Vail Resorts will forecast wait times for ski lifts in app

A new Vail Resorts innovation could be a blessing for people who can’t stand to stand in line. 

The tool, to be available in Vail’s EpicMix app, will enable skiers to plot their time on the mountain at 12 resorts with the help of full-day forecasts of lift-time waits. 

The solution will debut in December at Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California; Stowe and Okemo in Vermont; Park City in Utah; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia. Wait-time forecasts will be provided in 15-minute increments. 

The predictive technology builds upon the EpicMix Time functionality that Vail introduced within its app in 2015, which provides real-time wait times at the lift. Predictions will be derived from historic and actual wait-time data for a specific lift, combined with resort and lift guest counts, wait times at other lifts, snowfall conditions, day of the week and period of the season.

The predictive algorithm will also use machine learning, Vail said, meaning that forecasts are likely to improve as the ski season progresses. 

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“Based on years of data collected from EpicMix, we know that even on peak visitation days, more than 90% of lift-line wait times across our resorts are under five minutes,” Vail CEO Kirsten Lynch said in a prepared remark.

“Even so, we remain dedicated to continuing to improve the guest experience, reduce wait times and communicate transparently with guests, especially given the excitement and demand for travel this coming season.”

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