will be able to track their vertical online - every lift ride, every day, for the entire season.

New Products Encourage Repeat Visits Through Lower Prices

The technology brings with it new products that encourage repeat trips to Meadows, with lower prices.
•   A “Reload” card allows the user to “claim” their day on the mountain by registering the card later online. Then the owner can reload the card at reduced rates for future visits, and also keep accurate tracking of their vertical.
•   Credit Card Backed “Pay as You Go” passes – These products allow guests to purchase at a low price, and then pay a reduced day rate as they use their pass. Their credit card is automatically charged each day they use their pass at the pre-agreed upon rate, essentially allowing the pass holder to create their own mini-season pass.

The Last Pass You’ll Ever Need – A Sustainable Initiative

The Loyalty Passes issued this season can be conveniently renewed on-line, at the resort, or at the new Portland Sales and Communications Office (1202 NW 17th Avenue) and used at Meadows for as long as the RFID gate system is in place. Passholders will no longer need to have a new pass reissued each season, reducing the traditional PVC card stock cost as well as reducing the hassle and inconvenience of having to purchase new passes each year.

The day passes issued at the resort can be recycled and recoded for re-use on future days, again reducing the need for replacement stock. This is a system designed to eliminate waste that the old “lift ticket and wicket system” created, and significantly improve convenience and flexibility for loyal guests.

The FreeMotion.Gate is designed and manufactured in Austria by SkiData and has been widely used at European resorts for many years. The single-arm gate swings open once a verified pass signal is received. Meadows attendants will be stationed at each gate to assist guests. The gates are scheduled to be installed by October 2012, in time for the start of the 2012-13 season.

56 Comments

  1. Srikanth

    July 15, 2012

    This is awesome. It will definitely make the line move faster. Can't wait to see it. But can't read the text in the picture. Can post higher resolution picture please?

    Meadows: We'll get a higher resolution picture that you can click from that picture that's easier to read. Thanks!

  2. Rob

    July 16, 2012

    Thats cool and all, but I wonder how many jobs are lost by doing this as well.

    Meadows: We'll still have our friendly lift crew to help organize lines, load chairs and assist with pass verification. They just won't be scanning you.

  3. Langdon

    July 16, 2012

    Bottom Line, how much is my season pass going to go up this next season?
    Great idea though, I am excited about the vertical rewards and the vertical tracking...

    Meadows: we'll announce prices soon. vertical will be tracked from opening day although the rewards program may not be launched until later in the season.

  4. SkiBumStevo

    July 16, 2012

    Better late than never! Welcome to the 21st century Meadows...

    Meadows: Thanks. We're stoked about the technology and the improved guest experience it will bring.

  5. Bob Frapples

    July 16, 2012

    (1) Now it will be impossible to go around the people who wish to "rest" or "wait" for their homies in the entrance to the lift line. I particularly dislike the "Tonia Harding" stainless steel pipes that stand ready to whack or be whacked by our bodies with every passage. They are carefully minimized in the illustrations.

    (2) The lift lines will move considerably slower on weekdays the farther the gates are installed back from the actual loading zone, because there will be no more coasting up to the load. Any sno-borders will be at a particular disadvantage in moving along the flats after stopping for the Tonya Harding Robot with those things hanging off their legs. Perhaps the lines will be wide enough to go around them as they "rest" and "wait"?

    (3) Perhaps the RFID readers will gather our credit card numbers from the newer cards that have those implants. The information gathered can be sold! Accounts can be debited! "Mistakes" can be made!

    Meadows:

    (1) We'll encourage those waiting for others to wait outside of the que. The bar is designed to drop as you approach the gate - it is not like the old fashioned turn style.

    (2) Snow boarders currently unbuckle one boot before boarding. The gates will have handles on them for snowboarders and kids to pull themselves through. We'll also be grooming our mazes to create a little slope to assist flow through the gates to the lift boarding area.

    (3) The RFID readers do not gather credit card information. We do not share or sell customer information. There are new products that are credit card backed, and the cards will be charged at pre-agreed upon rates. This offers guests "direct-to-lift" convenience on a pay-as-you-go basis.

  6. Harrison

    July 16, 2012

    Dear Mount Hood Meadows,

    What about the people who do that job. Scanning tickets? Is that job going to be no longer available? Hope you're doing well.

  7. Kyle Sullivan

    July 16, 2012

    Replacing Jobs with machines... No thanks.
    I liked the old scanner people with smiles and friendly attitudes.
    Now, it'll just be pissed off lifties and technology like at Bachelor.
    Lame.

    Meadows: The RFID system will support our lift attendants and their efforts to provide efficient, friendly and consistent service to our guests. It's the best of both worlds - high tech and high touch. The technology isn't replacing our lift crew, it's making it easier for them to do their job.

  8. Scourge

    July 16, 2012

    A picture match? Does that mean that we have to remove our face gaiters and ski goggles to actually pass? I was one of the many people that requested rfid, but this just seems like an even bigger inconvenience, especially during windy days. This sounds horrible.

    Meadows: No worries. You don't have to remove goggles or hats. The cameras will assist us in verifying passes as an extra security measure. They're not used to control access - that technology is in your pass.

  9. k2skier

    July 17, 2012

    Bob Frapples has obviously never been through an RFID gate or been to Bachelor on a busy day! If you can't handle the turnstiles...well, Skibowl doesn't have gates.

    Thank you Meadows!

