RFID Ski Passes

Vail recently announced that their ski passes are going viral. They have connected you through RFID to a world of social media while you ski. There are pros and cons with RFID, and the debate is on.

I tweeted I thought it was a cool idea – this article details how you are able to track your vertical feet (something we already do on our cell phones) connect to Facebook, share pictures and other parts of your day on the slopes.

Then I read about the Ski Pass defender, and the cons to an RFID pass tracking your whereabouts. This ski blog poses the question what if you ski a million runs, have a beer, and have an accident? Someone will have the data.

I love the idea of ski resorts evolving – it’s my hope that through Ski Utah I can encourage those people that don’t already know to see opportunities and the value that Utah ski resorts are creating with their efforts and pushes toward technology changing the way we ski. Real time lift line info on your cell would blow skiers away, right?

Someone mentioned that most skiers don’t bring their cell phones when they ski, and I wondered if he’s been behind a desk too long…everyone skis with their phones. So we already have that luxury. To me, there’s nothing I have to hide about my day on the mountain or that a mountain would gain by storing my skiing information other than that I have a few favorite runs I might do 10 times in a row. I hardly see how that hurts me, but it might help them. The ski resorts may learn surprising things from collected data that help them improve the mountain.

However, I’m not one to sneak over boundary lines either. If you are, I can see why you’d be screaming “big brother”.

What do you think? Is the technology being put in place to help or hurt skiers?


5 thoughts on “RFID Ski Passes

  1. Good and balanced review. Here are a few other items worth noting regarding RFID and Epicmix with GPS assist.

    In the first year of this roll out it will be fun and games. And VR and like resorts will be just tracking at the bottom of lifts (except for Epicmix), then in restaurants, then for “safety” on the hill. Everyone will be required to be tagged with their passes. And in future rollouts, including this year’s rollout in Aspen in which your RFID enabled pass will also have access to charging information, then look for health information in case you get hurt (Road ID). A brave new world, and we are being sold it as if it is a game.

    Epicmix posses many other tracking issues. When installed in the phone it will be able to send data to the offices on your location using the GPS in your phone. They have already mentioned Foursquare in their press releases. FS sends location data from the phone to FS servers where they were able to sell their data to their partners.

    There are other programs to track yourself around the mountain, or use an altimeter watch to track vertical feet. I am concerned that too many people will embrace the “Neat-o factor” and accept around-the-clock tracking as a normal part of lift.

  2. Wow, thanks for the amazing comment. Foursquare always seemed obviously idiotic to me because the fact is if I know where you live, you’re TELLING ME (and a bunch of other people) YOU’RE NOT THERE. My rule has always been to blog or tweet after I’m back home. No one needs information that immediately. At the most basic level, you’re telling the world you’re out skiing. We do most of our vertical/elevation type info on our phones and that’s enough. I don’t need a free hot cocoa for being the mayor if I’m getting robbed while I’m out!

    MK’s biggest concern after talking to someone who worked on the RFID parts of new US passports was how easy it is to hack. Almost anyone could potentially ‘swipe’ this information from you electronically. There’s no way I’d want my charge card info connected like that!

  3. The only problem with that is digging your wallet out at every lift… it’s enough of a pain to pull the pass out of your ski jacket when you’re doing laps, which is why people wear those passholding armbands.

  4. The new RFID passes can be scanned from under your garments. Solitude already has that. Kinda helpful. But blocking it with your wallet or the blocker then having to get it out would get old, I’d think.

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