Aug 22, 2019
Skiers to Experience New Level of Convenience and Connection with Long-Range and Dual-Frequency RFID Technology

168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts: First In The World To Offer Dual-Frequency Lift Access

BOYNE FALLS, Michigan (August 22, 2019) - 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts today announced its launch of the world's first dual-frequency RFID lift access solution that supports the resort company's rapidly expanding use of long-range technology.  The advanced gate system was developed in partnership with Axess, an internationally leading manufacturer of ticketing and access management systems, with the dual-frequency capability being the only of its kind.  Two resort-wide installations will be completed for the 2019/20 ski season, making 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts the world's first to offer dual-frequency chairlift access.

"The long-range and dual-frequency capabilities are the future of RFID technology and the leap we have been working toward for over a decade," said Stephen Kircher, president and chief executive officer of 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts.  "Innovating, thinking differently and creating industry firsts are a hallmark of 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts' 70-year history and this RFID breakthrough paves the way to greatly enhance the guest experience like so many of our other industry firsts have in the past.  I am especially proud of how our technology team and the Axess team have worked to make this shared goal a reality and we are excited to be the first to introduce this industry innovation."

Last season marked 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts' first installation of access gates that utilize a new UHF technology that provides guest-centric benefits.  The gates were manufactured and installed by Axess and each is equipped with a special long-range antenna and RFID (radio frequency identification) reader that detects chip cards such as RFID-enabled lift tickets and season passes.  UHF technology enables a less invasive experience for skiers as compared to the short-range equipment more commonly deployed by ski resorts operating gate systems.  The UHF read range is also wide and early model gates proved a need for greater precision.  The design installed last season by Axess captures that precise read, operated successfully and secured 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts' immediate and long-term plans for UHF solutions across its network.

Season pass programs such as the Ikon Pass that the company's resorts are partnered in utilize short-range lift access media.  The visitation generated from such passes is greatly valued and the means of offering direct-to-lift access to these skiers was considered a must.   Until now, a gate system capable of reading both long- and short-range RFID cards did not exist.  Boyne
Resorts and Axess were equally determined and the 2019/20 ski season will be the first ever for the dual-frequency gates.  Resort-wide installations are taking place at Big Sky Resort in Montana and Loon Mountain Resort in New Hampshire.

"Thinking long term, our commitment to use only long-range technology came easy, yet many resorts-including our partners, use short-range readers, and leaving skiers to carry the burden of our decision wasn't an option," said Dan Beeler, chief information officer of 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts.   "Axess assembled a project team who fully adopted our guest-centric approach and we share great pride in what we have achieved.  Whether it's a season pass from our resorts, an Ikon Pass or other partner pass, or a daily lift ticket the skier is wearing, fast and hands-free lift access powered by the world's first dual-frequency gates can be experienced this next season at our Big Sky and Loon Mountain resorts."

Skiers will benefit from the many conveniences of RFID technology as well as more efficient flow in the lift loading areas.  An additional benefit is more personalized communication from the resort while at the resort, such as special offers and conditions updates and eventually providing wait times for restaurants and activities such as ziplining.

"We are proud of being chosen by 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts to be partner in the development of dual-frequency lift access," said Claudia Kopetzky, chief marketing officer of Axess.  "With this new product, we and 168┐¬Ż▒═°Resorts are a step ahead of other companies and resorts and skiers can enjoy so much more benefit out of it.  Even more is possible.  With UHF technology, resort management is able to check and announce wait times at the lifts and even monitor occupancy rates of their restaurants."


Media Contact: Julie Ard, Senior Vice President | Corporate Communications and Programs