    Meadows: You're welcome. By the way, the free motion gate features just one arm, not 2 or 3 like other systems. That reduces the possibility of straddling. We're very confident in all aspects of the technology.

  10. Brian

    July 17, 2012

    Big improvement in my opinion. Great job.

    Meadows: Thanks!

  11. Impatient

    July 18, 2012

    Yes! Love it. If I'm not bombing down the hill, I'm unhappy. Less lines, more fulfilling. Bringing more order to the line experience is great. No doubt blacksmiths and buggy whip manufacturers complained about Henry Ford's automobiles eliminating their jobs, but the majority of us are happier.

  12. RIPPER MAN

    July 19, 2012

    Another Epic fail by Meadows....This is why I have not gone back to MEadows in 3 years..... Prices will go up watch...And this will slow the lines i guarantee that

  13. John

    July 19, 2012

    These machines are the reason I quit skiing at Mt. Bachelor. If you've ever been there, you know why. Trying to get little kids through the turnstile is a real pain. Then there is the whole issue of regrouping for the chair. It never seems to go smoothly.

    Checking tickets is always going to generate complaints, at least there was a smiling face doing it before.

    Please Meadows, learn how to make the lines go smoothly after the turnstile. Avoid the free-for-all combat that they have at Bachelor, or I'll be buying the Fusion Pass.

    If modernization is the goal, how about some more chair upgrades instead of useless marketing tools. A 6-pack chair at Mt. Hood Express would be a good start.

    Meadows: Thanks for sharing your concerns and giving us a heads up regarding kids and regrouping. Your suggestion for a 6-pack and more chair upgrades is noted.

  14. Steve Godino

    July 19, 2012

    Echoing the sentiment. I, for one, enjoy the opportunity to greet and be greeted by your lift operators/attendants. I look forward to a friendly smile and a chance to say "Thank You". My questions are:

    A. Are my lift prices going down due to the reduction in overhead? I.e. labor costs?

    B. Will the machines be getting full access lift passes for the season as a perk?

    C. Are the machines per-programmed to be cute and flirty, thus making and old knuckle dragged like myself feel relevant?

    I have never complained about the lifts at Meadows. In fact, I have always been an advocate for the system. If knuckleheads cannot figure out how to show their pass in a timely fashion, it sure as heck shouldn't cost some kid their job.

    Replace morons with robot skier/riders and let these people do their jobs.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. We'll be announcing season pass and day lift pricing soon. We will still have friendly lift attendants assisting you at the gates and boarding the lifts. The new technology doesn't get season passes (as our staff members do) and they are no where near as cute, flirty or friendly as our staff. But they will provide the convenience of not having to show your pass every time you board a lift, reliably and consistently.

  15. Andrei

    July 19, 2012

    I've used this system at several ski resorts in US and Europe - Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, or Alta/Snowbird are some of the geographically nearest examples - and generally found the experience with automatic gates more frustrating than beneficial. It felt to me like at attmept to cut costs at the expense of customer convenience. I hope the technology which Meadows is installing is more high end than what other resorts use.

    Here are the inconveniences which I noted for myself in the past:

    1. RF ID can be read reliably only when the ski pass is in a certain position relatively to the reader. Theoretically, you can keep your pass almost anywhere on your body. In reality, it means that either you should have a pocket in the right location and you are of the right height so that the pass is in the proximity of the reader and is read every time, or you have to wiggle your body in front of the reader until it reads your pass. I wear a special jacket with a pass pocket at the bottom of the jacket when I ski at Squaw to make it work more reliably.

    Meadows: Our scanners have dual sided antennas, and an extended antenna on the left side. We advise our guests to carry their RFID pass or card in their upper left hand pocket of their jacket, or on an armband on their left arm.

    2. Rotating turnstile in the gates which you need to turn with your legs and squeeze through with your gear SUCKS, SUCKS, SUCKS!!!
    Especially with gondolas (which Meadows does not have) where you need to carry all your gear. Especially if you are moving forward in anticipation that your pass will be read as you move and the gate will open - and it does not - than you bang your legs against the gate and it hurts. Happened to me more than once.

    Meadows: The FreeMotion Gate doesn't have a rotating turnstile. It features a single arm which drops when it receives the RFID signal, and then rotates back into position once you pass by an exiting sensor. This eliminates the leg bang and awkward straddling the old turnstile system had.

    3. As it was mentioned before, interaction with employees and joking with them was a part of experience which is lost with new gates.

    Meadows: We'll still have our friendly lift crew to organize lines into the gates and assist with boarding. Many will also become verifiers to assist you if there's a problem with your pass.

    4. At other resorts, I did not notice fewer resort employees by the gates than before RFID implementation. Instead of scanning the tickets, they were watching the monitors which show pictures on file and were looking at people's faces trying to find mismatches, were fixing problems with gates, and were helping customers to deal with the gates. Not sure where the cost savings lie if the same personnel has to be employed in a different function.

    Meadows: Our primary reason for the RFID gates purchase is to improve the guest experience in the lift lines. Our number one guest service complaint was having to present a pass for scanning every lift, every time. The gates will resolve that issue.

    5. Some resorts charge you a deposit for RF-ID card issued as a single-use ticket (up to $5 even though RF-ID costs pennies) which you can get back - but you have to hike to the ticket office and possibly wait in line to get this refund processed. Not an issue with season passes, or if you want to keep your card and reuse it. The advantage, though, is that it is possible to recharge your card on the internet or use autopay with a linked credit card.

