Ski Resorts Offer Break On Next Year’s Passes After Coronavirus Closures

April 27, 2020
Coronavirus Summit County Copper ClosedCoronavirus Summit County Copper ClosedHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A handful of skiers and snowboarders made their way to the bottom of the almost deserted Super Bee chairlift at Copper Mountain’s East Village on Saturday morning, March 14, 2020. Gov. Jared Polis ordered all ski areas in Colorado to close Sunday March 15 because of the coronavirus outbreak, and the state advised anyone who lives in or visited Summit County in the past week to self-distance from others.

The companies that run the top two ski resort passes are trying to hold on to season-long customers with concerns about COVID-19.

Vail Resorts, owner of the Epic Pass, is offering credits between 20 percent and 80 percent on next season's ski passes for customers who didn't get to use their 2019-2020 passes due to COVID-19 closures.

"Our pass holders are our most loyal guests and we have spent weeks reading their emails and comments on social media to fully understand their concerns so we could respond thoughtfully and carefully," said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer at Vail Resorts in a news release. 

Governor Jared Polis ordered the closure of all Colorado ski resorts on March 14. The season typically ends mid-April in the state.

Epic Pass holders will get credits based on how much they got to use them.

Vail announced Monday it is also adding free insurance to new passes in an effort to address customer concerns over another potentially short season.

"While we are confident we will have a great upcoming ski and ride season, we understand some people may be nervous about committing to a pass now in this current uncertainty," Lynch wrote.

The free insurance, called Epic Coverage, gives pass holders a refund if they can't use their pass due to injury, job loss or resort closures.

The company decided not to offer 100 percent credits or full refunds because the mountains were open and operating for most of the season, Lynch said.

Alterra Mountain Company, which owns the Ikon Pass, has added its own program to new passes to alleviate customer uncertainty.

Adventure Assurance means people who buy Ikon Passes for the 2020-2021 season can choose to defer their pass to the following ski season.

Alterra also doubled the discount current pass holders will get if they buy a pass for next season. The Ikon Pass renewal discount went from $100 to $200 per pass, with prices starting at $799. The Ikon Base Pass renewal discount doubled from $50 to $100 per pass, with prices starting at $599.

"We understand skiers and riders may feel unsure about the future and it may be difficult to commit to adventures still months away," said Erik Forsell in an Alterra news release. "We hope this new option enables them to feel the confidence to purchase today, or whenever they are ready."

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