Meadows Blog

Gate Installation Underway

A crew of installers from Ski Data are on-site to install the access gates at our lifts in preparation for the season. Following an intense training session for Meadows staff members, the crew proceeded to the Stadium lift where these photos were taken.

In total, 35 gates will be installed over the course of the next two weeks. In preparation for the install, Meadows worked diligently to upgrade the copper wire network serving each lift location with fiber optic - to create a faster and more reliable network. "Fixed" gantries were constructed at Vista, Stadium and the Hood River Express high speed lifts, and "variable height adjustable" gantries were constructed at Easy Rider, Blue and Mt. Hood Express. These gantries allow for nearly 7 feet of travel to adjust the gantry to the changing snow depths. Cascade, Shooting Star, Daisy, Butter Cup and Heather will use "sled" gantries, which can be moved for grooming, and then slide back into place again.

The entire installation is scheduled for completion October 17.

16 Comments

  1. Steep & Deep

    October 12, 2012

    Honestly, if these gates work as well as I have seen at other resorts they will expedite getting on to the lifts; note at other resorts the lifties stay out of the way completely. Let's pray for a great ski season and may it begin on or before Thanksgiving; nice to see the rain back down here.

    Meadows: We're doing our snow dances - and it looks like they're working!

  2. snobnd

    October 12, 2012

    I have to say, I told every one of you managements types about the RF gates I had experienced at Stevens Pass, and you listened! Thanks! The scan gun was a limiter! If you set up the corrals right, things will move well. Thank you for more runs! Good work improving the experience for us as the costs rise. -snobnd

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Our guests did told us that their least favorite part of the experience at Meadows was having to show their pass every time they boarded the lift. The new gates will eliminate this hassle making for a better overall lift boarding experience. We're still listening - so we can make the experience even better in the future!

  3. k2skier

    October 23, 2012

    The gates are too close to the lifts. If you did it like Bachelor, you would go throught the gate then quad up. The way you have it set up is to quad up then go through the gates, this will cause backup issues & open chairs when the gate fails to open. I like the RFID gates, cautiously optimistic about the placement...

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. There's enough room between the gate and the lift boarding area to cue up five or six foursomes. We're designing the mazes to group foursomes to pass through the gate together. We believe this will provide the best way to keep the lines flowing and each chair full.

  4. Chaz

    October 29, 2012

    Curious you guys are installing gates on all chairs - in particular heather and shooting star. Stevens Pass only scans the lower lifts - even their backside chairs which can be accessed via x-country trails like Heather aren't scanned or will you be moving to a point system like Bachelor?

    Meadows: Having gates at every lift gives us more flexibility in designing and customizing products for our guests. A point system is one of those options, although we need to monitor usage to determine what would work best. Many of our guests like to keep accurate track of their vertical, and having gates at every lift allows us to do so.

  5. local

    October 30, 2012

    if rfid doesnt work, you should think about aquiring hair samples or installing retinal scanners.

    Meadows: We've been doing that for the past 10 seasons. (Just kidding =0} RFID will work.

  6. Mac

    November 15, 2012

    Are these new gates the reason for $89 lift tix? Vale, Co lift is 90 and the ski area must be 10 times the size and fun of Mt. Hood. Despite the season passes, how is $89 justified on days that you probably would only get a few runs in because of the lines? I just can't see getting $89 worth of skiing on meadows for anyone.

    Meadows: Good question. First, our regular lift day pass price is $74, which includes an open to close (even valid evenings) pass. On Peak Days the price is $89. Peak Days are December 26-31 and Saturdays and Sundays in January and February. The Peak price is more related to parking capacity than it is to the gates or other improvements at Meadows. For those who can only come up on Peak Days, we've created the Meadows Club Card, which offers your first day free and $10 off each Peak Day visit (direct to lift charged to your credit card). Your 5th time is free as well.
    We have also added extra shuttle buses from Portland on these Peak Days - and a round trip bus ride with day pass is $89. We're committed to reducing the likelihood of turning away guests on these peak days through the promotion of ride share, shuttle buses for guests (and our staff members) and providing incentives to ride Off-Peak.
    Thanks!

  7. NATO

    November 26, 2012

    FINALLY!!!!! What a difference!