    Meadows: The RFID card used for a day ticket can be "claimed" later online, and then used to reload return visits at discounted prices. We'll also have recycling "bins" for those to drop their cards in if they don't want to claim them online. We can recode and reuse the media for future days.

    Generally, my past experience with RFID gates led me to conclusion that availability of RFID system is a NEGATIVE aspect of the resort from the point of view of customer experience. With two resorts being equal, I would definitely go to the one without RFID. Did I say it also tends to increase customer's costs?

    Meadows: We wouldn't make this investment if we didn't believe it would improve our guest experience, so we disagree with your statement. But we are very much appreciate these comments and observations of the way the system has been used at other ski areas, so we can avoid some of those problems.

    As for the rewards program - I am curious what it will be. I was in a rewards program at Northstar at Tahoe for a few years, there was a charge associated with it (up to $70) but it was paying for itself for frequent visitors. I was getting a bunch of free lunches and free demos every year. There were also equipment discount coupons, but they were of little value since end of the season sale would bring the prices to the same level... There was also a separate line for Vertical Plus which sometimes was longer and sometimes shorter... But one had to go through it to get your vertical feet accrued. Eventually, N* found that mainly season pass holders were using it, and determined that it was not serving its goals and was not generating revenue, so they scrapped it.

    Not sure what is the value of vertical ft tracking these days, when many smartphones have GPS based applications which track vertical, speed, location, and much more for you.

    Meadows: We'll be tracking vertical from day one and guests will be able to pull up that information by logging into their account on our website. We will use the early part of the season to collect and analyze data, which will help us define what a vertical rewards program should be.

    Generally, the news of RF-ID gates is bad news for me (based on the prior experience). But let's wait until we get more details of its implementation at the Meadows.

    Meadows: we believe this is the right technology at the right time for Meadows and our guests. Thank you for making us aware of some of the issues you've experienced, so we can avoid them when we launch it here.

  16. Bill

    July 19, 2012

    Very nice and will provide more pricing options. Hopefully there will be enough gates, appropriately located, to manage the lift lines effectively on busy days.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post!

  17. wait inline

    July 19, 2012

    Single file lines to get through this gate. Really?? Here is another vote against the idea.

    Meadows: Our gates will be mounted on gantries. Quads will have four gates. Double chair lifts will have two gates. The pace of verification and "passing through" the gate should be faster than having one attendant / line hand scanning. But we'll adapt as necessary to make sure all systems are running smoothly and optimally.

  18. Meagan

    July 19, 2012

    I'm concerned about those "ticket scanning" people losing their jobs.

    It sounds cool and may be quicker like they say, but I WILL NOT be going to Mt Hood Meadows if I have to remove my ski mask for a pic just to get on the lift, Timberline or Ski Bowl will get my business if that's the case.

    Meadows: You won't need to remove your ski mask or any other clothing or accessories. The verification is done with the RFID chip in your pass. Our staffing levels will be very similar to past years even with the gates as we intend to still help group people together and assist with any gate issues. We will be more guest oriented and no more slow scanning. It all about fun from here on out!

  19. Telebobski

    July 19, 2012

    More info please...

    Will my pass be readable through a couple of clothing layers or do I need to have it visible like the current situation?

    Meadows: It will be readable through layers of clothing, although we suggest wearing it in the left hand breast pocket of your jacket for optimal reading. It does not have to be visible.

    Where do you plan on setting up these readers? I assume some distance back in the lines to keep things flowing through the chairs?

    Meadows: Correct.

    With no human to check, how will you know that my pass hasn't been stolen or loaned to someone else?

    Meadows: There are security measures built into the gates which provide our verifiers with background information on the pass purchaser. Our verifiers can pull up season pass pictures and other information at the gate. Those caught using passes belonging to others will be prosecuted for theft of services and lose future lift privileges to Meadows.

    Will I have to stop completely to go through the readers on a quiet day, or can some be moved out of the way to keep things moving? Will there be a way around them on quiet days?

    Meadows: Guests will go through gates every day, even the quiet days. But operating correctly, gates won't slow you down.

    What's the backup plan when these things malfunction on a busy weekend? They will ya know...

    Meadows: If it's a problem with the pass, we'll have verifiers to address those issues. If a gate itself goes down we have replacement units that are modular in nature, that can be replaced in minutes. If it's a major malfunction, we can place the gates in free passage mode to keep the lines moving and our guests happy. Data can still be collected for vertical tracking, and access verification can resume once the issue is addressed. We are investing in this technology not to interfere with our guest experience, but to improve it.

    And so you know, I ski at Meadows 35-40 times per season and couldn't care less about daily, weekly, etc. vert, number of runs or whatever. And if I did, I could just turn on a gps app on my smartphone. I do see why the devices cut labor costs and create upsell opportunities for the resort though.

    Meadows: It will be interesting to see how much vertical you accumulate this season! Thanks for the questions!



  20. Heather Chapin

    July 19, 2012

    All outdoor recreation and adventure benefits from LESS human presence via Machines; no thank you. Smiling, friendly lifties are part of the experience.

    For all the people who created the 'demand' for tracking vertical to the accuracy of exact feet. . . you are missing the point of the snowy mountain dance between people and humans in the present moment.
    Ever notice what life is like when you don't wear a watch or track stats?

