Satellite technology tracks skiers and snowboarders
December 17, 2005
One visitor to Park City Mountain Resort will hike a bowl and get face shots on a 15-inch powder day. Another may start the vacation week skiing green and blue runs and end on black diamonds with raccoon eyes. Both earned some bragging rights. When they return home or go out to dinner with friends and family they will tell their mountain tales. Some will stick strictly to the facts, while others will use a little creative exaggeration. At Park City Mountain Resort there is now a service that will distinguish the truth from the workings of an overactive imagination. The SlopeTracker, a 3-ounce GPS armband, uses satellite technology to keep tabs on skiers and snowboarders. The SlopeTracker tracks skiers’ and snowboarders’ runs, vertical feet, average grades, distance traveled, time spent, calories burned, top speeds, resting time and size of turns. The SlopeTracker costs $20 per day. When users finish their day at the resort, they can ski down to the SlopeTracker kiosk in the main plaza below the Payday lift and near the ticket windows. A poster-size color map of where they’ve been and their statistics will be downloaded and printed in 10 to 12 minutes. Red lines mark trails skied, yellow lines mark lifts and dotted red lines indicates hikes or traverses. "What we do is we offer the guest a personalized trail map," said Ken Rivera, president of Sport Stats, Inc. parent company of the SlopeTracker. Device users also receive a percentile ranking called a skill score. The skill score compares the skier or snowboarder’s stats to other customers in the database based on vertical feet-per-hour, runs completed, miles and hours riding and resting time. Rivera and Sport Stats CEO Jay Casper, skiing buddies since they were kids, launched the first SlopeTracker in Keystone, Colo. in 2002. Casper, a former Naval aviator, developed the product based on his knowledge of GPS satellite technology. Casper, based in Denver, Colo., handles all technical aspects of the product and Rivera, based in Park City, manages marketing and sales. Rivera said the SlopeTracker map serves as memorabilia, complements a training program and sparks a competitive edge. SlopeTracker customers are sent home with their mapped stats in a clear plastic travel tube. "This is the first time you are able to prove it: to say this is where I went and this is what I did," Rivera said. Park City Mountain Resort is one of five resorts where the SlopeTracker is now available. SlopeTrackers can be rented at Copper Mountain, Winter Park Resort, Keystone and Telluride in Colorado. An additional SlopeTracker site will open in Hafjell, Norway, a site of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, this spring. Sports Stats, Inc. ran test groups of the SlopeTracker at Park City Mountain Resort for six weeks at the end of last year’s ski season. They opened full time this year with hundreds of devices available on site. Rivera said the SlopeTracker booth averages over a dozen Park City Mountain Resort customers each day so far this season. Riviera said Sports Stats Inc. plans to release the SpokeTracker to mountain bikers and cyclists in Telluride, Colo. this spring. Similar to the SlopeTracker, the SpokeTracker will keep tabs on vertical feet, speeds and mileage for mountain bikers and rode cyclists. Rivera hopes to eventually release the SpokeTracker to bikers in Park City. SlopeTrackers cost $20, with weekly and seasonal rates soon available. The SlopeTracker kiosk is located in the main plaza at the base of Park City Mountain Resort. For more information call 655-5271, email infoor visit http://www.slopetracker.com.