Vail’s Epic Mix App Tracking Explained

Ben Koelker Skiing Beaver Creek Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

VAIL, CO – In what some patriots may be calling a loss of freedom, Vail Resorts is proudly launching a new program called the Vail Epic Mix. The program will essentially track skiers from the moment they set their equipment on the snow to when the leave the slopes, presumably. Once a guest passes through the wireless scanners at the base of the mountain, Vail or “big brother” will know where you are at all times, scary stuff.

Vail Resorts is marketing the program as an online and mobile application that allows you to share and connect your stories by using the RF chip currently in all Vail Resorts ski passes including the Epic Pass, Colorado Pass, Summit Pass, Heavenly Pass, and Peaks lift tickets. The RF chip revolutionized the ski industry by allowing skiers and boarders to leave their ski passes inside their coats while being scanned in the lift line. Not only did this help with traffic flow in the lift lines but on cold days it saved you from fumbling around inside your coat looking for your pass.

The program will track your lift rides, vertical feet skied and a number of days skied. With the online function or mobile phone application you will be able to view your “stats” maps, and achievements. But as the video says “Epic Mix is more than just counting your vertical feet, it’s about capturing the experience” so you can achieve EpicMix pins. Sound allot like the Boy Scouts of America.

You can also combine the Epic Mix with your Facebook and Twitter account to show the world the pins that you have achieved, this is some serious viral marketing about to take place.. I can just see it now when everyone skiing at Vail will have their Facebook pages yelling at me, telling the world they are getting on the Vista Bahn chairlift, or just dropped into the Back bowls. Is this information we really need to know? I’m sure for the daily Twitter users, the Epic Mix is like a gift from god, and if your one of the daily Twitter users reading this will you “tweet” this story?

Epic Mix is not just about bragging or broadcasting the Epic Mix mobile will show you which of your friends are on the mountain and where. So now everyone knows where you’re at, not just Vail. But this is perfect as I could befriend the local powder hounds and secretly know their whereabouts on the mountain. This brings up another point, would it be very hard for the ski resorts to put the RF scanners near out of bounds areas adjacent to the ski area? Or at points, they know local skiers and boarders have been known to duck out of bounds or re-enter the ski resort. It’s food for thought.

Our friends at the Eagle County Times have come up with a great solution, for $10.00 they will mail you an RF ski pass sleeve that according to the ECT will “make your ski pass as invisible to Vail Resorts scanners as this summers Obama economic recovery claim.” Send your money soon, as the pass sleeve should be popular once the word gets out, or maybe not. Eagle County Times PO box 3364 Avon, Colorado 81620. The Eagle County Times is not alone. Last we checked there were 46 companies selling RF Blocking Sleeves online.

We will save the possible direct marketing campaigns discussion for another time, essentially you should now expect to receive junk mail geared toward the type of skier you are and the type of terrain you like to ski. As Vail Resorts now owns all this information, The Mountain Weekly News highly doubts they will just sit on all this data. Imagine what Ski Magazine would pay for a list of middle ages skiers that enjoy skiing the back bowls from 10:00 am-noon followed by lunch at the Game Creek Bowl. Dear John Smith we hear you had a great time skiing Vail’s Back bowls you should check out these powder skis, perfect for your next trip to Vail…

Vail Resorts is at it once again with today’s announcement that the Epic Ski Pass can now be used at some of the most icon ski resorts across Europe.

Last season Vail Mountain in Colorado (a member of the Epic Pass program) was charging $175/ day for lift tickets. This year’s Epic pass is selling for $809. Marketing wise this is brilliant, you can now sell “ski passes” to a bunch of tourists that most likely will now take a second ski trip during the season.

From a revenue standpoint, this is smart however for the skier experience I would question putting more bodies on the mountain especially when Vail saw lift lines as shown below last season.

Clearly Vail Resorts has a large chunk of Colorado ski resorts gobbled up as that’s where the company is located, but did you know Vail is now also operating in Australia at Perisher Ski Resort? How about Niseko in Japan, and if you pay attention to ski industry news you’re probably aware of how Vail basically bullied Park City Mountain Resort out of Utah.

Along with the legit places to ski above Vail also for some reason (think more Epic Pass sales) setup resorts in Minnesota and Michigan. It’s highly doubtful anyone skiing out west will use a Vail Epic Pass in the midwest or east coast, however when you think about the people in those locals. They will surely come to Colorado, Utah or California to use their Epic Passes. And if Vail Resorts did their homework some of these familes will now be flying overseas to ski Vail too.

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About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding. When not on a board, Mike worked for Snowboarder and later oversaw TGR's online publication. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News where he is still CEO and Editor in Chief.

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