Whistler Blackcomb tests phone-scan ski pass
April 6, 2011
DENVER – British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb resort is testing an app that would let people use their iPhones and Android-based smartphones as ski passes.
If all goes well, the Canadian resort would let guests scan their phones to get on lifts as soon as this fall, much like phones can be scanned at some airport check-in counters. Whistler Blackcomb would be one of the first ski resorts to use such an app.
For now, season pass holders or people with the Canadian resort’s frequency cards can download the free app to track their vertical feet and speed; get real-time updates on weather, what runs are groomed and lift status; take photos to post on Facebook or Twitter; and more.
The app, called Whistler Blackcomb Live Powered by Telus, was developed by Avon, Colo.-based Resort Technology Partners.
RTP says the lift-ticket function on the app could potentially let people buy a lift ticket without having to wait in line, if the resort adopts it.
“It’s one thumb click away as opposed to a ticket line,” said Michael McDermott, a senior vice president at RTP.
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Skiers and snowboarders would have to take their phones out of their pockets in the lift line to have them scanned.
The app also could eventually let the resort offer guests promotions that they can take advantage of by tapping on their phones.
“As we move forward, as the app evolves, we can add more functionality to it,” said Stuart Rempel, the resort’s senior vice president of marketing and sales. “We have that flexibility.”
RTP co-founder Mark Roebke, who typically gets in 60 to 80 days of skiing a year, spent hours adding features aimed at having customers get more attached to a resort and wanting to come back again.
Rempel didn’t reveal Whistler Blackcomb’s costs for adding the app. McDermott said RTP is charging resorts a one-time fee in the low six figures for a license to use it, or a lower monthly fee to use the software as a service.