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RTP also is working with resorts on an application to let people get scanned at lift lines by using their phones, similar to using a boarding pass on a smart phone at the airport. A virtual lift ticket appears on the phone, but tapping on a space at the bottom might bring up weather reports or the ability to add more days on a lift ticket.
Skiers would have to take their phones out of their pockets to get a virtual lift ticket scanned.
That could change though. Some resorts have RFID tags on their real-world tickets so customers can be scanned through a person’s coat, and in Europe, Swatch watches with RFID tags let wearers ride the lifts at participating resorts. Roebke predicts it’s a matter of time before smart phones add RFID too.
Some new technology at the resorts works behind the scenes, like what Loveland Ski Area added to make reservations more seamless. Some is aimed at making it easier to spend.
Aspen Skiing Co. hopes its upcoming mobile application, which would work on most smart phones, can provide updates on snowfall and trail grooming but also allow guests to make dinner reservations or buy lessons, Mills said.
“There’s a change in buying behavior. There’s a convenience expectation. ‘Why do I have to stand in line,’” Roebke said. “This is geared toward, how do we give people the most trouble-free experience possible.”
Meanwhile OnTheSnow.com, run by a Vail Resorts subsidiary, has launched its free iPhone Gear Guide application that lets users compare mountain gear. Its app for snow reports is free this year, and a similar one for the iPad is due in December.
One note of caution for all this technology on the slopes: The rules for stopping to geotag or do anything else with your phone are the same as they would be for stopping to take a breather. The National Ski Areas Association Responsibility Code says, “Stop in a safe place for you and others.” So whether you are taking a photo, making a call, geotagging, tweeting or just waiting for a friend, find a safe area where you can see what’s going on and where others can easily see you.
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