    And Meadows. . .any person who really 'needed' to track their vert in the past could have looked at the mountain stats on the webpage or trail map and had FUN figuring that out for themselves. Ever considered that not everything should just be handed to people? Especially not EGO FOOD when you are in the business of a supposed spiritual recreation.

    There's Glory and there's consequence in life. These machines seem like consequence to me. As if FRAUD really was an issue. C'mon. Get a clue. . .a few people a season hiking up and into your resort would hardly put you out of business. What will affect business though are blockheaded, nature-insensitive, human-interefering, choices to use machines like these. Just because it seems like the 21st century way forward, doesn't mean it is. Watch out for illusions, ya'll!

    Meadows: We're not Cyberdyne Systems here creating Skynet =0} We're trying to improve the on-mountain experience, and make it easier for people to recall it and share it with others.

  21. rworegon

    July 19, 2012

    So, will we have to have our pictures taken with goggles, helmet, etc. on when the pass is issued? Or, take is all off each time we go through? I understand the fraud risk w/ RFID, but the picture seems problematic.

    Meadows: Pass pictures will be taken without goggles, helmet, etc. You won't need to take anything off as you go through the gate. The camera their is an additional security measure.

  22. loris

    July 19, 2012

    How many jobs were/will be created engineering, testing, building, selling, installing and servicing these machines? Great job Meadows. I can't wait for snow.


    Meadows: Good point - a project of this magnitude involves a major intradepartmental effort for planning, installation, training, coordination and communication. We're currently upgrading the wire network to the lifts with fiber, prepping the sites for gantry installation and configuring all the products (old and new) so we can thoroughly test well before we even start to sell the passes. We'll be ready when the snow arrives!

  23. Eric

    July 19, 2012

    Perhaps the best thing Meadows has done since the high speed lifts to truly enhance the guests experience. Well done!

    Meadows: Thanks! We're anxious to show our guests how well the new gates will work. See you on the mountain!

  24. Henry

    July 19, 2012

    Thank you MHM! This is an improvement; I have enjoyed this technology at other resorts. I'm not afraid of a turnstile gates, accountability for pass poachers, or wind on my face. It's easy to throw rocks, much harder to build a house, glass or otherwise.
    Naysayers and the perennially disgruntled bring it!
    No, I don't work for MHM.

    Meadows: We have been studying this technology for more than a decade. We feel the technology, and the talent within our company, and our commitment to improve the guest experience have all reached the point that now is the right time to investment in RFID gates.

  25. Ken

    July 19, 2012

    A very positive improvement for MHM. Lift lines will move more efficiently, riders will not be forced to unzip and rezip a jacket every ride, and overall costs will be reduced, freeing capital for further improvements to enhance the MHM experience. Yes, this is tardy in coming, but it is here. Congratulations.

    I have skied many areas in North America and Europe with RFID readers since their introduction in the Alps 15 years ago and have had zero problems with security violations. A sample of false fears based on ignorance.

    Meadows: Thank you for sharing both your enthusiasm for and real life experience with this technology.

  26. Lifty Dan

    July 19, 2012

    I'm surprised no one from the Management Team has made any comments on your questions. As a Lifty @MHM, I can promise you even MORE smiles and positive friendly attitudes! Scanning was not the favorite job for any of us Lifties. If the new system works half as well as what I've heard, it will mean joyful times for ALL!

    I'll try to give some input from a lifty's perspective:
    -No fewer jobs, we'll still be out there pointing you in the right direction.
    -The RFID gates should be about where the 'Wait Here' signs were. Clear the gate and move right up to the 'Load Here' signs.
    -There should still be plenty of "rest" and "wait" area before we funnel you towards the RFID gate.
    -As far as "The information gathered can be sold", MHM has to pay for the new system somehow . . . Just kidding! I really don't know about this. Most stores you go to now a days have RFID readers on the exits to watch for theft, do you go to stores?

    See you in a few months!!!

    Meadows: Thanks Lifty Dan for your sincere and direct response. You are definitely the right person in the right position for uplifting our guests!

  27. liftylove

    July 20, 2012

    I can understand many concerns people have with the RFID gates to be installed. Having been a lifty at Meadows in the past and being a technology buff, I would like to a few of these concerns by shedding some light on the situation.

    1) people are worried that these gates will replace lifties. This was a huge concern within the Lift Operations department last season and we were told that access gates would ONLY replace optical bar-code scanners NOT lifties. Anyone who has ever been up on slightly moist day knows that the optical scanners' performance degrades substantially in wet, stormy weather. Lifties will still be required to resolve the inevitable problems that arise, only now guests will not need to wait for a lifty's forsaken attempt to consecutively scan 100 wet bar-codes with a wet scanner lense (it just plain doesn't work well). These gates will seriously improve their ability to accurately validate passes / day tickets without killing jobs.

    2) "The lift lines will move considerably slower on weekdays the farther the gates are installed back from the actual loading zone, because there will be no more coasting up to the load. " Regardless of how much room a person has to "coast", each and every passenger needs to stop and wait at the "wait here" signs prior to following a chair to the "load here" signs EVERY TIME they load the chair. Not only is this the rule, it is for the safety of everyone riding the lift.

    3) "Any sno-borders will be at a particular disadvantage in moving along the flats after stopping for the Tonya Harding Robot with those things hanging off their legs. Perhaps the lines will be wide enough to go around them as they "rest" and "wait"?" Skiers and Snowboarders will be in the same position they have always been in, only now there will be gates rather than optical scanners. Skier's "rest" and "wait" too. Some of whom after "moving along the flats" "with those things hanging off their legs."

