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Lift line organization/design

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I had the pleasure to wait in long holiday lines at Park City Mt. Resort over the holidays and I keep wondering about the logic of the new lines.

 

After Vail's purchase of PCMR, they have removed the automated gate readers in favor of attendants scanning each person with a hand held RFD reading devise.  Usually there are one or two attendants at a busy 4-6 person lifts and one person on smaller lifts.   

 

The way the lines work also changed.

 

They say it enhances the guest experience...not mine.

 

The lines are now roped so that people self organize though a merging process where pushy groups push though and, to get your "turn", you often have to be a little more than just assertive and decisive.  The aggro vibe isn't really what I am looking for when skiing.

 

The attendants do their best to scan each guest but that process requires pretty much their entire concentration and time.  They are unable to keep an eye on the line or assist in things running smoothly.  With the automated gates, it seems to me those same two employees could provide a better experience with one working just beyond the gates checking an iPad for pass photos, making eye contact, smiling, backing up the loader in emergencies, etc and the other could remain in back in the que keeping things running smoothly.

 

It makes me wonder if the "enhanced experience" is the goal or just marketing talk, cost or fraud prevention is behind the policy. 

post #2 of 26

Squaw Valley's funnel system where four lines funnel down to two, two to one--with "alternate"  signs at the merge points doesn't work, especially for 6 person lifts--the alternating doesn't work well and too many chairs go up not full because there's no one to match groups up. The alpine meadows system, with a well organized series of lines works well, except that there is no similar organization outside the RFID gates so there is pushing outside the gates and the gates themselves get clogged with people in the right gates trying to get to the left lines and vice versa. I have come to the conclusion that when things get really busy there is no system that really works--crowded is crowded no matter how you try to manage it. All you can do is chill (wish I could take my own advice.) Very few us do well in crowds.

post #3 of 26

Why would you have human ticket checkers with an RFID system in place?  Stowe uses RFID tickets; there's a person there monitoring the situation in case the automatic gates don't let you "through", but for the most part, they just stand there looking cold.

 

I think Stowe's lift queue system works pretty well.  They have two separate single lines, the ski school / patrol line and then four regular lines.  The four regular lines merge into two lines and then a human sends up people from the lines accordingly pulling in "single" riders as needed to fill the chairs to capacity.

 

They only put a human in to manage the lift queue when it starts getting backed up a bit.  It can be a little chaotic when it's a "free for all", but I can't say I've ever seen any sort of real animosity occurring.

 

Generally though when lifts start getting really backed up, I find another lift to ride.  Even when Stowe's quad gets huge lines, the double (literally 100 yards away which serves virtually all the same terrain) is ski-right-on.  I've found that at most ski areas I've been to -- even when one lift is slammed, there's another one that's not.

 

I'm not terribly picky about what I'm skiing at any given time.  Skiing is skiing.

post #4 of 26

Don't go to Europe..it's like the octagon over there..  :eek  :duel:

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

 

Generally though when lifts start getting really backed up, I find another lift to ride.  Even when Stowe's quad gets huge lines, the double (literally 100 yards away which serves virtually all the same terrain) is ski-right-on.  I've found that at most ski areas I've been to -- even when one lift is slammed, there's another one that's not.

 

I'm not terribly picky about what I'm skiing at any given time.  Skiing is skiing.

THIS.  Most people are under the misconception that the high speed lift gets people to the top faster than the older, slower fixed grip lift.  That is only true when there isn't a line assuming both lifts are similar capacity chairs (both quads, or a HS quad next to twin doubles).  Taking the older lift with no line will get you to the top just as fast or faster than waiting in a line for the high speed modern lift.  Modern lift goes up faster but the chairs are spread apart more going up so you stand waiting at the bottom longer for it when you could be sitting down on the slower lift.

post #6 of 26

At heavenly kirkwood, northstar (ns especially).  They let the lines self organize, and funnel/alternate. 
But if it gets super busy, then they'll have a liftie at the final funnel to pick out the order.  New for this year, giant foam fingers for authoritay!

