Meadows Blog

Gantries Arrive for RFID Gate Installation

A semi truck rolled into the Meadows parking lot today, carrying the gantries fabricated in Europe in May and June and shipped to Meadows just before the 4th of July. Eleven gantries - five of them "Sleds" and six "fixed" - were fabricated in Switzerland. Our RFID gates (which arrived a few weeks ago) will be hung from these gantries at each of our lifts.

Thanks to Steve Warila for the photos.

 Our crews have been busy this summer, upgrading our mountain network from copper wire to fiber optics which will increase data transmission speed and provide greater reliability. Foundations have already been poured for the fixed gantries which will be installed this month.

Teams from Ski Data will be here in three weeks train our crews and install the 35 gates which will be used this season for pass verification at our lifts. The installation is scheduled to be completed October 17 - so if we do get an early snow we'll be ready!

 

12 Comments

  1. k2skier

    September 14, 2012

    Which lifts will get fixed gantries? I assume that the double chairs will each have 2 RFID gates? Will the Magic Carpet have one?
    With 35 gates, that only leaves 4 each on all HSQ, seems low; will you be installing more gates in the future?

    Meadows: We'll have fixed gantries at Easy Rider, Vista, Blue, Mt. Hood Express, Stadium and Hood River. We'll also have one gate for the Fun Zone. Our high speed quads will have four gates each. Keep in mind that the mazes will be set up feed the gate, and having four gates is more efficient than having four hand scanners.
    Early season we may need to use one of the sled gantries probably from Cascade (until it opens) at Mt. Hood Express until we get enough snow to build the maze out. We're excited to execute on these plans - we've given a lot of thought and study into making this installation flawless.

  2. Carl

    September 14, 2012

    Nice upgrade! Meadows continues to get better and better and yes better!

    Meadows: Thanks Carl! We're stoked about the season and welcoming our loyal guests!

  3. Steep & Deep

    September 15, 2012

    That time of the year is getting closer by the minute to dropping into the deep powder! I think these new gates will be good for the mountain and hopefully will help with the lift loading ops. I find it a little funny that these were shipped to Meadows on July 4th and are just pulling into the parking lot this week; now that is a slow boat to China (US).

    Here's a suggestion for season pass discounts next year maybe; how about a multi-year pass at a discounted rate? e.g. 2 yr (10% off early season pass price), 5 yr (20% off early season price). Just a thought..........

    With November will come wonderful powder..............

    Meadows: Thanks Steep! Great thought on the pass suggestions. The new RFID media pretty much lasts forever - or at least as long as we have RFID gates. We are very interested in creating a membership of loyal passholders so this may be the beginning of that. Regarding the transporting of the gates - in addition to the time at sea, there is a considerable amount of time to clear customs once the crate arrived here. We worked closely (read this as applied a great deal of pressure) to our software and hardware partners in this RFID project to assure we could complete the installation before the snow flies.

  4. Craig

    September 20, 2012

    Have to say I am worried about your new RFID gates. Stopped going to Bachelor mainly because of the RFID gates causing such a cluster f and empty chairs. Discovered Whistler and would rather drive the extra hours so I could actual spend less time in line and on the mountain. One lifty per lift and never an empty chair. Maybe you should invest in math and manners classes. Will you remove them if they don't work? Why do you need to check for passes at the upper lifts? I love Meadows I just can't say I enjoy the long lines on the weekend and the rude people always cutting while chairs go up empty. Invest in learning how the #1 ski destination does it. Or work on crowd control.

    Meadows: Thanks Craig. We're confident that our RFID installation will be successful, making the lift boarding experience less of a hassle and maximizing chair occupancy. Failure is not an option =0}
    We've installed the gates at all lifts for several reasons, including being able to provide a complete record of vertical feet accumulation. This was a request made by many of our passholders who wanted to keep track of their upper mountain lift vertical. It also assures the same verification for the upper lifts as at our base area lifts. Without verification, one hike in the morning and the rest of the day would be free.

  5. dan

    September 28, 2012

    Our crazy warm/dry fall weather is starting to freak me out a little bit. Anyone seen a long-range forecast from NOAA or anywhere that can shed some light on what to expect this winter?

    Meadows: Enjoy the weather while you can! It's allowing us to get the RFID gate installation completed as well as a number of other on mountain projects ready for the season. Get ready for the "SNAP" in mid-October - it feels like an Indian summer that is going to turn right into winter.

  6. Austin

    October 1, 2012

    Hey Meadows, This is a little off topic i just wanted to say THANK YOU for having the private reserve. if been looking for this type of terrain forever and i finally found it. I have been to every area in PR except god wall because i cant find. maybe you could give me a point of reference for next season? But anyways One possible request maybe you could have like signs posted on trees pointing to the general direction of where the run is? Thanks Meadows.

    Meadows: Private Reserve is awesome and we're glad you enjoy it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Steve

    October 2, 2012

    F those gates!!! How do you expect people to afford the $89 daily lift tickets? You are raping people out of hard earned money they don't have.. And what about the following year? You going to raise the prices to over $100 so you only can see the season pass holders?? Shame on you guys for what you charge now!

