Getting your ticket checked will be a breeze at the four Aspen-owned resorts this winter. Forty new hands-free gates have been installed at the four resorts of Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and [R24R, Aspen Highlands]. The gates have a radio frequency that reads your lift card. No more paper lift tickets. Each person gets a pass with a chip inside it, so that guests are detected as they go through the lift lines. No need to go digging in your pocket to find your pass.
Meredith McKee with the Aspen resorts says they tested it last year and it was a huge hit. "All the passholders that used it last season loved it because it saved them time. It was one step less than usual, and very quick. They were able to get to that next powder lap quicker than usual."
You'll still see lift attendants, or "lifties" as McKee calls them, because there is a learning curve for guests to understand how to go through the gates. Also, each liftie has a computer screen with the person's picture, name, and age on it. The information pops up as the person goes through the gate and the chip on their pass is read. McKee says, "As they go through the gates, someone will be looking at each person, and have them say hello so that we know that it is really them."
If a guest uses someone else's pass, there is a $500 fine and the guilty party gets to meet a Pitkin County Sheriff's officer.