Passholders are complaining about terrain open and refunds.
Friday, January 15, 2021, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
With New England residents dealing with severe restrictions imposed by governors, complaints are mounting about the ability to use Epic season passes at Vail ski areas.
The largest operator of ski areas in the world, Vail's New England portfolio is limited to New Hampshire (Attitash, Crotched, Mt. Sunapee, Wildcat) and Vemont (Okemo, Mt. Snow, Stowe). Though executive orders limiting travel have been in a state of flux, one consistent aspect is that most New England residents have been restricted by their home and/or destination state from interstate travel without significant red tape, such as quarantines.
Vail's Epic Pass, originally purported to offer unlimited access to ski areas across New England and North America, has faced significant challenges from circumstances related to COVID-19. Following the early closure of all of its ski areas in March, Vail offered 2019-20 passholders credits of between 20% and 80% for 2020-21 products. In addition, Vail offered free pass insurance called "Epic Coverage," which it advertised as "giving pass product holders a refund for any portion
of the season that is lost due to qualifying circumstances" as well as "a refund for personal circumstances that were historically covered by our pass insurance program, such as eligible injuries, job losses and many other personal events, as well as in the event that the pass holder cannot reserve their preferred days."
In a story recently aired on WCVB, Epic passholders from Massachusetts allege they've been refused refunds because "government travel guidance that does not prohibit the use of your pass such as general quarantines are not refund events."
According to WCVB, Vail also stated that "We sincerely understand their frustrations and will take all guest concerns into consideration at the end of the season as we seek to retain the loyalty of our pass holders."
2019-20 passholders have also filed suit, according to Bloomberg Law, claiming issues with the pass protection product they purchased for that season.
Meanwhile, according to the Conway Daily Sun, New Hampshire Epic passholders have been complaining about the lack of snowmaking at their local areas. As of Friday morning, Wildcat had only two top to bottom runs open.
Vail's Epic pass products represented 51% of its lift revenue in FY 2020. Vail reported that it sold 20% more passes for the 2020-21 season than for 2019-20, though pass revenue was flat due to COVID-19 credits.