Technology Blog

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or sipping hot cocoa in the lodge, staying connected during a spring break ski vacation is important to everyone—regardless of skill level.  Mobile phones not only allow users to share fun experiences in the snow, but also can act as a vital lifeline for safety in the event of an accident or if someone goes missing. Coverage on the slopes is more important than ever before.

Finding strong wireless coverage on the slopes can be difficult. Our engineers overcome unique challenges to boost cellular coverage for the 57.5 million winter enthusiasts who hit the slopes every year. For AT&T network engineers providing wireless coverage on top of a mountain or in a valley surrounded by thousand foot peaks, it’s like navigating a double-black diamond filled with moguls.

To provide reliable coverage at ski resorts, AT&T is deploying unique Outdoor Distributed Antennas Systems (oDAS) throughout some of the most popular ski resorts in the country. And like the snowflakes on the slopes themselves, no two ski resort networks are the same.

AT&T engineers must work around weather conditions to install hundreds of miles of cable and fiber in areas underground, up and down a mountainside, even hidden inside the ski lift cables. Not to mention, installations around the mountain base and resort. This all needs to be done before the ground freezes and they are no longer able to dig. Although most of the construction takes place during the summer, mountain resorts are full of vacationers year round, so engineers must work at times when it is least disruptive to visitors.

Engineers must also consider the sensitive environment and aesthetics of a ski resort when building an oDAS. We know that a 100-foot antenna would look out of place in the midst of a freshly powdered winter wonderland, so engineers often disguise antennas at ski resorts as pine trees. The pine tree antennas are well-hidden among the hundreds of other real trees, so you would be hard pressed to point one out!

A ski resort oDAS brings smartphone users closer to the point of connection –providing a thick layer of cellular coverage throughout the resort allowing for a strong connection wherever you go.

Bill Smith
Bill Smith President - AT&T Network Operations, AT&T Services Inc