Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

Being someone who promotes and sells digital products, I found this article from inductive Automation on What is Digital Transformation to be a perfect explanation for what taking the step from paper to digital means. The article puts things in perspective for any ski resort, no matter what stage you are in of your digital transformation.

Most ski areas have taken the step to digital transformation for transactional processes like e-commerce, ticket selling, food and beverage, and hospitality (reservations and lodging). Many have not taken the step to digital in managing operational processes. Mountain operations is the area where this step forward has been slow to get traction for digitalization. The one exception is snowmaking. I would wager that 95% of ski areas with snowmaking utilize some form of digitalization to monitor and control their systems.

Stealing a couple of lines from the article to emphasize the point – “Everyone from international Fortune 500 enterprises to local mom-and-pop shops should be using Digital Transformation to remain competitive and relevant in today’s world. Anywhere there is a process in which people and machines coexist, Digital Transformation can be useful.” I know that mountain ops folks don’t relate to competition much, leave that to marketing, but the quality of the functions that mountain ops perform generate the guest experience, which is the most prominent element that drives visits. And, where do machines and people coexist in a ski area? Mountain operations.

The article puts the transformation in a realistic perspective, making it simple to understand and not be awed by the transition. I try to reassure my clients that they can ease into getting familiar with the system and how it works. As you gain comfort, you can take the next step and the next step again.

Steep Management’s products, MountainOffice and Smart Mountain, are at the front line of digital transformation because they are primarily process-oriented. However, they both collect essential data. Some ski areas have taken the next step to integrate their data collection with SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) technology collecting the data from their ski lifts and using the technology to assist in maintenance responses as well as taking the steps from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance. I have seen where Ignition, an Inductive Automation product, has been used successfully.

The starting point is the process and then building to more artificial intelligence steps to analyze the data. If you don’t have the data, you won’t get the point of having enough data to help you be predictive in your maintenance and risk decisions.

I hope you read the article, embrace the thinking, and plan to take the next step.

Data and Information

Database of record: Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Rapid, intuitive retrieval of current and historical data (accessible on or offsite) improves decision making at all levels of management.

Simple report generation.

Reduces risk and potential lawsuits.

Supports visualization of current and future mountain infrastructure (e.g. Gazex explosives locations, forest thinning, designing new runs, parking, etc.).


Please click on the images to learn more

Ski Patrol

  • Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).
  • Use of common language allows for consistent communication and information sharing.
  • Increases safety by minimizing accidents through pattern analysis of incidents.
  • Accident Investigation and Risk Management.
  • Snow Safety (Ski Patrol) Training.

The web and mobile application suite will provide editing and data collection tools for mapping incidents (wrecks, accidents) of any kind.

Please click on the images to learn more.

Avalanche Module


Ability to document, track and analyze slope conditions with one tool.

Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).

 Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Provides detailed current and historical weather patterns for visualizing/predicting.

Saves money through more precise use of explosives. 

Please click on the images to learn more.


The dispatch and risk module leverage Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, providing an intuitive survey-form, data-driven workflow for point feature collection and reporting. Data collected with SmartMountain Survey apps, which are available for both web browsers and native desktop and mobile apps for standard operating systems, are integrated with one or more SmartMountain modules, providing real-time or disconnected and later synchronized workflows for data collection and integration.

Each ski resort decided what they wish to display on the Dispatch Dashboard including on-hill incidents, walk-in incidents, on-hill refusals,  missing persons, work details for different departments, ski patrol rosters for the day, clearances, and sweeps.

Please click on the images to learn more.


  • Logs for Lift Maintenance, Lift Operations, and Groomer inspections, as well as building inspections.
  • Logs can record data and signatures, can record stops, station assignments.
  • Logs are tracked by calendar.


  • Management review made easy through the use of Excel – reviewing a major grouping of assets or a single component of an asset such as a drive or a gearbox.
  • All information related to a system(asset) is in one place whether it be a lift inspection report, a manual, oil analysis, a service bulletin, or a letter from a vendor.


  • Every user has a unique dashboard.
  • Dashboards can be customized to reflect a user’s specific needs.
  • Quick access to the status of work and cost .


  • The schedule function in MountainOffice provides for detailed instructions by task, recording of data such as the temperature of a gearbox, and service bulletins.
  • All schedules can have a time or counter trigger.