Late Friday, I got a message from a friend of mine who was up at the Shoe for Thanksgiving. He said his Sister had left early and he had an extra bedroom, lots of room in the hot tub, and lots of beverages. So after debating for about a second, I decided to head up Saturday afternoon with my two oldest kids.
We didn't see any snow until we got to within an hour of SS. The top of SS was a winter wonderland. The parking lots were plowed, but were still covered with snow. It looked like midwinter up top, there were huge snow drifts and the piles of snow around the parking lots were over head high.
I usually don't like to make the drive to SS from NOVA with only 14 trails open, but the kids were into it and I hadn't been on the boards since April. The snow was soft and there was great coverage on all the open slopes. The terrain park had a number of features and there were plenty of places to catch some good air.
It was well worth the drive. The kids had a blast, the snow was good, water in the hot tub was well hot and the beverages were cold. What more could you ask for in November?
I also skied at the Shoe over the Thanksgiving break and had a good time. I skied Thrusday, Friday, and Saturday. It was cold on Friday--5 degrees at 7 am. The trails that were open had good snowcover. The Ballhooter express quad opened on Saturday, reducing the pressure on the 2 or 3 other lifts that were operating. Lift staff are now scanning lift tickets with wireless guns that read bar codes. The scanning is very hit or miss--they probably scanned my pass on 25% of my rides up the lifts. Does anyone know the purpose of this? What can it accomplish if the scanning is so inconsistent? It has the potential to create traffic jams at the lifts.
Tom, I was up there too, and had a similar experience with the scanners. They use those things just about everywhere out west. As I have a season pass, it's cool because I never have to go into an office and get another one again (and considering how many times SS has moved that office, that's a relief!). One lift guy, who looked very cold and hungover, was pretending to scan when he couldn't get the scanner to read my pass or anyone else's. I think the scanners can be valuable in obtaining information about the person and what kind of runs they take, what lifts are being used more, etc. I know that I have a card that I use over and over when I go to the Vail resorts. I just load it with more $$ and it automotically accounts for the number of days I can ski. It decreases paper too.
With that said, I did notice like you that the scanners weren't working too well. I'd hate to be at the Ball Hotter lift on a busy day with that thing!!!
Out west you can buy your lift tickets in a ski shop, good for any day. They scan there to validate/cancel the ticket; i can't imagine what SS will get information wise that will make the hassle worth it for their customers; if they want to know how busy the lifts are, put up a camera, pick up the phone, get on a snowmobile.......
Hey Jimmy! Are you cranky today!
I remember them at Vail. It makes more sense there because the area is so huge the scanners can proly give good info on lift traffic etc. Over here it doesn't make a lot of sense, mountain is not that big. As regards skier trends, thats only good if they have your info on file linked to your lift ticket. But if you want to see your lift dollars at work, there you go.
My favorite method of Lift ticket scanning is at Solitude, UT. The ski "lift ticket" is a little credit card proximity card that you put in your left pocket or pant pocket. Then you go up to a turnstile and press your left side against the littl sensor and the door opens. Of course there is never a lift line there so maybe that's why I like it the best. I've seen Park City hire a comediam to entertain people at the base of the Payday 6pack lift.
U bet, Heather. It's been 48 hours since i've made turns
They only checked my ticket on two occasions at the Ballhooter lift. They never checked my kids tickets.
I hate the lift ticket they are now using at SS. The ticket attaches to your jacket with a zip tie that runs through a hole in the ticket. It just doesn't seem very secure. If you loose the ticket, you can use the receipt that is attached to the ticket at the ticket counter to get a new ticket. That is of course you remembered to pull the receipt off before you lost your ticket. It's the same ticket system Stratton uses. No more metal wickets (sp?).
This lift ticket system is the same on that I've experienced at Whistler/Blackcomb. I think this is just part of Intrawest incorporating more of their business practices throughout their resorts. As far as the security of the ticket, I've never had a problem with that type. I've been to Whistler several years and gotten an 8 day ticket that was zip-tied to my shell...
I agree about the Solitude tickets. They are cool in that you just stick them in your pocket and place it near the sensor at the lift. Once again, maybe I like it too since there's almost never a lift line
I am sure scanning lift tickets are pretty common out west. I recall being told to put the ticket on the snow pant instead of the jacket and I believe it was Heavenly at Lake Tahoe. Their reason was that some people take off their jacket when the weather gets too warm so thus the ticket on the snowpant.
I don't notice them that much when scanning my lift ticket as the line are moving fast enough or there's no line ahead.
I think half the reason for the pant rather than jacket may also be people swapping off the jacket between runs, pant is a little harder to do.
An interesting thing swatch did about 5-6 years ago was create the ski pass watch for European resorts. The watch had a chip in it that was loaded up at the ticket window. when you head for the turnstile you swipe the watch past the sensor and in you go. Andorra had a little bar code effort you would keep on a sort of retractible line. When you head for the lift you yank it out sacn it through the machine and then it zips bag to its place. After that it was never checked.
I have a round metal key ring on my jacket zipper. That way if I want to ski in just pants I can remove even the old sticker type of lift ticket and put it on my pants. Some places don't like you using a key ring, but I have never had anyone give me any grief about it...............
One nice thing about the better Spyder jackets: they have a small plastic loop on the outside of a jacket's lower front panel. Since the loop can only fit a wire wicket type of ticket, we put a small spring ring there and clip a pass to the ring. Works a charm. The ring is small and virtually unnoticeable; so far there have been no comments by the pass checkers anywhere we have skied. This also works because, if you ski in all conditions [except for sub zero], there are occasions where your jacket can get soaked [MidA snow-rain anyone?] and changing jackets warms you up and extends your slope time ... which is a GOOD thing! Besides, I hate having the darn ticket on my zip; flaps in my face.
I have a round metal key ring on my jacket zipper.
Shhhh.............. Let's keep this one to ourselves!