    4) "Perhaps the RFID readers will gather our credit card numbers from the newer cards that have those implants. The information gathered can be sold! Accounts can be debited! "Mistakes" can be made!" RFID--Radio Frequency IDentifier--technology does nothing beyond broadcast (a very short distance) a unique identifier which allows the gates to know who is trying to get up the lift. This is simply a much more reliable way of scanning your pass without having to use an optical bar-code scanner. RFID scanners will not collect credit card information (if they did, skidata and VISA would be in big, big trouble!); and therefore, this information cannot be sold. In order to charge a credit card at the lift, a person must authorize meadows to do so by enrolling a particular credit card. "Their credit card is automatically charged each day they use their pass at the PRE-AGREED upon rate, essentially allowing the pass holder to create their own mini-season pass." (see "New Products Encourage Repeat Visits Through Lower Prices" above)

    5) "Replacing Jobs with machines... No thanks.
    I liked the old scanner people with smiles and friendly attitudes.
    Now, it'll just be pissed off lifties and technology like at Bachelor.
    Lame." Once again, it will be the same PEOPLE but with MORE SMILES because they get to use BETTER, more RELIABLE technology. Trust me! I've been there! I loved everything about the lifty job except those optical scanners :)

    6) "A picture match? Does that mean that we have to remove our face gaiters and ski goggles to actually pass? I was one of the many people that requested rfid, but this just seems like an even bigger inconvenience, especially during windy days. This sounds horrible." This is a technology supported by the gates themselves; however, i'm sure that any facial recognition required would be performed by a real-life lift attendant because the technology is not easy to implement. Though it shouldn't need to happen every time, facial recognition was an integral part of fraud-prevention when I was there so I think it is unlikely to go away entirely.

    I am excited to see these in action at Meadows with all of its happy staff members! :)

    Meadows: These last two posts have come from a couple of members of our very talented and dedicated lift crew. They will continue to assist our guests and make the lift boarding experience efficient and fun. Kudos to our crew for the exceptional effort they make to improve the guest experience at Meadows.

  28. PCKayaker

    July 21, 2012

    -Kinda would like see to a "youtube video" on here about how the system works.
    -Are there back-up plans for if the system fails? (Computers- always seem to crash when needed the most) I would hate to miss powder lines while waiting for a system to reboot. Would the lifties be there to ensure that people are riding appropriate?
    -I know this in not always feasible at some of the lifts, but maybe a little side area for people to wait for their friends to catch up?
    -Are you planning on putting the scanners right before the load area where lines have already merged? Or before the load area where people are still merging? (Thinking right before the load area, after the merge might run a little smoother). Still would need the lifties to help direct on some busy days.

    Meadows: We'll have a video published shortly. We do have back up plans for system failure that places guest convenience first, with assistance from our stellar lifts crew. You are correct about the lift lines merging before the gates, organized by our friendly lift attendants.

  29. Jake

    July 21, 2012

    If I put one of the new passes in between the liner and shell on the left side of my helmet, would it still be able to be read by the gates?

    Meadows: It depends on how tall you are - but it will most likely work. We'd prefer that it be in the left inside pocket of your jacket however, as that is optimal.

  30. Singlemalt

    July 22, 2012

    Nobody has commented on the color screen display for messages. The whole thing will be worthwhile if up to date gate and lift information is displayed.

    I hope it works.

    When will pass pricing be announced?

    Meadows: That is one of the advantages of scanning, and the RFID system - we are able to present messages to pass holders, such as emergency messages if a member of their party is at the clinic. The display screen is used primarily for providing information on the pass - if there is a verification issue - not general messaging like lift status updates.
    We'll be announcing pricing soon - around the first week of August.

  31. Dan

    July 24, 2012

    A slower pace in the lift lines are never any good. Nobody want to pay to wait in line. So if this RFID system works to speed up that process, then it's an improvement.

    I like the renewable online credit card payments option for the “Pay as You Go” feature. Would this be a pre-pay option online for specific days or only charged when we get there and the pass is actually used? If pre-pay, can it be renewed that same morning one decides to go skiing? Suppose I renew a day-pass online on a Monday, can I use it on Thursday, or perhaps next Tuesday?

    Suggestion-
    Could an an additional option also be included to "Pay per each lift chair use" along with the renewable unlimited lift use full-day pass option?

    Here's why I'm thinking a "Pay per lift use" option could benefit many people in different situations;
    1. Perhaps this could be a better and more affordable option for those that prefer a slower pace on the slopes.
    2. It may also bring more people to the slopes more often if made more affordable to beginners and slower skiers who make relatively far fewer runs (and lift rides) than faster experienced skiers might do in the same day.
    3. Some people may just simply prefer to ski more slowly and enjoy the scenery and the view.
    4. Some may not be in any hurry to accumulate a vertical drop count nor perhaps want to feel rushed to achieve a certain number of runs that day to consider it worth the price of the full-day pass.
    5. For some days, people make the trip up there and the weather may hinder visibility and slowing them down considerably in the number of runs made at a safe comfortable pace.
    6. Some may only have a limited time that day to ski.
    7. Some may want to take photos of the view and therefore not using the lift but a few times at most that day.
    8. If only wants to make a few runs to test or demo new equipment to ski the full day 'tomorrow' or at another time.
    9. Day-pass pricing for some people and some situations can be like paying for the unlimited carnival rides for the one-price admission no matter how many times you rush to get back on the rides.
    10. Finally, some may simply want to take thier time and enjoy the day, be it on the slopes or down at the lodge.

