Stevens Pass is installing new ticket and pass scanning at its lifts for this winter. The new system should speed up moving through the lift line to the chair, and passholders won't have to pull their passes out of their pockets.

Radio Frequency ID, a small chip, circuit, and antenna imbedded into a daily ticket or season pass, registers to open an access gate automatically at the lift. The chip in the pass or ticket doesn't need to be within the visual line of the sight of the scanner, so access gates do not require showing a pass or ticket each time through the lift line. Passes may stay zipped into pockets.

The circuits in the passes are sensitive to other electronics that may interrupt the radio frequency that activates the gate. They must be carried in a separate pocket from cell phones or other electronic devices and foil-wrapped foods to prevent interference. Skiers and snowboarders must carry only one pass or ticket to avoid misreads. Those with pacemakers must not wear the passes near the heart when accessing a gate.

Season passes will no longer contain photos with the new Radio Frequency ID system. Skiers and snowboarder photos will appear instead on handheld devices used by lift operators. The access chip will be imbedded in Advantage Passes for direct-to-lift billing.

Daily lift tickets also will be different with the new system. The new system requires tickets that can be reloaded. Additional days may be added at ticket windows or online to bypass ticket lines.

The sturdy chips, which are designed for industrial uses, are made to withstand mountain weather. They should also survive accidental rides tucked in pockets of clothing in the wash machine.

More information. Or call 206-812-4510.