    No more:
    - ticket troll (she knows who she is)
    - merging
    -waiting
    -attitude

    The best change Meadows has made in over a decade. Can we ask for new terrain to be opened now? Thanks to all who made this possible.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post! Let's get some more snow, get the terrain we already have opened, have a great season then talk about new terrain in the future! Here's to a great season!

  8. Larry

    November 28, 2012

    After standing 15 minutes in line at an event to get my pass earlier this month, it did not work at the lifts, and I had to go back inside to Passholder Services and get it fixed. I understand those things happen, but I was not happy! It worked great after that, and I agree it's a huge improvement. However, I'm curious about 2 things: (1) How are you going to keep people from "lending" their passes to others, since you're not checking them, and (2) At the MHM base, I can see people, especially little kids, struggling to get up the incline to the gate. Are you not expecting this to be a problem once there's more snow?

    Meadows: Thank you for the post and we apologize for the inconvenience. We strived to configure every pass correctly at the pre-season pass issuing events, but as you experienced we weren't 100% successful. We're running internal reports to verify that all media has an RFID profile associated with it to fix any of these problems before a problem pass hits the gates.
    We are verifying pictures as our guests go through the gates - we just no longer have to look at the pass. Your picture appears on the tablets our verifiers have at each gate, so we're still performing the same picture verification as we have in the past.
    And we do expect our mazes to improve as we receive more snow. Most of the snow at our gates, lift mazes and ramps was from the parking lot, thanks to the "dump cat" transport we rented. Once we get up to a normal snowpack - say four to five feet - we'll have ample snow to build out these mazes per our regular season design.
    Thanks for the post!

  9. Frederic

    November 28, 2012

    I'm not sure about the wisdom of replacing US jobs with machines built by Swiss workers, but it is a fact that the new gates work pretty well. Count me amongst those who'd rather interact with a bunch of surly, hungover lifties than with a stainless steel bar, but this definitely constitutes an interesting twist on outsourcing.

    Whoa, that is a massive hill at MHM base. Speeding into the maze at approx. 30 mph lets one glide suavely to a complete stop in front of the gates, however. You could do this today because there were about 6 skiers on the mountain, but if the incline is that steep when things get busy, it'll be interesting.

    Where online is the vertical feet tracking page to be found?

    Meadows: Thanks for the post! The new gates are working awesome, and as you probably saw, we still have lift attendants to greet and assist guests at our lifts. Our current maze set up is influenced by the low snow - we used parking lot snow to build them up to this point, and as we get more snow we'll be able to contour and slope the mazes better.
    You can check your vertical at http://www.skihood.com/LiftAccessPage

  10. John

    December 2, 2012

    While riding the Blue lift today with no lift line (thank you very much), I was shocked by how many chairs I saw going up MEX with just singles and doubles. One thing your Lifties will have to do with this new RFID is to be much more aggressive in Quad'ing people up.

    I'm seeing you are having the same problem as other resorts do *after* the gate. People are to easily de-Quaded.

    No Lift Line control on STAR? You will have to have Lifties with strong personalities who can take charge, herd people into Quads, monitor the progress going through the gates (and adjust) to get those chairs filled!

    I'm sure you've already realized the Singles line needs to merge in at the gate (Opening day was kinda silly where on MEX it was set further back). I expect this to get better with more snow and room for the corals.

    Meadows: Thanks for the observation and suggestion to get our guests quaded up better at Mt. Hood Express. There is a certain amount of guest ambivalence here, with some wanting to separate from others for their own private ride with friends. And the low snowpack we currently have also contributes to this problem. The natural contour of the ground is more prevalent in the maze footprint. This is especially noticeable with the maze lines leading to the gates on Mt. Hood Express. The current maze is constructed entirely from snow hauled form the parking lot. Once we get more snow we'll be able to fill in the wetlands area (with snow) and expand the maze lift lines in front of the gates, designing the grade to flow better. This will provide more "pressure" at the through point of the gates, more consisently filling the corral cue for lift loading.
    Singles lines are a different issue. We expect our guests to enter our quad (or double lift lines on double lifts) lines and quad up with others to create four somes. The singles line is used only to add to doubles and triples who haven't created a foursome yet. It is not intended to create a chair of just singles. So our advice to singles is to go to our normal maze, not the singles maze, especially if the singles line is long.

