An offseason development at Eaglecrest Ski Area will provide the operation with a bevy of data, including how long a skier spends on the mountain or what they purchased from the cafeteria.
Eaglecrest Ski Area installed gates equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology last month at the base of Hooter and Ptarmigan chairlifts that will communicate electronically with users’ lift tickets to grant access to the respective chairlifts.
Charlie Herrington, marketing manager at Eaglecrest, said the technology is typically found at larger ski areas.
“We were overdue on a Point Of Sale overhaul so because we upgraded that, it opened the door for us to get into the 21st century of ski area operations and pursue RFID ticket gates,” Herrington said in an interview on Tuesday.
Axess, the manufacturer of the gates, lists over 30 different U.S. ski resorts with its product, including Alyeska in Girdwood.
The ski area will use hand-held ticket scanners on its other two chairs, Black Bear and Porcupine. In the past, skiers and snowboarders were required to display lift tickets Eaglecrest employees for chair access.
Herrington said the new technology will be a boon for analytics.
“Now we’ll know exactly how many people are here,” Herrington said, “which will go a long way for helping us when is our busy time, what lifts, what’s the flow of the skier on the mountain, how can we make winters better and what do we need to be putting more attention on?”
Season pass use for discounts at the Eaglecrest Grill will also produce data, according to Herrington.
“We’ll know people in this age range really buy cheeseburgers and people in this age range, they’re buying salad wraps,” Herrington said. “Maybe we can use it to help change our food and beverage program and improve that.”
The technology will give multi-visit and flex pass holders the ability to skip the ticket office. In the past, multi-visit card holders would need to receive a print-out ticket. In the case of the flex pass, a new offering in which users get 50% off lift tickets by paying $100 up front, day tickets can be loaded online at store.skieaglecrest.com or by calling the ticket office.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.