    Meadows: The $89 peak day rate is much more a factor of managing peak day parking than it is a cost of the gates. Keep in mind, the peak days are December 26 - 31 and Saturdays and Sundays in January and February. That's 22 days out of a season scheduled for 150+ days. The off-peak day price is $74 and we encourage our guests to plan their visits accordingly. If you do come peak days, you should consider the Meadows Club Card - it's $99 and you get your first day free, then every fifth time free, while saving $10 off peak day visits ($15 off off-peak visits). Or you can take your day pass home with you, claim it online, and reload it in advance online and save $5 your next visit. We are providing many different ways to reduce the cost of riding Meadows. We haven't established pricing for next season, but we have no plans to increase the price to more than $100.
    Steve - it is not our intention to take money from anyone. We strive to offer an exceptional experience for our guests with great value. We reward loyalty with even more affordable pass pricing. We hope you take advantage of the different products we offer.

  8. Chris

    October 10, 2012

    Although I can't talk to the efficacy of the RFID gates and how they will affect skiers, I cannot help but think that there are lots of vendors in the United States that could have built these "gantries" and "sleds", keeping the manufacturing costs within our borders. Your restaurants try to buy local, your maintenance and facilities departments need to do the same.

    Meadows: We considered several vendors for the gantries, but selected STA because they have a proven record of success in integrating their systems with the Ski Data gates. In fact, both the variable height gantries and the sleds are enhanced designs customized to our needs. This installation is significant and we wanted to make sure all the components worked together flawlessly.

  9. Mark

    October 31, 2012

    Comments to all the above.... Sure you heard it before, but saying it again. Did you ever query whether visitors wanted RFID at all lifts and rates increases well over 10% for all options to cover the costs? You basically eliminated all local discounts for Jan/ Feb w/e's and overall (costco, REI... pls state any I missed), forcing longer term pass options like 10x and season pass to get decent value. Yeah meadows club card cleverly priced at +$10 over one peak day! Pass holders will fill your lots on peak weekends alright (unless El Nino speaks up), so the folks that can't justify the longer term passes for work related or other reasons are just plain out of luck, or pay a rates close to what Whistler and Vail charge??? Senator you're no Whistler even though they use lame old scanners only at the base!

    Just can't justify making another commitment to Meadows, unless you make a strong case by 11/4. Looks like I'll be going elsewhere, and showing up there purely out of convenience when needed... maybe cough up $99 for club just because I love to ski and can't always launch off further.

    Meadows: Your post illustrates our the dilemma that the Peak parking situation creates. The strong case we provide for purchasing a pass at Meadows - whether it's a season long pass, a night pass or the new Meadows Club card, is to continue to operate consistently and efficiently for the enjoyment of our guests. Yes, we did query our guest about the new technology, and this improvement is by far the most requested in order to eliminate the hassle of having to show a pass every time you board the lift (number one customer complaint). We opted to install gates at every lift in order ot provide a complete record of vertical for those who are tracking it. We sincerely wish you'll join us again for a great season.

  10. Tom Weis

    November 5, 2012

    "We opted to install gates at every lift in order to provide a complete record of vertical for those who are tracking it".

    That still feels very Big Brother to me. Who's tracking who? This isn't 1984.

    Meadows: With hand scanning the past few seasons, lift riding information was already being collected. A good number of our guests wanted to review their lift riding history, but found it to be incomplete since we weren't scanning at Cascade, Shooting Star and Heather. Now with gates at all lifts this history will be complete. The scan data in aggregate will also be helpful in determining lift usage, changing traffic patterns and developing custom products for our guests. You are correct in that this is not 1984. We plan to use this technology to improve the experience for our guests.

  11. Sean

    November 16, 2012

    I'm curious about the total cost of the gantries and their installation. How long was the development cycle to get this system production ready?

    Meadows: Thanks for the question. We don't disclose the specific costs of our improvement projects, but we can speak to the development cycle. RFID gates have been studied for Meadows for 15 years. We began serious discussions with RTP (now Active Networks) which provides our point of sale system, and SkiData the gate manufacturer about three years ago. Our lift / gate locations have been studied the past two years with both summer and winter visits by representatives of each company to determine gate placement and infrastructure. We also visited other ski resorts that have similar installations, two of them while the installation was in progress. We can't wait for the snow to get the mountain open and use our new system!

  12. PowderBud

    November 27, 2012

    I am puzzled by the admiration of this turnstile system. I stopped skiing at Bachelor years ago largely due to the employment of this system. Does anybody actually like using these? I grew up in OR and still visit family there, but I am awfully glad none of these exist in CO or UT where I ski. The turnstile is a pain at best. I watched other skiers continuously get tangled up in the thing, drop items, have to fuss around to collect themselves all day long. What a pain! The RFID systems we have (and are showing up in a lot of resorts) have no bars to pass through. End result: smooth, easy movement to the lift for the customers which equals HAPPY customers. Sorry to see that MHM, my fave ski area in OR has bought into this boat anchor. I'm sure they got a great deal.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Our technology is much advanced beyond what was introduced at our neighbor Mt. Bachelor. First of all - it's not a turnstyle. There's a single bar which drops once the access is verified for your media. This creates only a slight pause (if any) at the gate before passing through. The older versions which used paddles or turnstyles did have issues with guests getting tangled up or hit. This system is much better. The guests who have been up this early season say it is much improved over the hand scanning we've employed the past several years. While the gates and the improved infrastructure is a considerable investment, it is well worth the cost to improve our overall guest experience and enjoyment. We hope you have a chance to visit and give it a try!

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