The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Gold Pass is without a doubt the ultimate lift ticket for skiers and snowboarders. The pass provides hardcore snow sports enthusiasts with unlimited, transferable access to every National Ski Areas Association resort in the country! The program is celebrating its 40th year in existence, and in the spirit of continued success and innovation, the 2012/2013 season will see a full integration of the industry’s RFID, scanning and other lift technologies into the pass.
“Our National Ski Areas Association resorts and the Gold Pass have been vital to the success of our athletes as a Team for 40 years,” said Bill Marolt, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. “We’re proud to be able to showcase our resort industry’s emerging new technology through integration of direct to lift access into the Gold Pass.”
Originally introduced during the 1972/1973-ski season, the Gold Pass started out as a unique fundraising partnership between the U.S. Ski Team and resorts. Over the course of the following 40 years, the program would grow to become the single largest fundraising tool in the team’s arsenal. Today, funds raised through the sale of the Gold Pass exceed $3 million annually, and are utilized in various athletic programs designed to support Olympic skiers and snowboarders.
The new “Gold Pass 2.0″ is making its debut at the National Ski Areas Association Convention and Tradeshow, which kicked off on May 6 and will wrap up tomorrow the 9th in San Antonio. Not only is it a milestone for the program to reach its 40th anniversary, but it also marks the first pass to incorporate every single direct-to-lift access technologies.
“Our resorts are making huge strides to enhance the experience of skiers and snowboarders through technology,” said Michael Berry, President, National Ski Areas Association. ”This year’s Gold Pass is an amazing demonstration of how far we’ve come by integrating multiple systems into one pass offering not only direct to lift access for passholders but also the premium tracking services being put into place at leading resorts.”
To properly integrate the many different technologies employed at the resorts across the country, the USSA and NSAA turned to ski industry leaders such as RTP (part of Active Network), SKIDATA, Siriusware, Axess / North America and ExtenData, to produce a single Gold Pass integrating HF, UHF and barcode technologies for access control.
As a technology leader, we are excited to join forces with members of the ski industry to debut the next generation Gold Pass technology for the 2012/2013 winter season,” said Ram Krishnan, SVP and senior general manager of Communities at Active Network. “It has always been our passion to drive innovation and to help create the ultimate ski experience for skiers and operators.”
The innovative new technology will fully integrate barcode, RFID UHF and RFID HF into one pass allowing Gold Pass holders to go direct to lift at 65% of NSAA resorts. If you’re heading to a resort with premium tracking programs in place, such as the Epic Pass at Vail Resorts, you’ll still be able to utilize the same features offered by the standard pass.
The pass is accepted for unlimited use at any NSAA resort nationwide and is fully transferable.
If you’re a high roller and want to take your support of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team to the next level, a limited number of Gold Passes are minted each year. These exclusive passes are provided to donors who contribute $10,000 or more to the organization. A portion of the donation is tax deductible as a contribution to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation.
Over four decades the pass has supported 216 Olympic or World Championship medals by over 100 athletes. Check this breakdown of all the accomplishments the team has made for the USA:
1972 – As one of its first fundraising projects, the U.S. Ski Educational Foundation (U.S. Ski Team) partnered with the National Ski Areas Association to create the Gold Pass.
1976 – Bill Koch stunned the world taking a silver medal in cross country at the Innsbruck Olympics while Cindy Nelson won downhill bronze.
1980 – Coming back from injury, Phil Mahre defied the odds and won slalom silver on the final day of the Lake Placid Olympics.
1984 – Bill Johnson literally called his downhill win while Phil Mahre fought back tears with his closing day slalom gold medal at the Sarajevo Olympics.
1992 – Freestyle became a full medal event with Donna Weinbrecht capturing the hearts of America with her moguls gold.
1994 – Golden boy Tommy Moe opened the Lillehammer Olympics with a downhill title leading the USA to a then-record six medals.
1998 – Picabo Street took gold while Americans dominated freestyle with wins by Jonny Moseley, Nikki Stone and Eric Bergoust.
2002 – A record 10 medals were collected by U.S. skiers and snowboarders with halfpipe gold from Kelly Clark and Ross Powers, who led a medals sweep for the American men in Salt Lake City.
2010 – U.S. skiers and snowboarders took Best in the World honors as 17 athletes won 21 medals in the Vancouver Olympics.