 

But I don't think a change is really going to help you. 

Aggro people going to aggro resorts are going to harsh your calm regardless if there is another liftie or lift line change.  Sometimes, it's because they are foreigners or newbies where they can't read or don't understand to alternate. 

It's the people not the lift line... go on a non-holiday and it's a non issue.

 

The changeover is still also new, so the employees still need more time to drink more of the vail koolaid to reach the enhanced experience.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utagonian View Post
 

After Vail's purchase of PCMR, they have removed the automated gate readers in favor of attendants scanning each person with a hand held RFD reading devise.  Usually there are one or two attendants at a busy 4-6 person lifts and one person on smaller lifts.   

 

 

That one is easy, Vails RDIF pass system did not work with the powder corp RFID system that was in place

 

Two, I always just blow past those guys,  always give em a chance to scan but if they are busy with a gaper I blow em off

post #8 of 26

Could Vail be manually scanning to ensure that one isn't using somebody else's pass?

 

It seems Vail has been more vigilant about that the last few years, including arresting a person who then stated to the cops that the reason they were not the gender of the person shown on the pass was because they had undergone a sex change.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

Could Vail be manually scanning to ensure that one isn't using somebody else's pass?

 

It seems Vail has been more vigilant about that the last few years, including arresting a person who then stated to the cops that the reason they were not the gender of the person shown on the pass was because they had undergone a sex change.

Yup, they are always looking for cheaters

Supposedly there is a bounty paid to the checker for catching said cheater

 

rumored to be $100

Now that will buy a lot of PBR :beercheer:

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by near nyquist View Post
 

That one is easy, Vails RDIF pass system did not work with the powder corp RFID system that was in place

 

Two, I always just blow past those guys,  always give em a chance to scan but if they are busy with a gaper I blow em off

I'm not sure there's a common technology here. I've never heard of an RFID system that uses manual scanners. Usually manual scanning is done with barcode/laser scanners. RFID systems are in place with gates that activate automatically when they detect the chip in your card. An RFID system, you never have to take your pass out of your pocket, so hand scanning would be awkward, as the liftie doesn't know what pocket you have the pass in. 

 

What it sounds like is PMCR was using RFID, but Vail Corp probably still utilizes the old barcode laser scanner system. Since Vail wants uniformity across its mountains to make things easier for Epic Pass holders, they most likely reverted PMCR back to the older technology. I haven't been to either PMCR or Vail Corp mountains recently, so I'm just guessing on this. Does this sound accurate?

 

When they say it will enhance the guest experience, that's just like calling boilerplate 'packed powder'... just marketing empty speak. 

post #11 of 26
Bachelor has RFID turnstile type & wand type the ops can over ride screen type. As far lines. Easy don't ski busy days.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 
 

I'm not sure there's a common technology here. I've never heard of an RFID system that uses manual scanners. Usually manual scanning is done with barcode/laser scanners. RFID systems are in place with gates that activate automatically when they detect the chip in your card. An RFID system, you never have to take your pass out of your pocket, so hand scanning would be awkward, as the liftie doesn't know what pocket you have the pass in. 

 

 

This is exactly what VR does. Hand held RFID scanners. They publish the desire to have the pass hung in the center of the torso so that is where the scanners scan. Those of us that use a sleeve pocket twist to "show" them the pass and they scan our arms instead. The scanner flashes name and photo so they can verify that you are the one who should be using that pass.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

I'm not sure there's a common technology here. I've never heard of an RFID system that uses manual scanners. Usually manual scanning is done with barcode/laser scanners. RFID systems are in place with gates that activate automatically when they detect the chip in your card. An RFID system, you never have to take your pass out of your pocket, so hand scanning would be awkward, as the liftie doesn't know what pocket you have the pass in. 