  11. Mike

    December 17, 2012

    My kids struggle to get the gates to read their RFIDs (they are too short with the IDs in their pockets). I was told by the lift operator to go buy an armband or helmet clip. This seems unreasonable as i bought thier tickets, now i have to buy something so they can use their tickets? Before RFIDs, i didn't have to pay extra for something to attach their pass to their jacket. Do you tell people they have to pay extra for the wire to attach their lift tickets to their jackets?

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Some of this issue will be remedied with the new snow, which will allow us to bring the maze grade up to the level that we initially envisioned. The placement of the media is important to the overall functioning and efficiency of the gates. We appreciate your cooperation in placing the media on your child above the bottom of the gate. In most cases that means putting it in a higher jacket pocket. In some cases that may mean purchasing a lanyard pouch or helmet pouch, which isn't a great expense considering the price of a 6 and under season pass is only $25. One of the great features of the new pass media is it doesn't require having to purchase wickets, zip connectors or even lanyards, which was a considerable expense and not sustainable at all. Those attachments often became litter that we cleaned up during and between seasons.

  12. Mike

    December 17, 2012

    The above also applies to my 7 year old (with a pass considerably more than $25).

    And to respond to: "One of the great features of the new pass media is it doesn't require having to purchase wickets, zip connectors or even lanyards, which was a considerable expense and not sustainable at all. "

    For my kids, it DOES require having to purchase a lanyard pouch. And regarding sustainability: I cannot simply put a hole in their pass and reuse their lanyards from last year, I have to buy more plastic, metal, etc.,

    Meadows: Thanks Mike. Don't mean to sound combative. Most guests just put the pass in a pocket (no lanyard or plastic required). Some kids jackets don't have pockets (or at least upper pockets). In these cases a pouch may be required.

  13. Mark

    December 23, 2012

    I don't see how to use the Track Your Turns page. I registered, but it never asked me to enter the ID# on the pass that I bought a few days ago at the ticket window. Does this only work with season passes? Whats the point of registering if I cannot add in a pass ID# to track?

    Meadows: Track your turns will work with any media - whether it is a day pass or a season pass. If you're having problems linking to your record, email mhminfo@skihood.com and we'll get you set up. Thanks!

  14. Mark

    December 23, 2012

    I went to reload my pass, but I was only given a choice of a non-peak ($69) pass. Why can I not "reload" and buy any kind of pass, including peak, noon-4PM, weekday only season, etc? After all, its just a number in a computer and on the RFID chip in the pass. You should be able to assign my number to any kind of pass. Surely I don't have to stand in a long ticket line again ( outside, at 9AM while the lifts are running ) like I did last Friday?

    Meadows: Thanks Mark. Since this is our first experience with reloading, we want to keep it simple. So the only two reload products we are offering Peak Day Adult and Off-Peak Adult reloads. Once we (and our guests) get more familiar with reloads, we'll expand the product offerings to Juniors, Seniors, nights, partial days and specials.

  15. Mark

    December 25, 2012

    Please re-read my second comment above. Just now I tried again to reload my pass with a Peak pass, but I am only offered non-peak. From your reply I should be able to do this. Please fix your website. I also sent an email about this to mhminfo@skihood.com.

    Meadows: Thanks Mark. We fixed the problem - so both off-peak and peak reloads will appear for advance purchase.

  16. Phil

    January 14, 2013

    Mark asked on December 23 how to track his turns and you said you can track turns on any media and if that doesn't work contact mhminfo@skihood.com.
    Will you please tell us which page to go to on your website where we can register the ID# so we can see how many vertical we experienced that super day on the best slopes in the cascades?

    Meadows: Thanks Phil. Go to the Store and select Reload Pass. This will allow you to load a Peak or Off-Peak day to the day pass (reload card) you used your first time at Meadows. As you load your pass, you'll "claim" it by creating your own record in our system. Then you'll be able to log in and review your vertical. This is not an option for someone who visits just one day, and doesn't load another day on to the media.

Add a comment

  1.  
  2. Submit