Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whistler Blackcomb for the Olypics 2010

Whistler and Blackcomb and the Winter Olympic games as a working trip has had me excited since I knew I would be able to attend. This past summer when we finally landed Whistler Resort as a new flaik resort, it was decided we would have a presence and staff would be on hand for team building, promoting our service as a new and revolutionary feature/service at ski and ride school to media, international resorts, North American resorts and skiers and snowboarders who would be swarming Whistler resort between February 12 and February 28, 2010.


The following will be various observations and reflections on my first Olympic experience from a personal and work perspective as well as a parent bringing my sons to the Olympics for a lifetime experience. One of the initial challenges was making sure we had accommodations as demand had driven lodging prices to rates I have never seen before. Eventually a 4 bedroom townhouse right outside the village was rented for the period of the games from locals who we worked with at the resort. It was a very convenient set up and we would rotate different flaik staff from the home office at different times to ensure everyone would get several days to experience the mountain and the games. This was conveniently located on the shuttle bus route and would provide a parking space for when a car was rented.


Given the size of Whistler as the largest ski resort in physical size and skier volume this account and the launch of flaik has been a significant accomplishment for our second year on the marketplace. To be able to have the world be in Whistler and see how the service is used was a great opportunity. One media opportunity has been with NBC when they did a spotlight on the Whistler Kids program out of Blackcomb during the first week. The film crew was shooting the children and staff using the flaik tags and one of the staff used the flaik tag as well for the morning session. This was followed up the second week with an interview and more in depth investigation of the flaik service that included viewing the tracking in real time of our service at work.


During the two weeks the flaik team has been seen in action and in teams wearing the red flaik jackets with our logo clearly evident. While skiing and riding on mountain, we were repeatedly asked by skiers and snowboarders about the tag, service, how it worked and where they could try it out and rent for a day. Several times we were mistaken as a team of our own, much to our own chuckles. Currently there are limited rental locations available at several resorts.

FLAIK - Flaik is a unique and ground changing technology that was introduced at two resorts – Steamboat Springs and Copper Mountain during the 2008.09 winter season. The technology utilizes GPS and cell technology fused to deliver real time tracking of skiers and snowboarders at ski resorts. The primary application has initially targeted ski and ride schools where each student and instructor is provided a flaik tag that tracks them throughout their day on the mountain. Flaik includes safety features that uses different alerts and alarms should a student and instructor get separated. The service enables resorts to know at all times where students and instructors are on the mountain. This provides an added layer of comfort for parents, staff and resort operators as well as operating efficiencies in managing the ski and ride school from labor savings, management performance functions and getting students who head away form classes together very quickly.


The flaik service is currently available at the following nine North American resorts: Copper Mountain, Steamboat Springs and Winter Park in Colorado; Alpine Meadows and Homewood Mountain Resort in California; Smugglers Notch and Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont; Whistler Resort and Mont Tremblant in Canada.


Parents and users love the flaik service as they are able to visit the web site, build a profile and once they download the data have a video scripted replay of the day on the mountain. The application enables the user to relive each run, see how fast they went, what runs they skied, how fats they went, total vertical feet skied and begin to track easily and share their day with friends and family. New features are being released throughout the season. I know my boys sure love watching where they went, how many vertical they skied and speeds they attained at different parts of the mountain.

The flaik service and technology is also used to power various fun events at resort partners such as vertical challenges, all mountain rallies, scavenger hunts and daily rentals for individuals and groups to track their vertical feet, ensure safety and create a digital journal/diary of their day(s) on the mountain. The Helly Hansen Big Mountain Battle series at 8 North American resorts is powered by flaik again for this year at the following resorts – Squaw Valley, Stevens Pass, Revelstoke Mountain, Sun Peaks Resort, Fernie Mountain, Smugglers Notch, Taos, and the finals known as the Battle of the Bowls at Aspen Highlands.

Article written by JOhn Siewierski President Founder Mountain Sports Club and currently Senior Vice President of Sales for flaik, inc.