For many years it seemed the only thing to change at Alta was the daily messages on the lift ticket, many of them wishing happy birthday to long time Alta skiers. Over the past few seasons Alta has received a face lift of sorts with new lifts, a fantastic new mid mountain lodge and additional snowmaking to name just some of the upgrades. This season the lift tickets will be getting more than a daily message change.
New this year all of the ski products (season passes and lift tickets) will have an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded in it to allow access through entry gates to the lifts. I was up at Alta the other day and saw them building up the snow at the base of the Collins lift to install the gates and to test them.
10 year Alta local Matt Rink told me that he was impressed by the speed at which the gates opened and how easy it was to move through them.
"That was while on dry ground and walking through. I can't wait to ski through the gates. It's going to be awesome."
In speaking with Alta's Connie Marshall she said that the primary reason for the new system was to provide an easy and customer friendly method of getting skiers onto the lifts. It eliminates the need to manually check a person's pass each time they come through the lift line.
Alta’s general manager, Onno Wieringa, remarked:
“For those of you familiar with similar systems, you'll be glad to hear that our system will have two antennas for each gate for optimal reading and authorization. Also, instead of a turnstile entrance, we have chosen to install a gate entrance, which is engineered to open outward, away from the skier, allowing a wide entry for skiers to proceed.”
Lift tickets this season will be $59 which includes the cost of the Alta Card that contains the RFID chip. After your first day of skiing you'll then pay only $54 to load another day onto the card. Skiers can use the same card all season. According to Alta, skiers will have the opportunity to load more ski days to their card online, saving time at the ticket window when you're in a hurry to get first chair on Collins.
I'm anxious to see how the system is received....now all we need is a powder day.