Vail Resorts debuts EpicMix Guide, which offers customized itineraries for your day on the slopes | VailDaily.com

Vail Resorts debuts EpicMix Guide, which offers customized itineraries for your day on the slopes

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com

VAIL — Have you ever visited a mountain town and wished you could ski it like a local?

That's the idea behind Vail Resorts' newest app, EpicMix Guide. The fifth generation of the popular EpicMix program takes user input to generate a customized, step-by-step navigational guide and ski itinerary for Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone in Colorado, Canyons in Park City, Utah, or Heavenly, Northstar or Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe. The new app will debut this coming ski season in early December, officials said.

Here's how it works — users log into EpicMix via app, mobile web or desktop and answer a variety of questions, including desired resort, starting location at the resort, terrain difficulty desired and length of time available. EpicMix Guide then pours over 350 possible itineraries to automatically generate the optimal route for that guest on that day.

"EpicMix Guide will enhance the way many of our destination guests experience our resorts," said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "Skiers and riders can input what kind of skiing they like to do, what kind of terrain they want to explore and how much time they have available, and EpicMix Guide provides a custom itinerary to help them navigate the mountain in a care-free way, maximizing the fun they'll have that day."

Insider knowledge

The Guide adds to various EpicMix programs that were industry firsts at the time of debut. EpicMix was introduced in 2010 as an RFID-based system that allows skiers and riders to track their days on the slopes and share their accomplishments via social media. The RFID chip in season passes and day tickets tracks vertical feet, number of lift rides and other data. In subsequent years, Vail Resorts also added EpicMix Photo, EpicMix Racing and EpicMix Academy, a ski-school app.

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The hundreds of itineraries on EpicMix Guide were created from insider knowledge from each resorts' most experience ski and snowboard instructors and are designed to be appropriate for different skill levels.

"EpicMix Guide is like handing you 20 years of experience at that resort on your first visit there," Lynch said. "We're putting this power at the fingertips of every one of our guests."

Once an itinerary is completed, skiers and riders can share their itinerary, along with photos and other stats about their day, on social media through Facebook and Twitter.

"EpicMix was the first RFID-enabled ski application to combine physical performance tracking with social media sharing," said Robert Urwiler, Vail Resorts' executive vice president and chief information officer. "EpicMix Guide is pushing skiing and riding to new technological frontiers by making the transition from passive tracking to active recommendations."

Users can activate their free EpicMix accounts at http://www.epicmix.com.

ResortApp debuts

While EpicMix Guide takes care of on-mountain plans, another new app developed by self-professed ski bum Joe Cleary aims to guide visitors around town.

ResortApp, which was introduced in March, takes the user's location and directs them to the nearest restaurants, ski shops, ski school or babysitting services. You can look up specials (contributed to the app daily by participating restaurants) for dinner, call to make a reservation and get directions to the restaurant, all through the app.

"When we started developing this, we wanted it to be a complete focus on the best service," Cleary said. "We put ourselves in the shoes of people who have never been here before and thought about what they'd need to know about our valley."

You can also find your friends on the mountain through the app. If you're friends with your ski buddies through ResortApp, then you can pinpoint their location as close as 5 feet on the mountain. The GPS data updates every 60 seconds, so according to Cleary, gone are the days of unsuccessfully wandering the mountain to meet up with your friends.

So far, ResortApp has only been for Vail visitors, but in November it will be introduced for Summit County and Aspen. As soon as those are off the ground, Steamboat Springs and Park City will be next.

Cleary said ResortApp was born after he found that other skiing apps were plentiful, but not comprehensive.

"A lot of what we saw others did was regurgitate different info that was already on other websites. Often it would pull up something that would take you to a different browser to look at on your phone," he said. "That's fine, but why download the app if you can look it up on the Internet? For ResortApp, we consider it a boutique product — all the information is contained within the app."

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at mwong@vail daily.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

Five Vail apps to download

EpicMix Guide: If you’re skiing a new mountain in the Vail Resorts family, punch in your preferences for a ski itinerary tailored to the time you have, skill level and kind of day you’re looking for. Debuts in December 2014. http://Www.epicmix.com.

ResortApp: Get directions, deals and info about Vail restaurants, shops and other services. Locate your friends on the mountain, and even get real-time info for parking garage capacity. Currently in Vail and will be available for Summit County and Aspen in November 2014. http://www.resortapp.com

2015 App: Look for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships app to debut next February. The app will feature full schedules, real-time information for shuttles, results and bios of racers — everything you need to know to spectate like a pro. http://www.vailbeavercreek2015.com.

Liftopia: The website and mobile app is a go-to spot for deals at ski resorts around the country. Get discounts on everything from lift tickets to ski rentals. http://www.liftopia.com.

CDOT Mobile App: The Colorado Department of Transportation constantly updates traffic conditions, estimated drive times and weather alerts for those driving the Interstate 70 corridor. http://www.cotrip.org.