    There may be more reasons out there too. Pricing per lift use can be based on the averaged number of lift use per average skier, and then priced proportionately over use per day up to matching the price of a day-pass as the beginner skiers become faster from experience, or if weather clears improving safe visibility allowing for faster runs and more lift rides.

    Please consider this option for the beginner and slower skiers, and those that only want or need to make a few runs and lift rides that day for whatever reasons.
    Or maybe I got this all wrong. Are we paying for the use of the chair lifts or for mountain access, or both for one price?

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Initially the pay as you go products will be charging at a daily rate (pre-agreed upon discount) but the technology will allow us to explore different opportunities, such as paying on a per/ride basis. We're excited about these opportunities and where the RFID gates and this technology can take us, especially as it helps provide custom solutions (payment plans to fit our guests needs.)

  32. Will

    July 25, 2012

    Thank you Meadows! RFID gates are going to be a great improvement. I love cruising all the way to the chair on slow days as much as anyone, but I am happy to give that up to have the RFID gates.

    I really don't understand all the whining...

    To those complaining about RFID at Mt. Bachelor: Really? REALLY? Are you sure you weren't just cranky the day you were there... or maybe just a very cranky person in general? If you think that's bad, maybe you should stay in the lodge... or even better, stay home!

    I get the feeling that the people complaining about how terrible RFID is going to be are the people who can never get through a lift line without causing a holdup no matter what the system is. Keep practicing on Buttercup, you'll figure out how to get on a chair like the rest of us some day!

    For everyone lacking any resemblance of a clue: do us all a favor and maybe try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing this year... no scary RFID gates for you to have to negotiate there!

    Thanks again Meadows!

    Meadows: Thanks for the post - it's a great reminder that if we enthusiastically embrace the technology and look at all the positives it brings, it will mean a more pleasant and fun day on the mountain for everyone - staff and guests!

  33. Aaron M.

    July 31, 2012

    Having seen these RFID systems rolled-out across the PNW, I'm beginning to wonder why every resort needs a separate set of tickets? Why not just create a universal RFID lift ticket which works across all resorts using the modern system to control chairlift access? You are employing the same system as Steven's Pass, WA (exact same gates from the exact same vendor) and there aren't differences in the way RFIDs work - it's a number encoded on chip which is backscattered using the energy of the radio wave on the reader. with some selection functionality to avoid reading undesired cards and some bits for checksumming and error correction.

    There is a LOT of unnecessary customer pain caused by multiple RFID tickets, passes, etc. If a customer skis at Meadows then forgets to remove the pass before skiing at Steven's then they'll be denied access at the gate. Not to mention the SkiData systems are prevalent through Europe (where they were conceived). Requiring duplicate tickets for the same underlying system is pointless, painful and less sustainable. A unified RFID ticketing system is obvious, optimally sustainable and useful for customers from around the world.

    Meadows: A very good point and something we are looking into. The media (the pass itself) is proprietary to the system it accesses, so each manufacturer designs, manufacturers and produces its own "chips" that work with its own system. This is done largely to prevent counterfit media from being produced, as the more "open" they make their system the more susceptible it is to counterfitting. But as you mention, the SkiData gate system is in use at other resorts such as Steven's Pass, creating the opportunity for shared recognition of our media. It is something we have considered and preliminary discussed, but we want to implement the technology here at Meadows with our passholders and make sure it works properly before opening it up to other resort's media.

    Thanks for the post!

  34. sam

    July 31, 2012

    Will your pass track you off mountain? Will you know I spent last weekend at the coast?

    Meadows: You weren't at the coast last weekend - you were floating the White Salmon. Just kidding. No the technology doesn't keep track of you off the mountain. It doesn't even track you on the mountain, other than at each of our lifts.

  35. Laura

    August 3, 2012

    Good on ya about the RFID gates.

    So we will need to get a new pass this coming season as opposed to just renewing it online due to the new technology? Just wondering...

    Meadows: Good question - and yes we'll be reissuing all passes this season. Everyone will need the RFID pass media (the old pass won't be recognized by the gates.) We'll announce our picture taking schedule shortly.

  36. Kevin

    August 3, 2012

    Won't this encourage people to share a single unlimited pass, say on alternate days, since it could be neatly tucked away in one's clothing and not checked visually?

    Meadows: We'll still be taking pictures of our loyalty pass holders, and verifying the pictures at the lifts on hand held tablets. It actually provides a better picture of the pass holder than the one that is printed on the pass. Certainly fraud is always a concern, as it adds cost to our operation in establishing preventative measures and enforcement. Those caught defrauding us will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and will lose pass privileges to Meadows. And because the gates require everyone to be verified successfully for passage, the technology has a history of better identifying and reducing fraud.

  37. Parkie

    August 14, 2012

    It would be nice to see money put into your parks. That's why a lot of people buy passes at meadows. I guess we'll jib the gates if that's what were paying for:)

    Meadows: With the purchase of the Bison X last season, the expertise of our freestyle grooming team and a dedicated parks hand crew, we're confident Meadows parks will shine again this season.

