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“Lift lines visible from space” is a, shall we say, epic exaggeration, and Vail Resorts now has the data to prove it. New for this winter is EpicMix Time Insights, an interactive website that shows the actual hourly lift-line wait times for each chairlift at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Park City during the 2016-2017 season. Skiers can use this history to get an idea about where to ski and when during their vacation, and the company can use the data to find bottlenecks and improve lift service.
“Across Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Park City last winter season, lift-line wait times exceeded five minutes only 6 percent of the time,” says Robert Urwiler, chief information officer for Vail Resorts. The company also points out that this statistic increased to merely 8 percent during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods, and is already installing new highspeed chairlifts to improve these numbers.
Beyond historical data, the new program gives users tips during their vacation about where to go and when, using push notifications in the EpicMix app. Big line for first chair on a powder day? The app can tell guests to hold tight for 15 minutes to let the early birds disperse after the gondola gets going, which is valuable time to properly get your kids suited and booted for the day.
Vail Resorts has plans to make this data available in the near future at their California, Canada, and Vermont resorts, and to watch time trends throughout future seasons to better improve the guest experience. Big-data collection might seem ominous, but using data to create shorter wait times for skiers to get to the goods sounds great to us. Check out how long you actually waited in line last season at time.epicmix.com.