EpicMix is an iPhone app or something offered at Vail Resorts. It keeps track of your snow days, vertical feet, runs, time on the slopes etc. and of course will allow you to annoyingly “share” all of that information with all of your closest friends on Facebook. It’s like FourSquare for Vail. I’ve already seen more than enough tweets and FB status updates representing people’s EpicMix accomplishments to make me want to punch babies, so I already don’t like it and I know it’s just going to get worse (more annoying and inundating) throughout the season.
And there’s at least one significant potential privacy concern… The first time someone crashes their Subaru driving back to Denver on I-70 from Vail in a snowstorm, the insurance company’s adjusters are going to immediately ask for or subpoena the EpicMix data. They’ll see that homeboy got there at 9am (which means he left his house in the ‘burbs at 530am), logged 30,000 vertical feet over 6 hours and had two beers after, before starting the drive home. And then they’ll use that data to deny his claim on grounds that he shouldn’t have been driving because of exhaustion, fatigue, etc.
I guess if you don’t want all that nonsense or if you don’t want me to punch more babies just don’t download the app. Unfortunately if you’re a Vail Resorts season pass holder, you’re boned. The app is embedded in the season passes.
That’s where Ski Pass Defender comes in. The guy who invented this device was a former Vail Resorts employee who was concerned about the resort having access to all of the information and broadcasting information over RF. They eventually caught wind of his attempt to thwart their new plans and told him to quit selling the Ski Pass Defender, or give up his job. He chose the high road, and is no longer employed by Vail Resorts. For $15 or so you can buy the Ski Pass Defender which blocks the RFID chip from transmitting your information.
This means it also blocks Vail Resorts (or anyone else, for that matter) from collecting, aggregating and storing your information. So if you’re a privacy person or you just don’t want a giant megalithic Wall Street corporation having access to your “data” then the Ski Pass Defender is something you might wanna consider.
EpicMix will probably be successful because they’re pandering to your overwhelming sense of self-centeredness, the “I am the center of the universe” syndrome which causes you to think that people actually give a shit that you just “checked in” to a particular coffee shop or rode up a certain chairlift or have a new “pin” on your electronic profile… What they do with this data in the long run is anyone’s guess. Of course they’re telling you that they’re trying to make your experience more enjoyable but if that were true they’d spend less time promoting the billion dollar capital investments that they make every year (which put the sport more out of reach to more people) and more time trying to figure out what most of us actually want from a ski resort.
News flash: if Vail Resorts had conducted market research they would have found out that “pins” on a website were nowhere on anyone’s list of priorities.