  38. shredin

    August 16, 2012

    If it sucks you can always do away with it. If it makes things better, great! We'll see on opening day suckas. But what I wanna know is if I'm wearing my pass over the left side of my chest like I'm suppossed to... What kinda weird frequencey is beaming towards my ever lovin mountain heart??? I take more than a couple runs every season...what is the actual exposure here? Love easy ridin, hate tech exposure...where's that leave me? Hopefully not just at old school skibowl (which I love ) but let's face it, all the terrain on Hood is Awesome and I want my powder stash at Meadows baby.

    Meadows: We're excited about the technology and are confident in our ability to plan for and deploy it so as to improve our guests experience. We are stoked! There has been much published about RF and health concerns - mainly with cell phones. The RFID tags are passive - they're not battery powered and they emit a very small signal. RFID Journal, one of the preeminent sources of RFID information, states that “The World Health Organization’s research, as well as many other scientific studies, have shown that EMF exposure below the limits recommended in internationally adopted guidelines has not revealed any known negative health effects.” (For more information on potential health issues, visit www.rfidjournal.com) The technology has been utilized, monitored and regulated for decades in Europe, without any health effects. Our guests should be more concerned about the radiation emitted by the sun and adverse health effects of solar radiation - much more pervasive than the RFID tag.

  39. James

    August 18, 2012

    One of the main problems with the lift lines on Mt Hood (not just Meadows) is the inability or unwillingness of people to group up and fill the chairs. The lifties not only scan the tickets but also have to exert a fair amount of pressure to get people to group up and fill the chairs on a busy day. The RFID devices force people to que up in a more orderly fashion, at least at other places I've been. Hopefully the lifties can spend their time assisting the flow of people through the lines.

    Meadows: A very good point that is worth reinforcing with all of our guests. Grouping up and riding with others on a lift ride is a big part of the social nature and "fun" of this sport. So "insisting" on keeping the group together is not only important for chair efficiencies, but could also create opportunities for making friends and creating ride buddies.

  40. mike swartz

    August 18, 2012

    in meadows we trust. as long as the lifty's are still there because they rock and it is not at all like the bachelor experience than all will be well. it is too bad that the number one complaint is showing a pass as i have never had anything to complain about as far as meadows goes. i'm sure you will do it right. has anyone else noticed all the paranoid posts?????? kinda scary. rock on meadows !

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. We believe the greatest savings in time will be not having to fumble for a pass or a lift ticket (particularly on stormy days) while others wait behind you while you're getting scanned. The gates will read and verify passes much more quickly and consistently. 5 to 10 seconds per scan multiplied by thousands of people taking dozens of runs each day adds up to a tremendous amount of time savings. We're stoked!

  41. J.Blazer

    August 24, 2012

    Above it states "We'll be announcing pricing soon - around the first week of August." We are now almost in the last week of August. I'm curious to see what all this new technology will do to the season pass price.
    I hope this will free up time for the lifties to rake the lift line. HRM and Shooting Star become ice skating rinks during busy days.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Good points - the official announcement will be coming out this week - and season passes will be on sale on our web site by the end of the week as well.

  42. Meadows Lark

    August 26, 2012

    I think the gates are a bad idea, but I really don't care as long as I'm not paying for them. I better see lower ticket prices all around, or I may not be at Meadows much this year.

    You can sit and give all your excuses, but the only TRUE reason for Meadows to do this is to limit payroll costs. It has NOTHING to do with making things better for your guests. A one time purchase of machines is always cheaper than paying the continual costs of managing employees, common and sad business knowledge these days. Part of the separation and distanting of social-classes, with all the benefit going to management and makes the lower skill set jobs less available. You can try to pretend that is not the case, but we aren't stupid. We all know the real reasons Meadows went this route. Sad, but not really unexpected.

    So bottom line for me, if you are saving that much money (and you ARE diminishing the service of your resort), then I should not have to be paying as much to ski there.

    Awaiting your response through pass pricing...

    Meadows: Certainly we strive for efficiencies in our operations, particularly when prudent investment improves the overall experience. Please check out the video regarding lift attendants and how RFID will improve their overall experience as well. It is a major investment, but we think you'll see we're offering our season passes at very affordable prices.

  43. G.Cooper

    August 28, 2012

    This is the same system they have at Bachelor. The last time I was there it didn't work very well. I hopy your system works better

    Meadows: While Bachelor uses RFID, we're using SkiData gates with RTP software which we've used to run our ski resort for several years. Until recently, SkiData owned 25% of RTP, so their hardware and software is very compatible. We also learned much from the integration of hand scanning over the past three seasons with RTP. Essentially, the gates replace the scanners (a major improvement in verification and efficiency). We're confident this investment will improve the guest experience at Meadows.

  44. chris

    August 29, 2012

    What happened,
    You had the new pass pricing blog up on Monday, then it was gone!
    Maybe you pulled it to lower the prices, NICE!!!!
    Thanks

    Meadows: I had set this up as a "timed" release to be published at the preset date and time. For some reason it published before the preset time, so we removed it. We'll post it when season passes go on sale on our web site, which will be this week.

  45. 90's were better

    September 5, 2012

    are there gonna be special VIP lanes for your special VIP guest?

    Meadows: The lift mazes we are designing will be very similar to the mazes in the past - they'll just direct our guests to a "deposit" point in front of the gate instead of directly onto the chair. So we'll be taking into consideration singles lanes and ski school lanes as we have in the past, but not specifically a VIP guest lane. All of our guests are VIPs!