 

What it sounds like is PMCR was using RFID, but Vail Corp probably still utilizes the old barcode laser scanner system. Since Vail wants uniformity across its mountains to make things easier for Epic Pass holders, they most likely reverted PMCR back to the older technology. I haven't been to either PMCR or Vail Corp mountains recently, so I'm just guessing on this. Does this sound accurate?

 

When they say it will enhance the guest experience, that's just like calling boilerplate 'packed powder'... just marketing empty speak. 

 

Vail uses RFID scanners - not bar code scanners. One does not have to show the pass. The pass can be under your jacket or in a pocket. The scanner (human) generally just wave the gun around the center of your chest area for a read. If one have the RFID tag in an obscure part of one's body, just point to it so they can wave the scanner at it and read the card. I think they just like the one on one human intimidating factor. 

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

Don't go to Europe..it's like the octagon over there..  :eek  :duel:

 

My favorite is the human wedge formation generally deployed by the Germans. Tough to butt head with a 6'4" blonde hair blue eye Aryan type dude. :D     

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2OnSnow View Post
 

This is exactly what VR does. Hand held RFID scanners. They publish the desire to have the pass hung in the center of the torso so that is where the scanners scan. Those of us that use a sleeve pocket twist to "show" them the pass and they scan our arms instead. The scanner flashes name and photo so they can verify that you are the one who should be using that pass.

 

Stowe's automatic scanners show names and photos (for pass holders at least) to the lift attendant.  I guess they learn to associate names with jackets as the season goes on.  I know my photo is with me in street clothes.

 

Stowe's lift attendant is there for problems (i.e., the gate won't let you through for whatever reason) not to individually scan everybody.

 

I don't understand why you'd use hand-held scanners with RFID.  I always hated the "scan everybody individually" system; automatic turnstiles work so much more smoothly.  I'll admit to thinking that the new system was going to be FUBAR when it first went in at Stowe, but it's worked flawlessly since day one.

post #16 of 26

Actually Vail uses two sets of scanners

 

The hand held ones and the ones above each lift for the epic mix stuff

 

All these attendants running around with scanners means vail has lots of bucks to pay people which helps the local economy

 

Also you have to remember that vail only uses these at lower mountain locations where they need to verify entry into the resort

 

Higher up lifts do not have the attendants but still have the epic mix scanners

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 

 

Vail uses RFID scanners - not bar code scanners. One does not have to show the pass. The pass can be under your jacket or in a pocket. The scanner (human) generally just wave the gun around the center of your chest area for a read. If one have the RFID tag in an obscure part of one's body, just point to it so they can wave the scanner at it and read the card. I think they just like the one on one human intimidating factor. 

True, the 1-1 human intimidation is for cheaters.  But it also is a positive 1-1 human interaction for the non-cheaters (which is most of you).  

They often say "Thanks Ray" to me when I scan.  Or if the guy is double wielding, then it's a chance for a joke when he's blowing the tip of his guns like a cowboy with his six-shooters..

Versus the liftie standing by the side and somewhat engrossed with at her ipad as she has to track a bigger stream of data and is just pure enforcement.

 

I will say the new rfid passes would be a godsend for the ski bums who are looking for a 3PM used day ticket to head up for just a few runs.  

You can't reattach a clipped sticker, but it's no sweat to just hand someone your day pass that you aren't going to use anymore.


Edited by raytseng - 1/9/15 at 2:06pm
post #18 of 26

During my recent Vail Empire visits I have used a ticket that still has a bar code that needs to be scanned. 

 

The readers the ticket checkers use have both RFID and Bar Code technology. 

 

Surprised they don't have one that reads my credit card and just sends me the bill. 

 

My dog has an RFID chip that can be read by some ticket scanners.  Since his pass expired he hasn't been able to ride the lift.

post #19 of 26

I may be alone in this, but I like Breck's system for some of the crowded lower lifts. There are like 4-5 separate lines that end in one final chute to the lift. The front row of each line moves out into the final chute and turns toward the lift. When the chute is clear, the next "front row" moves out. This requires someone to direct the movement and keep order, but it seems pretty efficient most of the time...much better than the funnel method.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post

I may be alone in this, but I like Breck's system for some of the crowded lower lifts. There are like 4-5 separate lines that end in one final chute to the lift. The front row of each line moves out into the final chute and turns toward the lift. When the chute is clear, the next "front row" moves out. This requires someone to direct the movement and keep order, but it seems pretty efficient most of the time...much better than the funnel method.
I agree that can be a better system, but it doesn't degrade gracefully if there is no attendant or he isn't paying attention. Funnels can run themselves -- badly but not as badly.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post

I may be alone in this, but I like Breck's system for some of the crowded lower lifts. There are like 4-5 separate lines that end in one final chute to the lift. The front row of each line moves out into the final chute and turns toward the lift. When the chute is clear, the next "front row" moves out. This requires someone to direct the movement and keep order, but it seems pretty efficient most of the time...much better than the funnel method.
That's Alta's system, and it appears to work smoothly. Four or so lines plus single and ski school/patrol lines, one liftie in front of the lines getting people to group up and yelling "front row!" when the previous group has gotten through the five or six RFID reader gates, another standing to the side of the reader bank checking faces against pass readings (I'm guessing that's who deals with slow or missed scans), and a third (plus fourth on big days) getting people on the lift. I've been pretty impressed. The upper lifts have shorter lines and no RFID scans, and I don't remember ever witnessing cutting or jostling there.

BTW, the posts have left me confused. Does Vail use hand-scanners at all its resorts? You'd think the bigger traffic flow would almost mandate scanning gates, which is why I assumed they're just behind the ball on replacing or upgrading PCMR's RFID system.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post
 

I may be alone in this, but I like Breck's system for some of the crowded lower lifts. There are like 4-5 separate lines that end in one final chute to the lift. The front row of each line moves out into the final chute and turns toward the lift. When the chute is clear, the next "front row" moves out. This requires someone to direct the movement and keep order, but it seems pretty efficient most of the time...much better than the funnel method.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by litterbug View Post


That's Alta's system, and it appears to work smoothly. Four or so lines plus single and ski school/patrol lines, one liftie in front of the lines getting people to group up and yelling "front row!" when the previous group has gotten through the five or six RFID reader gates, another standing to the side of the reader bank checking faces against pass readings (I'm guessing that's who deals with slow or missed scans), and a third (plus fourth on big days) getting people on the lift. I've been pretty impressed. The upper lifts have shorter lines and no RFID scans, and I don't remember ever witnessing cutting or jostling there.

BTW, the posts have left me confused. Does Vail use hand-scanners at all its resorts? You'd think the bigger traffic flow would almost mandate scanning gates, which is why I assumed they're just behind the ball on replacing or upgrading PCMR's RFID system.

the hand scanners are only at the base or bottom lifts that could be accessed by the public.  You won't be scanned at lifts where you've presumably already been checked

post #23 of 26
Apparently the same as Breck and Alta. Wouldn't make much sense otherwise.
post #24 of 26
Yeah, I've never been through a scanning gate at a Vail resort (in Colorado) other than the overhead scanners for Epic Mix tracking, which aren't the same thing. They use hand RFID scanners at the bottom, like raytseng said.
post #25 of 26

You could have come to Big Sky for your Christmas holiday.

 

The biggest problems with our lift lines is they are so rare that when they do happen no one that works here can figure out what to do about an actual maze. 

post #26 of 26

Canyons has hand-held scanning on most of its lifts, it seems. I guess that makes sense, given that there is housing and roads scattered across most of the resort, so the bottom-only approach wouldn't really work. Vail's owned Canyons long enough I think that if they were planning on replacing humans with turnstiles, it probably already would have happened.

 

When I was there Saturday after New Year's, the lines really seemed to move smoothly. The few times I encountered a wait of even a few chairs, there was someone directing traffic and pairing groups up to ensure it ran smoothly.

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