Each year thousands of snow enthusiasts glide down the slopes and half-pipes at the award-winning Sundown Mountain Resort in Dubuque, Iowa. A ready team of resort staff patrol the terrain to assist with emergencies and lost skiers, instructors are busy helping first-timers learn the basics, and lodge personnel attend to the skier’s and boarder’s equipment, appetite, and transportation needs.
To support all these efforts, the resort uses a public address (PA) system to make important and sometimes urgent announcements across the slopes. For some time, however, their existing, hard-wired PA system has been plagued by a constant “buzz” from stray voltage contaminating the system. This made sound intelligibility next to impossible.
Al Wilsey, of Sundown’s operations technical support team, said, “The horrendous noise was so bad that the staff shut off the system. The only other option was to shut off their chairlifts, which was obviously not an option.”
Sundown began an ardent search online to find ways to handle the noise. When sound filters didn’t work, and replacing the hard-wired system was time- and cost-prohibitive, they knew a wireless solution might be a better option. Unfortunately, wireless microphones were expensive and couldn’t effectively send a signal to the distant lodges and ski shacks “over the hill and through the woods.”
“When we tried out Listen equipment during an on-site demonstration, we were thrilled that it eliminated the buzz,” Wilsey said. “We were really impressed that it could reach our lodges ranging from 100 to 400 feet away – and with hills in between. We thought wireless would require line-of-site conditions, but Listen’s system worked great. There was no signal interference either. Most importantly, we saw that it was reliable.”
Although the resort’s Board of Directors was initially hesitant to try something during the ski season, they were won over by Listen’s clear sound quality, ability to utilize existing equipment, and low price – 75 percent less than the other solutions they considered.