Boyne Resorts and Axess has 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 Boyne 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 Boyne Resorts. “Innovating, thinking differently and creating industry firsts are a hallmark of Boyne 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 Boyne 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. „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,“said Oliver Suter, CSO and Member oft he Board of Axess. The design installed last season captures that precise read, operated successfully and secured Boyne 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 Boyne 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 Boyne Resorts to be partner in the development of dual-frequency lift access,” states Oliver Suter once again. “With this new product, we and Boyne 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.”
Boyne Resorts, founded in 1947 by Everett Kircher, is the third largest mountain resort company in North America. A Michigan-based corporation, Boyne Resorts owns award-winning mountain and golf resorts and attractions throughout the United States and Canada including Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, B.C., official freestyle skiing and snowboard venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; Sugarloaf and Sunday River Resort in Maine; Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Highlands Resort, Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection and Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark in Michigan; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Loon Mountain Resort in New Hampshire; Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in Tennessee; Brighton Resort in Utah; and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington.