Skiing Goes Wireless

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Olympic Valley, Calif. Nov. 12, 2003--Now, there's no need for avid skiers and snowboarders to call in sick to catch a "powder day", nor any reason for them not to extend a vacation a day longer. Exwire, a wireless Internet service provider catering to underserved markets, has installed the first wireless network of its kind at a US ski resort, Squaw Valley USA. This new network will enable visitors to access the Internet from wireless (WiFi-enabled) laptops, PDAs and cell phones—from the top to the bottom of the resort. Exwire network users can message, surf and check email, as well as look up the latest weather forecast, grooming reports, area activities and more from their PDA or laptop within any area Hotspot. Future expansion of service will allow skiers (or parents with skiing children) carrying PDAs to see others' locations at the resort, send voice or text messages, get real-time ski area information (like lifts reporting short lines), report emergencies, and receive happy hour or meal specials updates. The wireless coverage area includes much of Squaw Valley USA's base area and will be expanded to many upper mountain lifts and facilities. By opening day (Nov. 22), skiers will be able to surf poolside at the facility at the top of Squaw Valley known as "High Camp" (elevation 8'250). To get access at any network location, users simply log on by choosing Exwire's network in their Wi-Fi-enabled device and then launching their web browser. Instructions then guide users through the payment process. The wireless network at Squaw Valley USA will also help automate the resort's operations and procedures. One likely application of the network is ticket scanning with wireless handhelds—so employees can move around and scan tickets to keep the lines moving. In addition to the new mountain services, many valley conference and hotel rooms will have wireless connectivity. Broadband is also available to most homes and businesses in the valley and Exwire offers unique plans for owners of second or seasonal homes. For more information on Exwire, visit www.exwire.com or call 530-587-4312.