September 29, 2016

Angel Fire Resort Children’s Ski & Snowboard Center Says “Flaik Knows Jo, Do You?”

afr-kids-01By Jo Mixon

Robin & Deborah May

Wow oh wow oh wow, has the Angel Fire Resort come flying onto the top of the field in technology! Let me introduce you to Flaik (pronounced; flake). It is a GPS system first launched in the 2009-2010 season by Steve Kenny and his team at Steamboat and Copper Mountain. This system now implemented at the Angel Fire Resort Children’s Ski and Snowboard School allows real time tracking of ski and ride students, instructors, and whole classes. It provides an unprecedented level of safety and security allowing that extra peace of mind for instructors, parents, and the resort.

Invaluable IT employee, Alex Dos Santos, took the Flaik program and personalized it to meet the needs of the Children’s Ski and Snowboard Center. All sales, beginning with Mountain Reservations, are populated into the Flaik program. Each child’s age, shoe size, level of ability and even allergies and special medical information are keyed into the program when a reservation is made. Nothing is missed. When a child attends the class, their information is already in the system. Deborah or one of her trained ski school supervisors scan the children into specific classes. Each child is assigned a Flaik, as is his or her instructor. And the instructor is provided the information on each of his or her students. Every child and every instructor wears a Flaik GPS at all times. It is securely fitted into a wrap around band worn on the leg or the arm. Then the fun begins!

The entire ski area is imposed on a master google map. This map is monitored on a computer screen inside of the Children’s Ski and Snowboard Center. Each Flaik, with the name of the child or instructor it has been assigned, beams onto the map. (If you have ever driven with GPS you can visualize the concept.) These “beeps” show up in all zones over the entire mountain. With this technology there is no separation of students and instructors which means no lost child, no lost instructor….ever! The Flaiks work on a separate stand-alone system that sends a signal. Global satellite and cellular systems work together to pinpoint each Flaik. The GPS updates every three seconds. Classes are updated every five minutes. There have been over 200 students a day this season and each one of them have been tracked at all times.

And it does more! At the end of the day parents are given a code to use online. They are able to see a map of the runs their children skied or boarded that day along with the vertical feet. Deborah uses this information when she is developing classes for the following day. She can access what trails the young skiers and boarders have run and place them each into the appropriate class level for the next day. She said before the season opened, they buried a Flaik in the snow to see if it could be tracked. It could! So if anyone wearing a Flaik were to have an accident or get lost, his or her whereabouts would be beamed to the map immediately. Isn’t that awesome? Nor can the unit itself be lost or stolen. Why? Because it transmits a signal no matter where it’s located, even out of state or if it’s turned off. Very clever!

Robin and Deborah May have been back at the Angel Fire Resort since 2009. Robin is the Director of the Ski and Snowboard Department and Deborah is the head of the Children’s Ski and Snowboard Center. Together they are committed to bring new and positive changes to their departments. They actually met as young ski instructors working for the Angel Fire Resort. A few years later they were married on the mountain, in a blizzard! Their daughter Elke, now a senior in high school, earned her Level 1 PSIA Instructor Certification at 16 years old, becoming one of the youngest people in the United States to do so! We are blessed to have them all.

Robin and Deborah are passionate about teaching the love of skiing and snowboarding to each of their students as well as the instructors they hire. The addition of the GPS Flaik system on top of their already infectious desire to teach with excellence is a win-win situation for everyone! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Angel Fire is THE BEST place to play in the snow! Whether you are three years old or ninety years old, whether you have never been on the snow or are an expert. Come on up and play!!For more information go to www.angelfireresort.com. Watch the live cams, and then make your reservations early!

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