Zipping down snow-covered slopes is what winter is all about. Glissades des Pays d’en Haut, a sledding and snow-tubing resort in Quebec, Canada, offers visitors the chance to speed down a groomed sledding track in one of their large, multi-passenger “Tornado” sleds. These sleds, which rotate as they slide down the hill, reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour. An employee at the top of the run launches each Tornado sled, and must wait until the course is cleared before releasing the next. To ensure rider safety and prevent one sled from hitting another, the resort sought a solution that could alert the gate employee when a sled had reached the end of a run, allowing them to launch the next.
Glissades partnered with GAO RFID to implement an RFID solution for tracking the Tornados while on the course. The solution features Impinj Speedway readers at the top and bottom of each of the six sled runs. The readers were selected due to their ability to operate under rugged conditions. Each Tornado sled is outfitted with a RAIN RFID tag. The RAIN RFID tags can be interrogated up to 33 feet away at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.
When a sled passes through the top gate, the reader captures the tag’s ID and locks the gate so no other sled can access the run. When the reader at the end of the course captures the same tag ID, the system informs the gate operator that it is now safe to release the next sled. Glissades also installed cameras at the bottom of the slope for visual confirmation that the run is clear.
Besides increasing customer safety, the resort has also been able to collect valuable data on course operations. They can know how many sleds are outside at the same time, which is the fastest, and when they’re at the bottom of the course. This data allows the company to better identify which sleds to use, evaluate run times, and know when additional sleds should be added to the course.