Ski areas track how many days passholders ski or ride
Ever wonder how much rope patrollers string up at resorts on an average day? Does your ski boot chafe your ankle, and no one seems to be able to tell you why? Want to know why your favorite trail hasn’t opened this year?
Submit your snowsport-related questions to The Weekly Ski Poll, and we’ll find the answers for you. Send questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org, fax at (970) 668-0755 (ATTN: Ski Poll) or call (970) 668-3998, ext. 237. Make sure to include your name, address and phone number. We’ll select a different
question each week and run the answer on Friday.
This week’s question:
I heard that when the lifties scan my season pass, the resort keeps a total of how many days I have on the hill. Is that true, and how can I find out how many days I’ve skied?
Answer: Next time your bragging-inclined ski buddy claims he has more skiing days in than you, yes, you can call his bluff.
The electronic scanning equipment now used by most ski areas to verify your season pass or day ticket has many data-gathering capabilities – and there’s many uses for those numbers.
To answer the initial question, yes, skiers and snowboarders can find out how many days they have on the hill. How you find that information depends on which ski area you visit.
“We do know how many days people have, but the lifties scanning in the line don’t know,” said Copper Mountain spokesman Ben Friedland.
At Loveland Ski Area, lift-line scanners can tell you if you’re on track for a 100- or 200-day season. Events and promotions manager Ken Kelley said the scanning equipment gives employees a read-out that features the number of ski days a pass-holder has logged.
“Some people request the number after the season is over,” said Kelley, who added Loveland has a number of regulars who hit 120-plus days and several who set their goal at 150. “But that can overwhelm us, so we don’t really encourage it. They can just ask the lifties.”
In the age of “Total Information Awareness,” though, the issue begs the question of how those numbers are used.
Friedland said Copper Mountain’s electronic system does compile the ski-day information in a database along with the passholder’s information (given at the time of purchase), but he said the information isn’t used for marketing. “It has that potential,” he said, “but we’re not currently utilizing it.”
Kelley said Loveland does use the information. In addition to a skier’s number of days on the slopes, demographic information can be very useful.
“It’s all there in the database,” Kelley said. “It’s as useful as you make it.”
Knowing that information can have a negative impact, though, especially for resort employees who realize they don’t get outside as much as they think they should. Whereas Kelley said he logs between 75 and 100 ski days a year (“And I don’t just count going up and coming down,” he said, “it’s about vertical feet covered.”), Friedland said he could do better.
“I average between 40 and 50,” Friedland said. “That’s not bad, but it’s kind of a bummer considering I can spit on the lift from my office.”
For those passholders who go above and beyond the average mark, ski areas sometimes offer special recognition. Many 10th Mountain Division veterans visit Loveland, Kelley said, and log 80-plus days a year – despite being septuagenarians. Kelley said the veterans are always special guests.
Copper Mountain threw a party for a longtime passholder who reached the 4 million-vertical-foot mark in skiing. Friedland said the resort was able to calculate that, in part, by using the number of ski days recorded by the electronic scanners.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or email@example.com.
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