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The future of the skiing experience?
Tuesday August 31, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

A new system, EpicMix, allows people to see where they have skied and share the information on Facebook and Twitter. It is being launched by Vail Resorts who claim it is ground breaking. So is it yet another gimmick or a great piece of technology?

The EpicMix system uses newly-installed scanners at all the lifts owned by Vail Resorts and it records the progress of a skier or snowboarder round the mountain.

The person has a special chip in their lift pass and it is read by the scanner at the lift.

It will show which lifts they have used and the areas they have been in.

It tracks vertical feet skied and time spent on the slopes and other details.

The information can then be viewed on line or on a mobile device.

It can also be shared on social media sites.

Vail Resorts runs 5 ski resorts in the USA; Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Vail resorts in Colorado and at Heavenly in California.

There are 89 lifts in the resorts.

Cool for KatzCool for Katz"With the advent of new technology in equipment and new features on the mountain, skiing and riding have become the ultimate form of creative expression in sports and travel. At the same time, the rapid growth of social media has given people a whole new way to express themselves online and connect with friends and family," says the chief executive of Vail resorts, Rob Katz.

"It takes the fun of playing and sharing online and marries it with the very real experience of skiing and riding."

Now here at PlanetSKI we are a bit scepticial about such statements and new developemnts that claim to be THE next big thing, but as we have researched this story and spoken to people about EpixMix we are intrigued.

It does far more than just tell you how many runs you have been up and down.

The potential is there for everyone to see and the video we have linked to below explains it all very well.

The system is free and requires no extra equipment.

Just a lift pass and a means of reading the information.

It also provides weather forecasts, snow conditions and allows you to see where your friends are skiing and you can chat to them too.

There are certain tests you can do to earn rewards that means it has a games aspect to it too.

For example if you take the High Noon Express lift in Vail 5 times then you get a reward point or pin.

The whole system has not been produced cheaply and there is obvious potential for it to be expanded into other ski areas if it is successful.

For more information, here's a promotional video explaining the system in more detail.

For full details see here.

Epic Mix is a cross between Nike+, that tracks physical activity and Gowalla, that is a recognition of location based accomplishments with the ability to connect and share with friends on Facebook and Facebook Places.  

Vail Resorts claims it is innovative.

"What is unique is that Epic Mix uses of RFID technology to allow for completely passive "check-ins," allowing people to participate without the use of a phone or GPS device, or in any way changing the way they have always skied around the mountain. There is nothing for them to buy or wear other than their ski pass, which has an embedded RFID chip," says the resort in a statement.

So, is it just another gimmick or something that people will really want and use?

Time will tell.

It will be launched when the resort of Keystone opens on November 5th

Do let us know what you think. We'd love to hear.

For the spirit of the mountains

igluski

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