The Revolution Will Be Digitized

Dec 2, 2010
Outside Magazine

This fall, Vail Resorts announced that five of its mountains would begin using embedded radio-frequency chips in lift tickets and season passes to feed location data to a free mobile app called EpicMix. It allows skiers to track their vertical feet skied as well as friends on the slopes through an automatic connection with Facebook and Twitter. The app represents a major leap in ski-area tech—and it's just the beginning.

Starting in December, skiers at New Hampshire's Attitash will be able to take warm-up "runs" on the mountain's Web site before arriving. The runs are recorded on video, allowing you to drag your mouse through the terrain and scope out the difficulty of various routes.

Verbier, Switzerland, has teamed with watchmaker Swatch to create snowparks called Shoot My Ride. By wearing a watch embedded with an RFID chip similar to the ones used at Vail, you activate cameras along a terrain course that will film you skiing. Go onto Swatch's Web site later and download your movie to your Facebook page for maximum bragging.

Meanwhile, an updated version of the RealSki iPhone app, available in November, will allow you to geotag everything from your car to a secret powder stash on your iPhone.

But the largest advancement, according to Michael McDermott, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Resort Technology Partners, is still three years off. "It will be a universal pass that will work at any resort," he says.