Lift ticket

A lift ticket or lift pass is an identifier usually attached to a skier's or snowboarder's outerwear that indicates they have paid and can ride on the ski lift(s) that transport people and equipment up or down a mountain.[1]

Types of lift tickets

Types of lift tickets may vary by time period, or type of lift.[2]

Direct application to clothing

Before ticket wickets, zip-ties, and RFID cards, lift tickets were stapled or glued directly to clothing, to prevent ticket holders from transferring lift tickets from one skier to another, thereby depriving ski resorts of revenue. This approach, however, damaged skiers' clothing.[3][4]

Ticket wicket

Ski resorts (and other venues that issue tickets) commonly use a wicket to secure the ticket (called a "ticket wicket"), a short piece of light wire which loops through the ticket holder's clothing or backpack. The ticket wicket was invented by Killington Ski Resort employee Martin S. "Charlie" Hanley, in 1963, and given its name by his wife Jane. Hanley patented the ticket wicket the Canada and the United States in 1966,[5][6] and assigned the rights to Killington's parent company, The Sherburne Corporation, for whom he had developed the wicket while on their payroll. The Sherbourne Corporation licensed the ticket wicket to ski areas across the U.S. following a ski operators road show, at which the Hanleys promoted it. Despite quick and widespread adoption of the wicket both domestically and abroad, however, Hanley never made any money off the soon-ubiquitous ticket wicket; an avid skier, he was content to invent something that further developed the then-nascent sport of downhill skiing. In 1995, John C. Myles, Melisa Syracusa, and Edward M. Friedlander, Jr. patented another version of the ticket wicket.[7]

The wicket inspired several innovations to make its use more convenient, such as ski ticket holder "pigtail".[8] In addition, many ski jackets are designed with wickets in mind, providing plastic or cloth loops that allow the attachment of a wicket without interfering with zipper operation.

Zip-tie

Today, although ticket wickets are still widely used,[9] some resorts now use plastic zip-ties rather than metal wires to secure tickets. As Greg Morrill notes, "The zip-ties made it easier to remove the ticket, but the zip-tie remained.  I still see quite a few skiers with a collection of ticket-less zip-ties hooked to their parka." The difficulty removing zip ties from clothing is but one issue those plastic fasteners fail to resolve; another is: "For ski areas there was the problem of checking tickets.  Historically this was a manual process performed by lift personnel.  But as the number of skiers increased, staff had to be added expressly to check tickets. Part of this need was also driven by the fact that as ticket prices went up there was more incentive for customers to rip-off the system." Manually checking tickets is complicated by the popular practice of skiers Morrill refers to as "Ticket Turkeys",[10] who retain a collection of used ski tickets on their clothing, thereby forcing human ticket checkers "to parse through a collection of tickets to find the current one."[11]

RFID card

Some ski resorts have overcome the above-mentioned problems by issuing, instead of lift tickets, digital cards embedded with RFID chips.[12][13] These cards are kept in a pocket during the skier's visit to the resort, as they do not need to be removed for the access gate to detect them.

References

  1. "Lift types – Everything about ski lifts". skiresort.info. Skiresort Service International GmbH. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  2. Lorentz, Karen D. (August 1, 2017). "STICKY WICKET: ORIGIN OF THE TICKET WICKET". Skiing History. International Skiing History Association.
  3. Lorentz, Karen D. (August 1, 2017). "STICKY WICKET: ORIGIN OF THE TICKET WICKET". Skiing History. International Skiing History Association.
  4. Taylor, Derek Taylor (April 23, 2015). "Morpheme: The Hanley Ticket Assembly (For the love of the wicket, the most impactful invention in skiing". Powder. American Media, LLC.
  5. Hanley, Martin S. (March 22, 1966). "Ski ticket wicket". US3241255
  6. Hanley, Martin S. (September 20, 1966). "Ski ticket wicket". Canada Patent 742,863.
  7. Myles, John C.. & Syracusa, Melisa & Friedlander Jr., Edward M. (1995). "Ski ticket wicket". US5423141A
  8. Gilson, Ronald J. Jr. & Gilson, Goldie M. (1970). "Ski ticket holder". US3662480A.
  9. Lorentz, Karen D. (August 1, 2017). "STICKY WICKET: ORIGIN OF THE TICKET WICKET". Skiing History. International Skiing History Association.
  10. Morrill, Greg (March 15, 2012). "The Ticket Turkey". Retro-Ski. "I believe “turkey” is the appropriate term since the male turkey (the bird) fans out his tail feathers to impress the female.  The Ticket Turkey fans out his tickets to also impress, but I’m not sure who he is trying to impress."
  11. Morrill, Greg (March 15, 2012). "The Ticket Turkey". Retro-Ski.
  12. Lorentz, Karen D. (August 1, 2017). "STICKY WICKET: ORIGIN OF THE TICKET WICKET". Skiing History. International Skiing History Association.
  13. Taylor, Derek Taylor (April 23, 2015). "Morpheme: The Hanley Ticket Assembly (For the love of the wicket, the most impactful invention in skiing". Powder. American Media, LLC.
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