  46. Evan Liddle

    September 12, 2012

    i assume that we can not use our season passes from last year so we will have to go in to get new passes?

    Meadows: Yes. All previous passes will be invalid as they do not have the RFID compliant (they have not chip). So we'll be reissuing all passes this season. The good news is the passes issued this season can be renewed in perpetuity - or at least as long as we have RFID gates.

  47. Tristan Seyer

    October 12, 2012

    Will we have to get the chip exclusively at meadows ar will it be already installed when buying from REI for example?

    Meadows: The passes we are issuing this year have the chip inside it. So once you receive your pass, you can proceed directly to the lift.

  48. John Felix

    October 15, 2012

    Will this work for season passes?

    Meadows: Yes - all pass media has the chip inside - so everyone riding at Meadows whether they have a season pass or a day pass will have easy and convenient access through the gates.

  49. Lewis

    October 23, 2012

    Hey Meadows! Here's hoping the RFID gates make the lift operator's job easier and make everything run more smoothly in the lift lines. I'm stoked for another great ski season with all the great folks at MHM.

    Meadows: We're stoked as well for all the above reasons! See you on the mountain!

  50. BJ

    November 1, 2012

    I am concern about grouping with my little kids. How this should work when I always go with two of my kids (now 5 & 6) and I HAVE to go with them on the same chair. Do we stand all next to each other on different gates or on the same and regroup after the gate. So many times happened with them in past that they are just stuck in the line (twisted ski, moving backward..) and I need to help them.
    I always go by myself with two of them.

    Meadows: We will have lift attendants to assist you at the maze and through the gates. We believe once everyong has gone through the system a few times we will have a very good flow. Thanks for the post - can't wait to see kids on the mountain!

  51. Robert

    November 4, 2012

    Im curious about the camera/fraud prevention part of this. Are we going to have to remove goggles and masks to get through the gate every time?

    Meadows: Thanks Robert. We invested in these gates increase convenience for our guests. No goggle or mask removal is required.

  52. TR

    November 5, 2012

    Any health concerns with repeated passes through the power reader and height scanner? Please provide a study, not an opinion. What is the relative transmission strength of the reader compared to the grocery store and to a cell phone? Are the RFIDs passive or active? If active, what is their transmission strength?

    Please take my questions seriously, thanks.

    Meadows: Thaks for the question. The RFID media is passive. The gates generate an electro-magnetic field. Here's what the manufacturer - SkiData - has provided regarding the gates.

    "SKIDATA RFID readers are electronic devices that produce an electro-magnetic field like any other electronic device used for hands-free technology. SKIDATA therefore recommends advising customers of the existence of this electro-magnetic field.

    As a company that is following highest quality standards in the industry, SKIDATA is developing its devices in accordance with the state-of-the-art technologies. SKIDATA has deployed more than 15,000 devices with RFID technology worldwide for over 20 years without a single health problem caused by the usage of its RFID technology. Additionally, SKIDATA is conducting research on the influence of electro-magnetic fields on implants, such as pacemakers. A study by an independent research center has confirmed that the proper operation of SKIDATA access systems does not lead to a health risk for persons wearing pacemakers."

  53. Alex

    November 8, 2012

    My home resort (Stevens pass) installed these couple years ago and they are super convenient! No lines even on busy days, everything is smooth. Last season when I visited meadows 4 times, the whole scanning thing annoyed me. I'm happy you guys installed these and I'm excited to visit this season!

    Meadows: Thanks Alex. We are using the same system as Stevens Pass - so we know it works in a similar climate and conditions. You're not alone in your feeling about being annoyed by scanning. It was our number one customer complaint the past several seasons.

  54. Lisa

    November 12, 2012

    Bachelor put in gates years ago, and it was a disaster; difficult to get through, awkward, and even worse for boarders, I imagine, as they do not naturally move at the 90 degree angle necessary for the gates to function. Meadows' problem has always been with it's organization- at Whistler, lines are integrated perfectly (well, usually)- lines progressively merge, two together at a time, until loading. This method never requires the liftie yelling "front line out" so common, and exasperating, at Meadows. I just bought my pass, but am now feeling pretty darn bitter about this. Another misstep, it seems. I always hated those gates at Bachelor, in fact it discouraged me from making the trip. I can only assume that the Meadows execs did public research about this, but darn. What a nasty, unfortunate nusiance to throw at us.

    Meadows: Thanks for sharing - and it is unfortunate that your first impression has created such a disfavor for these gates. The SkiData hardware (gates) is much improved over what you experienced at Bachelor. The old fashioned paddles or turn style has evolved into a single drop bar - much more friendly for our guests. The system uses near field technology, which "talks" to your pass as you enter the gate so there's no awkward trying to get your pass lined up with a reader. The gates also have handles to make it easier for our snowboarding guests. We're excited about the gates and believe you will too once you try them.

  55. Tom

    November 13, 2012

    Great idea. No more empty chair seats on powder days while scanning slows the line.

    Now go get that 14 inches of snow packed into place!

    Tom

    Meadows: We're working on it!

  56. Snowman

    March 13, 2013

    Can lifties track what chair a person is on with this technology?

    Meadows: Not exactly. We can run reports by gate access time, so we would know what the last lift someone boarded, and the time they boarded it. But there isn't any real time tracking, beyond the access gate.

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