Fun Project, Video System for Ski Race Team at Crystal Mountain

The Crystal Mountain Alpine Club (CMAC) is the race ski club my kids ski with.  Last year the new president asked me to take on the project to add a video system to one of the race hills (Gold Hill).  Below is a map with distances.

When they first approached me they were pumped to use wireless.  But, here a few problems.  There would be 4 access points - Start, 2 midpoint access points, and finish.  The suggested wireless equipment had no data on working in snow and rain.  There is a Verizon Cel tower at the top of lift.

Good things is we can get access to each ski lift tower and there is power available.  Snow making gear is being installed this summer which adds additional areas to add conduit.

After talking to some friends at Corning Fiber I had enough information to look at single mode fiber with one pair going between each of the 4 access points, another pair from the start to finish, and one more pair as backup.  After a bit more time thinking this through I got worried that having 4 access points/switches to get a signal from the start to finish would have issues with performance and a failure in a switch or fiber would affect the overall availability of the system.

Given we were now using single mode fiber we could run the fiber from the race hill to the lodge, allowing video distribution to areas in the lodge when there is a race.  Also we could put switch gear and servers in the lodge instead of only having the heated start shack.

One way to solve the problem of having up to 4 switches in the fiber optic network is to home run the fiber optic run to each of the switches on the ski lift towers.  So we would now have 4 pairs of fiber optic, home running to the lodge and after the splice add another home run with the 4 pairs to the start shack.  There are now fewer switches in any video feed run.  There are 4 fiber optic cables we can isolate and run each at 1 gbps for the video stream from each individual switch/access point.  If a connection from the lodge fails to a given switch, we can see if we have connection from the start shack to the same switch.  If both connections don't work, then most likely the switch on the ski tower is bad.  We can also set up the switches with two network connections with fail over.

I'll be writing more on this project as we get into more of the details.  As far as I know no one has gone through this much effort to think through the network and operating issues in a video system for a ski racing with snow and rain conditions.