RFID in the ski resort industry is inevitable. Its ease of use for the guest and large potential ROI and on-going marketing data for the company make it no-brainer. The easier it is to use, the more guests will use it, the more sales will be made.

Squeezed to read, release to ride technology

Squeezed to read, release to ride technology

Aspen Ski Company announced the new “Resort Charge” feature for their ski passes. We originally caught wind of this in a Computer World December, 2009. This is when we came up for the need of Ski Pass Defender.

This post is not meant to be an indictment of AspenSnowmass, but rather information and call to action for skiers and riders using RFID enabled passes.
Taken from the Aspen Snowmass Website:

NEW THIS SEASON, attach a credit card to your season pass and never carry cash on the mountain again. Use your season pass as you would your credit card at Aspen Skiing Company-operated restaurants* and Four-Mountain Sports/D&E locations. This plus hands-free gate access gives you the ultimate hassle-free experience!

The RFID enabled ski pass will mostly likely have a “Socket Key” code which is a unique ID. It is now also contained on the RF chip laminated within the pass.

Sample Ski Pass of a Socket Key "WebID"

Sample Ski Pass of a Socket Key "WebID"

This number can be cloned, and it just makes sense to shield your RFID information from would be “Skimmers”

This ID code will tell the computer system who you are, and what your privileges include. RF will continue to serve a number of purposes for the ski resorts:

1) Convenience as a RF enabled lift pass

2) Convenience to charge at authorized locations (mainly company operated)

3) Trackable around the mountain (where RF scanners are placed).

Notice that large financial firms do not want to show you about their security measures when tested by an “un-sponsored: 3rd party source:

A ski resort desires is to add convenience, generate profit, and gain adoption of the product. Don’t forget their largest partners. They would like to get a piece of your usage dollars and information as well. American Express, Aspen and Vail Resorts Official Partner, has been well documented for their customer tracking plans. Look for Insurance company partners soon. As more data gets easier to be pulled from you without your knowledge, you now have a way to protect your data accessible when using RFID with a Ski Pass Defender.

Also, passholders should be aware of security concerns with syphoning of data through mobile apps. The apps are free, and they offer function to the user. But until companies disclose what information they take (including GPS info), and who the information gets shared with (Resort Partners & Affiliate partners) we suggests to stay away from those phone apps.

Jonathan Lawson has been an expert in the field of Identity Theft Risk Management since 2005, and a ski professional since 1991.  Mr. Lawson has held dozens of education seminars for minors, adults, seniors, and corporations regarding identity theft and risk mitigation.

Filed under: NewsSki Industry events and milestones

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