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Vail Deploys 'Smart' Lift Passes for Social Sharing

  |  December 22, 2011   |  Comments

Using RFID technology, skiers and snowboarders can share photos and track their progress on the slopes.

Skiers and snowboarders plowing through the powder at Vail Resorts can now share professional shots of their adventures on Facebook, sharing the Vail brand at the same time. The mountain resort operator has brought back its EpicMix app for the 2011-2012 season. However, this year, Vail tapped marketing and technology services firm SapientNitro to add functionality, instead of the agency that originally developed the app.

Nearly 40,000 guests downloaded the app to their mobile devices last year. And, since launching in November, Vail says the second iteration of EpicMix has resulted in more than 280,000 posts on Facebook and Twitter, which exceeds the total number of posts last season.

In part, that's because the second generation of the EpicMix app includes the ability to not only be professionally photographed on the slopes but also to share those digital photos. With a scan of their passes, guests can have professional photos automatically delivered to their EpicMix accounts. Other new features include the ability to purchase high-resolution digital versions of the professional photos, a Mountain Remix collage tool that creates a visualization of the guest's experience, enhanced reward-based interaction, and broadened social sharing capabilities, SapientNitro says.

vailresorts4"The best part is you don't need to do anything special - it is all powered by your lift pass," says Keith Kay, who is an account lead at SapientNitro. "You don't have to fumble with your phone on the mountain, nor lose data to a dead battery."

The EpicMix app uses RFID technology embedded in lift tickets and season passes as well as radio frequency scanners at the base of every lift. This allows skiers and snowboarders to also track activity on the slopes and upload it to an EpicMix dashboard. Riders can check in to mountains, follow their days skied, track vertical feet, see where they rode, tally the number of lifts ridden, earn EpicMix pins for achievements, and collect points.

EpicMix pins are badges users earn for completing certain feats, like the Day Tripper pin, which is awarded to people who visit all of the resort's Colorado mountains in one day.

Kay says some pins are mountain-specific, others are date-driven and others are exploration-driven.

"The idea is to engage the Vail guests and encourage them to try new runs, new lifts, etc.," he adds.

Kay also says skiers and snowboarders only need to sign up in order to use the feature. It can be accessed on iPhone and Android devices.

He says the name EpicMix was developed by Vail CEO Rob Katz as an extension of its Epic line of passes.

EpicMix is available at all of Vail's mountains, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone in Colorado and Heavenly and Northstar-at-Tahoe in California and Nevada. Kay says it is only available at Vail resorts because of the significant investment in RFID technology required to make EpicMix work.

Last year, Vail worked with CP+B.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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