How we armed Alterra Mountain Company with a digital customer experience

This project was started by Trineo before the team joined with Uncommon Purpose. Regardless of which name is attached to it, all of our customers can count on receiving the same level of dedication, support, and expertise. 

Travel with us back to 2018.

Alterra Mountain Company is a private mountain destination community, which in 2018 comprised of 39 iconic year-round destinations, including the world’s largest heli-ski operation. The company owns and operates a range of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage, and retail businesses.

Alterra is looking to introduce a new pass product for winter 18/19 - the Ikon Pass. The Ikon Pass offers access to Alterra’s 13 destinations, plus 22 premier partner destinations throughout North America.

Building an impeccable guest experience

In order to scoop up crucial pre-season pass revenue and give customers the best first impression, Alterra Mountain Company had to offer a bulletproof online purchasing experience.

The right solution would offer a modern customer-facing app, while integrating disparate, legacy infrastructure on the back end. Scalability would be crucial for handling so much data and activity, plus huge spikes in system demand during price deadlines.

Tackling data flow, scalability and identity.

The team designed and built the Ikon Pass Platform on Heroku, with customer facing applications developed with React. They built the sales application to guide customers through a non-trivial checkout experience, handling product catalogs, promotions, guest identity, ancillary products (insurance), configuration (address and card on file), and deferred payment plans. Guests can then use the application to manage their purchased passes.

The Heroku-deployed Ikon Pass Platform integrated with several third parties, most importantly Alterra’s existing resort systems. It also used several Heroku add-ons, including a Postgres database, New Relic for APM monitoring, Papertrail for logging, and Sentry for real-time reporting.

“The team took our strategy and helped frame up the guiding principles and technical approach across the platform. They conducted themselves as if Alterra Mountain Company was their company and their primary concern. [Trineo] has been more than just a delivery agent; they’ve partnered with us in a manner where they are also our trusted advisor.”
—— Andy Villas, VP of Digital Solutions, Alterra Mountain Company

Scaling for success 

The app handled volume spikes and a 96% increase in orders per minute.

In addition, the team built foundational, flexible APIs to extend Ikon Pass Platform’s functionality to other applications and uses.

Finally, they built robust identity management functionality that de-duplicated customer records and eliminated the need to re-enter data, making purchasing easier and faster.

Growth and change

Nearly five years later, the team has a stronger partnership with Alterra than ever.

The Ikon Pass Platform is now hosted on Microsoft Azure where it supports dozens of products, millions of users, and handles extreme load fluctuations; the Ikon Pass Platform saw its highest daily fluctuation in order volume during Alterra’s Spring Deadline in 2021 where order volume grew by 100x over an 18 hour period.

The Ikon Pass Platform has been extended to include:

  • Customer service representative portal for call center employees
  • Reservation management system
  • Address verification (to reduce postal costs)
  • Discount voucher sharing between accounts
  • Buy-now pay-later integration with Affirm
  • Deals for students, nurses, and military with SheerId
  • Credit card processing integration, and resort charge (allowing guests to use their Ikon Pass to purchase food and drink at resorts)

A strategic advisor for long-term success

Today, we’ve got three teams now working on projects with Alterra, including the Ikon Pass Platform, the Identity Management Platform (built on Auth0 and managing a single identity and account across the entire suite of Alterra products and services), and the Mobile App team (building a collection of bespoke mobile apps to streamline the Ikon Pass experience).

Uncommon Purpose’s consulting team presents a complete set of perspectives in working with clients. We work to develop a concept and vision of customer experience, design and technical architecture. We then derive and marshal a backlog of work with agile techniques.

The end result is a timely and high-quality delivery to production, and a partnership that ensures success in the long-term.