This season Crystal Mountain will have a new ticketing system. It’s called Axess, and it’s pretty simple. Each time you ride a lift, you won’t have to pull out your lift ticket or season’s pass since the system will read it electronically. When the machine reads the card or season’s pass in your pocket, the gate lets you through. It’s going to be quick and painless. Plus, you’ll be able to save money.
Here’s how: when you buy your first Axess card, it will cost 65$ at the ticket window. You will want to save that card (it can be reloaded indefinitely), because the next time you use it, it will be cheaper and much easier. The card can be reloaded at home, on the internet, for only 60$. That’s right, last season’s ticket prices. Plus, you won’t have to stand in the ticket line anymore. Just go straight to the lifts. I know, I sound like I should be in marketing here. But I’m pretty excited about the Axess system. I’ve skied at other resorts that use this kind of system, and I’ve always liked it. Other resorts in Washington use this system, such as Stevens Pass and White Pass.
The most exciting part in this blog post, from the ski patrolling point of view, is the new trail map/lift status signs (you know, the ones that have those little open/closed red/green flippy signs that you check each time you get off Rex and hope that southback has opened). The new signs will show the status of all lifts and southback (open, closed, standby), and will be electronically controlled by the ski patrol dispatch. Just think, no more flip signs that make you wonder if perhaps Northway really has opened and someone just forgot to flip the sign, begging the existential question, should I go back there and risk it, or take another lap down the frontside while there’s still a few lines to be had? And let’s face it, even when we patrollers are super johnny-on-the-spot, flipping our little hearts out, there’s always been a little lag time between the radio announcement and the actual moment of flippage.
Now you will know the instant it’s open. No more equivocation. There will also be two new sign locations in the base area, in addition to the sign locations that we currently use. Therefore, before you even get on a lift, you will know, instantly, what’s open, what’s closed and most importantly, which lifts and terrain are currently on hold, but plan to open. I suspect that we patrollers will still get the world’s most commonly asked question–"So Dude, when’s southback going to open?"–but these new signs will certainly help all of us. If the signs read that southback is "closed", then that means it will not open at all that day. If the sign reads "standby" that means the patrol is working on it, and if all goes well, it will open that day. In the case of a chairlift, "standby" means that the lift is planning on operating. It could be on wind-hold or simply not open yet, but we are hoping and planning on it running.
Crystal has some big changes planned for this season. Stay tuned for further ski patrol point of view on other upcoming stuff.