I’ll be totally up front: I’m a big fan of Vail Resort’s EpicMix.
I adore EpicMix Photo (the only family ski pictures in which I’m on the right side of the camera), EpicMix Guide (an easy way to plan a ski day — put in where you’re skiing, how long you’re skiing and what kind of terrain you wish to ski and the app tells you where to go) and EpicMix Time (real-time lift status at your fingertips).
I also appreciate how Vail Resort’s is up front about lift lines.
They’ve got big mountains. Sometimes these big mountains have big lift times. But not always and not everywhere.
And that brings us to today’s topic: EpicMix Time Insights.
What Is EpicMix Time Insights?
It’s a predictive tool designed to help you understand where and when long lift lines can occur and how to avoid them.
“The goal of EpicMix Time Insights is to help guests migrate to lesser lift lines. Using last season’s data allows us to be predictive in understanding how lines will form across our thousands of acres of terrain, which is helpful in reminding guests that there is always someplace to ski without crowds,” explains the Vail Resorts development team.
Data collected last season is searchable by mountain, by date and by time.
Here’s an example of how you might use EpicMix Time Insights.
Let’s say you want to use your Epic Pass on Martin Luther King Day and are wondering which of the Colorado mountains will have the fewest guests.
Begin by going to the EpicMix Time Insights website. Choose a mountain and pick a date. A map of part the resort will come up. If you’re looking for a different part of the mountain, you can choose from a drop down menu under the map’s lower right corner.
Along the bottom of the page, you’ll see a timeline with a toggle. Move the toggle along and watch the lift line wait times change throughout the day.
New snow totals for each day are also displayed along with my favorite part of this whole operation, Mountain Tips and Info.
Here are some screen shots using my MLK Day example.
Here’s the 9:00 a.m. story from Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone on this same day. Please trust me when I tell you the lines were consistently low all day.
The lesson from my research?
MLK Monday 2017 was not a busy day in Colorado.
Mountain Tips and Insights
While some people love data and numbers, others do not, preferring narrative information.
That’s why I’m really excited about the Mountain Tips and Insights provided for each resort.
For example, the data shows (and most skiers and riders know) that lift lines begin forming before the lifts open. This creates a longer wait for the first round of gondolas.
At Vail, the time difference in minutes can vary from up to 20 minutes to nearly no lift line, just by waiting 15 minutes or longer before heading out.
Thus, here is Vail Mountain’s Tip #1
And the tips just get better.
There are 10 tips for Vail Mountain (with numbers for the other mountains), including suggestions on how to miss the ski school upload and what time to make your way back from popular Blue Sky Basin in order to avoid the end of day rush.
Two more examples:
Seriously, if you do nothing else before skiing at one of these mountains this season, read the tips on the EpicMix Time Insights website.
Not on the App and No Guarantees
Three quick reminders.
First, EpicMix Time Insights is not on the EpicMix app. It’s a separate website, optimized for all platforms.
Second, (and this should be obvious), there are no guarantees.
As the mutual fund industry likes to say, “past results are no guarantee of future performance.”
Just because it snowed 18” at Park City on January 11, 2017 doesn’t mean it will snow at all at Park City on January 11, 2018.
And just because the Crescent Express lift at Park City opened that day with a 21 minute lift line (which dropped to just 2 minutes by 9:30 a.m.) doesn’t mean the lift lines will be similar this year.
Third, for real-time lift lines while you’re skiing and riding, use EpicMix Time in the EpicMix app.
How EpicMix Time Insights Works
Here’s the short and sweet on how EpicMix Time Insights works.
Each resort continuously collects data anonymously from mobile phones and bluetooth connected devices on the mountain.
Devices like these constantly seek connectivity and emit probes.
This ongoing pinging allows people smarter than me to calculate how many devices are in one place and for how long throughout the day, creating a reliable proxy for lift line wait times.
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