In the not-to-distant future, snowboarders and skiers won't have to queue up at the lift ticket window or deal with the flapping and ripping of paper tickets attached to jackets and pants.
Resort Technology Partners (RTP) has partnered with Whistler Blackcomb and TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications company, to create a smartphone app functionality that will allow riders to use their mobile phones as lift tickets.
The free "Whistler Blackcomb Live" app already has plenty of non-ticket features, including GPS trail maps with run tracking that lets users see their total vertical distance skied and what their maximum speed was, snow and trail conditions, access to webcams, and an integration with Twitter and Facebook.
Avon-Colorado-based RTP has been developing technology solutions for ski resorts since 1997. Some of the company's past innovations include the RFID ticket system, a ticket that can be kept in the pants pocket and doesn't have to be taken out every time you board the lift, and the RealSki app for smartphones, which allows skiers and boarders to geo-cache, share their runs, and post pictures live to their social networks.
"Developing a mobile app that allows skiers and boarders to share their on-mountain adventures with friends, including the number of days skied, vertical distance, top speed and great photos in one app, was a natural for RTP," explains Michael McDermott, RTP's senior vice president. "When Whistler Blackcomb wanted a mobile solution to digitally connect their resort with their passionate fan base, it was a perfect match to launch this concept."
But shredders heading up to the Blackcomb Glacier for some summer riding shouldn't leave their ski passes at home quite yet. The mobile ticket function will only be available for internal testing by Whistler Blackcomb throughout the summer.
"The industry leading mobile ticketing functionality is the premier function we're excited to introduce in the near future," says Rempel.
The app, in its pre-ticket functionality, is currently available for iPhone 3GS & 4, iPod touch and iPad through the Apple app store, and for Android 2.2 and up via the Android Market. No word yet on when a version for Blackberry will be released.