Your phone might soon be your ski lift pass at some Vail Resorts

Nathaniel Minor/CPR News
Chair Five, also known as the High Noon Express lift, was quiet on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020.

Vail Resorts said Wednesday that it’s getting ready to roll out new technology allowing customers to use their phones to get on ski lifts. 

The company plans to test the technology to allow patrons to store and use lift passes on their phones at some of its ski areas this year, with full implementation slated for the 2023-2024 ski season. Vail says the move is part of its effort to reduce plastic waste. Right now, skiers and riders use plastic cards or printed out ski lift passes, which the company says will still be available for people who want to use them.

Vail Resorts also released its latest financial numbers Wednesday in earnings calls. The company said its net income rose in fiscal year 2022 to nearly $350 million dollars, up significantly from the previous year’s net income of almost $130 million. Officials cited the relaxation of COVID-19 rules and regulations for the steep increase. Ski pass sales are also up 6 percent over the previous year. 

During the call, the company announced plans to spend nearly $200 million on capital improvements next year, including money for new lifts and improvements to older ones. At Breckenridge, the company will build a new four-person high-speed chair and add new beginner terrain.

As Vail Resorts plans for the looming ski season, it remains locked in a struggle with the Town of Vail over a plan to build employee housing on property it owns near I-70. The Town Council voted in early May to condemn the land to preserve it as bighorn sheep habitat. Earlier this month, the town offered Vail Resorts about $12 million for the land. The company has not responded publicly to the offer.

Vail owns and operates nearly 37 resorts in 15 states and three countries.