Digital Info Screens on Lifts

Here's 1/3 of the Liftblog.com article:

As LiftDigital Spreads, Are We Viewing the Future?
March 26, 2018Peter Landsman
Freddie Peyerl, Gerrit VandeKemp, and Jeff Connors are on a roll. Their company, Alpine Media Technology, recently raised a million dollars to bring its digital guest engagement technology to ski resorts, including to chairlifts and gondolas. I’ve been following this project (with a dose of skepticism) since it launched and got the chance to catch up with the founders as LiftDigital’s first winter season wraps up.
Peter: What are your backgrounds and how did you guys come up with the idea for digital screens on chairlifts?
Gerrit: Our backgrounds are in Pharmaceutical & Biotech Consulting (Peyerl), Financial Services (VandeKemp), and Aerospace Engineering (Connors). So, we are definitely newcomers to the ski industry. The three of us were on a ski trip together, and a simple discussion on the growing presence of gas station media systems led to a weekend long brainstorming session surrounding the idea that digital information systems on chairlifts could provide a great number of benefits to maximize guest experiences. Ironically, our idea was hatched while skiing the very same resort we are now wrapping up our beta test on – Winter Park.
Peter: Your trial included displays on some of the Super Gauge Express chairs. How did it go this season?
Gerrit: Our beta test has surpassed all expectations, and a lot of the credit for this has to be given to the entire team at Winter Park. From Executive Management all the way to Lift Operations, we have benefited from an “all hands on deck” approach to making this season a success.

Peter: What do ski area operators like about the technology? What about the skiing public?
Freddie: For operators, it’s all about communication with resort guests. Our digital information system starts with LiftDigital, the restraint bar platform, and extends out onto indoor & outdoor kiosks around the mountain as well as a mobile app catered and branded specifically for each resort. These collective elements provide resort operators the opportunity to communicate real time information to guests including lift open/closed status, emergency notifications, lift line wait times, resort events and more. Our objective goes way beyond providing maps to guests – we want to help resorts provide their guests with as many resources as possible to maximize their time on the mountain. Consumer feedback from our beta test in Winter Park has supported our belief that we are accomplishing this, as resort guests have been very excited about the new access to information.


Peter: Your non-digital competitors are probably on less than 10 percent of American chairlifts. Why do you think that is?
Gerrit: Plastic map systems on chairlifts were definitely a novel breakthrough when they came out, and useful at that. But, advances in digital trends over the last decade have shifted the approach & strategies of marketing teams, ad agencies, and brands to gravitate more towards digital connection with consumers. Map systems would have probably achieved significantly more than 10 percent market share with a better head start over digital advancement. This is where we feel our company is primed to sync with current trends and partner with a high volume of resorts going forward.
Peter: Can you give me a rundown of how the LiftDigital system works? How does real time information such as lift status and weather get to each chair’s displays?
Jeff: Our beta test utilized power packs that are removed every other day for recharging. The first charging rail is going in this off season. Our LiftDigital platform will charge each time a chair passes through the bullwheel. The 20 to 30 seconds spent in the station will allow our power packs to harness enough power to run for 20 minutes after leaving the station. The content on all of our screens (LiftDigital, indoor/outdoor kiosks, mobile app) is updated in real time via wi-fi and cell (in some situations). Real time updates are critical to ensure guests are getting accurate information regarding lift open/closed status, trail open/close status, lift line wait times, and emergency communications from the resort immediately.

Comments

  • This new technology has to get paid for somehow. There are basically 2 scenarios:
    1) It's paid for by the resort. That in-turn means that it gets paid for by the consumer/skier through increased ticket prices.
    2) It get paid for through advertising. That means the consumer/skier is exposed to more advertising all over the mountain.

    Either way, no thank you.
  • I agree with Cannonball.
  • Yeah, more ads....

    All that nature stuff, kids having fun, the occasional accident, out of control idiots, racers, boarders and ski bikes just don't have the production value of a good car ad or an engrossing psoriasis cure.

    Replace those one line 'loading jokes', sharing of tales about a neat powder stash, good glades, perfect runs and tips on where to eat with a fulfilling gas (fuel or intestinal) infomercial.

    Next we can all put on 3-D goggles and do an Olympic Downhill in the Pinelands of New Jersey.
  • Skied Kissing Bridge one late night, great night and had to listen to the local rock station being piped onto the trails-- hated it.
    If I want to watch TV, I will stay home, thank you.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • This new technology has to get paid for somehow. There are basically 2 scenarios:
    1) It's paid for by the resort. That in-turn means that it gets paid for by the consumer/skier through increased ticket prices.
    2) It get paid for through advertising. That means the consumer/skier is exposed to more advertising all over the mountain.

    Either way, no thank you.

    agreed
    ~Rich~
  • Good thing I ski at Magic and they'll never have that! :)
  • If I go to a gas station and they have those screens screaming at you at the pump, I never go there again. I would do the same with ski areas.
  • The airline industry thought this was a good idea 15 years ago. They installed info-monitors into the headrests of all of the passenger seats. Then when the price of jet fuel increased, they gutted them to save weight. There is probably an orphaned junk heap of these things in some aircraft boneyard somewhere waiting to be adopted by a ski lift. Electronics hate cold wet environments.
  • one more thing we don't need when skiing
    - Sam
  • > @trackbiker said:
    > If I go to a gas station and they have those screens screaming at you at the pump, I never go there again. I would do the same with ski areas.

    I Guess that's the one good thing about not being able to pump your own gas in NJ. Don't think I've seen one here yet. Maybe the pump screen lobbiests can finally get rid of that stupid law.
  • I think one of the best ideas for advertising was putting the ads on the luggage carousels at the airport. You are just standing there waiting anyway, and are forced to look down.
  • I don't know, kinda like it.
    Looks like a nice flat surface to attach beer stickers B)
    You ski because even if you don't do it well, it's still a blast....
  • The sales proposition for the non-digital version of chairlift ads:

    "With ski resort advertising, your brand can effectively target the top 2.8% of high income households for a full 8 minutes, something unheard of with traditional advertising methods. These ads catch your target audience on their way up the slopes for uninterrupted time with your brand."

    https://allovermedia.com/products/resort-media/
  • Who services & recharges these things? When the lift breaks down because the lift maintenance guys were fixing screens (or removing beer stickers from them) we may end up watching the same stream for an hour or until the batteries wear out.

    but the wait won't be so bad...
    Hello, Domiques Pizza - your ad says I'm at one of your new 250,000 hot spots. Could I get a medium Everything Pizza & a six pack of ALE at Chair 57 on the Whizmo Super Six pack at VR ski area? Thanks, I'll watch for your drone.
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