Firewall / General

More Bandwidth, Better Connectivity

woman with laptop and snowboard

Ski resort improves business & guest experience with connectivity solution

Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs, California is a remote ski resort located in the San Bernardino mountains and one of the largest ski areas in Southern California. Snow Valley has been in recreation business for over 80 years and recently invested $9 million in guest experience additions.

“People want to use their devices, but when cell towers go down on the mountain, providers don’t want to fix them in the snow. We’ve struggled to make guests happy because our hands are so tied by limited bandwidth in our location.”

— Gary Abers, Part-Time IT consultant

The Challenges

ski slope

Bandwidth is an ongoing issue. For six years Snow Valley has relied on three bonded T1 copper lines from a previous provider, forcing the business to run on 4.5 Mbps of bandwidth. When the provider sold the network, Snow Valley was left without any support and no in-house IT team.

“Snow Valley needed reliable connectivity to process credit cards,” says Gary. “It’s a major part of the business. That doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth, but it does demand a reliable connection and our copper lines weren’t cutting it.”

Copper lines can be easily impacted by the elements, especially in a remote location exposed to inclement weather. If a single T1 got wet and went down, Snow Valley lost a third of its total bandwidth, dropping from 4.5 to 3.0 Mbps. If another went down, it was forced to operate on 1.5 Mbps.

Bandwidth was also a challenge for guests. Snow Valley couldn’t spare the bandwidth to offer WiFi, forcing visitors to rely on spotty cell service in a remote location and resulting in customer complaints.

The Solution

credit card transaction

Frontier’s solution offered no less than an accelerated digital transformation for the resort. The digital transformation was about more than just their location. Frontier transformed an entire central office area to help address Snow Valley’s problem.

Snow Valley’s central office was located in a valley between two mountains and between two more builtout central offices. Consequently, it serves a small community and offered only copper dial-tone phone lines, so it wasn’t feasible for Frontier to build it out.

Frontier developed a design that delivered connectivity services from an adjacent central office in Big Bear, California by transmitting over high-end microwave as a long-term solution. In the meantime, Frontier utilized a 100 Mbps connection from Redlands, California that goes over the top of the mountain and back down to Snow Valley, adding immediate bandwidth to their existing 4.5 Mbps connection.

With an immediate improvement and a long-term plan in place, Frontier secured Snow Valley’s network with a Managed Firewall.

There is a Frontier Ethernet circuit transmitting to them over the top of a mountain, a firewall to protect them to make sure everything stays up and working. The goal was to keep Snow Valley up and running no matter what.

Customer Results

Snow Valley now has the best connectivity in its history of operations. Snow Valley now offers WiFi to its guests. In addition, microwave antennas with a maximum capacity of 500 Mbps now run up to the top of Slide Peak and down the mountain about 23 miles to the resort. A point-to-point bridge at the mountain’s peak (7,840 ft.) uses ubiquity antennas to deliver connectivity 1.5 miles to mountain patrol and then down into Snow Valley with fiber into their rack.