COVID-19  April 22, 2020

Vail Resorts sued for Epic Pass refunds after COVID-19 closures

BROOMFIELD — A Epic Pass holder from New York filed suit Tuesday against Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) demanding refunds for a portion of the price of the pass, which could no longer be used after the Broomfield-based operator closed its ski areas in March. 

Bernard Han, who bought five Epic Passes — two adult and three children’s passes — prior to the start of the 2019/2020 ski season for $3,348.95, filed the class action suit on behalf of Epic Pass holders.

“Plaintiff and similarly situated consumers lost the full benefits associated with their Epic Passes for the remainder of the ski season” when resorts were ordered closed by Vail CEO Rob Katz on March 15, according to Han’s complaint. Han “seek[s] refunds of the amounts they paid on a pro-rata basis as well as other damages that resulted from being unable to use these expensive ski passes they paid for throughout the duration of the ski season, including the coveted spring skiing season for avid skiers.”

The suit does not quibble with Vail’s ultimate decisions to shutter North American resorts, a move the company estimates will cost upward of $200 million in lost revenue.

“Vail Resorts’ closure of its mountains, ski slopes, ski lifts and recreational facilities was the right thing to do in light of social distancing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control, state, local and federal governments, but it is unfair and unlawful for defendant to retain the full amounts its consumers paid for Epic Passes given the shortened ski season, and in particular the lack of a spring ski season,” the complaint said. 

Han’s legal action comes just days after a California skier sued Denver-based Alterra Mountain Co. over non-refunded Ikon pass payments. 

A Vail spokeswoman said the company does not comment on ongoing litigation, but forwarded BizWest an email sent to Epic Pass Holders on March 25 by chief marketing officer Kirsten Lynch.

“We deeply value the loyalty you have placed with us by purchasing one of our pass products and we are committed to identifying an approach that acknowledges this past season and retains your loyalty for the future,” Lynch wrote. “I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we remain focused on the real-time challenges that COVID-19 is currently presenting to our employees, our communities and our company.”

Lynch’s letter said Vail will contact Epic Pass holders with additional information this month. 

© 2020 BizWest Media LLC

Lucas High

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado. He loves sports (Go Ravens and O’s!), a good book and a cold beer. From cannabis to banking to startups and everything in between, Lucas has his finger on the pulse of the Northern Colorado and Boulder Valley business beat.

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