Litigation over shortened ski season snowballs, with Vail facing multiple lawsuits

crested butte skier

Vail Resorts closed all of its U.S. locations on March 15, including Crested Butte, pictured above. (Courtesy Trent Bona)

The lawsuits against ski resort operators over the shortened season are starting to snowball.

Last week, New York resident Bernard Han sued Broomfield-based Vail Resorts in federal court in Denver, seeking a refund for his Epic Pass plus other damages because the company shut its resorts in mid-March.

“It is unfair and unlawful for the Defendant to retain the full amounts their consumers paid for Epic Passes given the shortened ski season, and in particular the lack of a spring ski season,” the lawsuit reads.

It’s at least the second lawsuit in that vein filed against Vail. Brian Hunt, a resident of San Ramon, California, sued the company in federal court in California on April 10. He claimed the ski industry giant’s actions amount to false advertising, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

Vail Resorts declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Vail’s rival, Denver-based Alterra, which offers the Ikon Pass, was sued April 14 in federal court in Denver. Robert Kramer of Villa Park, California, a regular at Mammoth Mountain, filed the suit.

All the lawsuits seek class-action status.

Both companies state at the time of purchase that their passes are “non-refundable.” Buyers are encouraged to opt for pass insurance through third parties at the time of purchase.

Vail Resorts, which owns 37 resorts, closed all of its North American locations on March 15 as a result of the pandemic. Alterra, which owns 15 resorts, also did so on the same day.

While neither has offered refunds to its customers, Alterra started marketing pass renewals this month with a discount of $200 on $1,000 Ikon passes and $100 on $700 passes if purchased by the end of May. That’s double the renewal discount offered last season.

crested butte skier
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