Northern Michigan Ski Resort Adding RFID to Chairlift Gates for Safety

A ski resort in northern Michigan is giving up lift tickets of metal wickets and sticky paper in favor of a high-tech radio frequency identification system for the 2020-2021 winter season.
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radio frequency ID system for ski lifts
Crystal Mountain Resort is moving to a radio frequency ID system for lift tickets for the 2020-2021 winter season. // Photo courtesy of AXESS

A ski resort in northern Michigan is giving up lift tickets of metal wickets and sticky paper in favor of a high-tech radio frequency identification system for the 2020-2021 winter season.

Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville (in the northeast corner of the Lower Peninsula) is the first ski resort in Michigan to employ the technology, which promises to get skiers and snowboarders on the slopes faster and more safely.

With this new system, guests will be able to purchase lift tickets online and receive an RFID card that allows them to reload lift tickets or season passes onto that same card via their mobile phones or computers.

“This is just one of the new improvements that will enhance the guest experience and guest safety at the resort this winter,” says John Melcher, COO for Crystal Mountain.

Guests will only have to pick up the RFID card once, helping to ensure a safe, touchless, and cashier less option for buying a lift pass. Then, skiers and snowboarders place the credit card-sized pass in their jackets or pants pockets and go directly to the chairlift where the RFID chip will be automatically scanned at a gate and allow the guest to load the chairlift.

Once purchased, the card can be refilled online for each ski or snowboard session – and be used year after year, also helping to reduce waste.

Austria-based AXESS will begin installing the system this fall.

“Safety is our priority,” says Melcher. “This new technology helps create touchless opportunities for staff and guests, as well as maintaining safer distancing by reducing queuing at ticket windows. And that’s important today.”

It also will help skiers and snowboarders load onto chairlifts more quickly and efficiently, which reduces the amount of time spent waiting in lift lines.

The resort plans to create variably priced lift ticket options that will allow guests more flexibility in selecting times and days to ski or ride. Those ticket options will launch in the coming weeks.

Season-long premier passes can be purchased here.

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