Whistler Blackcomb tests mobile ticket, launches GPS app

Want to turn your cellphone into a lift pass? Whistler has an app for that. And the B.C.-based resort will launch it in conjunction with the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival, along with an app that tracks runs, speed and even vert. SNEWS takes a look.
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The use of technology to enhance the mountain experience continues to expand. Whistler Blackcomb is testing a system that could enable guests to use their iPhones and smartphones as ski passes for the 2011-12 season, similar to what some airlines now offer. It also launched a related IPhones and smartphone app April 7, 2011, that utilizes GPS to allow skiers and riders to track and record the runs and days they’ve skied, vertical and even speed, as well as passing it along to friends via social media. The app shares similarities with Vail Resort’s Epic Mix, but Epic Mix utilizes RF Technology, relying on scanners at its lifts, rather than GPS.

The free app--dubbed the Whistler Blackcomb Live Powered by Telus--was developed by Resort Technology Partners (RTP) of Avon, Colo., and uses the RTP|LivePass engine. It comes on line just in time for Whistler’s Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival, scheduled for April 15-24.

“To be able to see exactly where you are on the mountain, track runs, compare vertical, share the on-mountain experience via social media; these are all things Whistler Blackcomb customers want,” said Stuart Rempel, Whistler Blackcomb’s senior vice president of marketing and sales. “Partnering with RTP to develop this industry leading app will enhance our guest experience,” Rempel said, citing the added ability to access information on changing weather conditions, grooming and lift status.

“The industry leading mobile ticketing functionality is the premier function we’re excited to introduce in the near future,” Rempel added. Whistler is testing the ticketing system internally in April 2011. Rempel also says Whistler Blackcomb’s relation with RTP will allow it to adjust functionality as consumer demand evolves. RTP also introduced REALSKI in 2009, billed as the first augmented reality app for navigating ski resorts.

--Andy Bigford

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