Alterra Mountain Co. Ordered to Pay $18 Million to Ikon Pass Holders for Closing Resorts Due to COVID

SnowBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
red mountain resort, British Columbia, Rossland, ikon pass, alterra,
Photo courtesy of RED Mountain/Ikon Pass.

The pandemic cut the ski season short in March 2020. You were there—you remember. Parent company of the Ikon Pass, Alterra Mountain Company, shut down its mountains across the nation as state-mandated lockdowns became the new norm. However, Ikon Pass holders were unhappy and, in April 2020, filed a case to recoup the cost of the lost days skiing.

In court documents sent to SnowBrains, the Plantiffs’ lawyers, Dovel & Luner, alleged the 2019/20 ski season was ended prematurely by Alterra due to COVID-19 and that 2019/20 Ikon Pass holders were entitled to damages stemming from their pass purchases because they allegedly did not receive the full ski season they bargained for.

On January 23rd, 2023, Judge Raymond P.  Moore of the District Court of Colorado ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, awarding the Class between $17.5 and $18 million. All Class Members will receive their benefits automatically in their Ikon Pass accounts. The benefits will be distributed equally to the Class Members based on the number of days they used their ski passes. 55 Ikon Pass holders opted out of the Agreement. It’s unknown how many passholders the award will be divided between or how much each Class Member will receive. The ten named Class Representatives will also receive $3,500 each.

“If you are included in the Settlement, you may qualify for a Pass Credit toward the purchase of a 2023/24 or 2024/25 Ikon Pass product, or a Lift Product Voucher toward the purchase and use on or before July 31, 2025, of one single-day lift ticket at any single Alterra-owned or operated resort (“Alterra Resort”).”

Ski Pass Settlement

Class Counsel spent approximately 1100 hours litigating this case over nearly three years and is seeking $2,872,000 in fees and costs.

Alterra object to an award of this size, arguing that it is excessive and unreasonable. 

Vail Resorts is also going through similar litigation from its pass holders. In 2021, a federal judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Vail Resorts in which passholders alleged the company breached its contract with them by closing early due to the pandemic and failing to provide refunds. The plaintiffs have appealed to the 10th Circuit.

Photo courtesy of Ikon Pass.

During the original hearing in June 2021, Judge Moore decided not to dismiss the lawsuit because it was based on Alterra voluntarily closing its resorts, even though states were mandating them to. This was before the pandemic—before Alterra updated the language on the Ikon Pass, which now addresses pandemic-related hiccups. This means that Alterra should be held to its own terms set when skiers bought their Ikon Passes, which say that pass holders are not entitled to refunds when they can’t use their passes due to some fault of their own.

Moore wrote:

“Defendants also rely on the ‘non-refundable’ language but the Court finds such language—at this juncture—does not support that Plaintiffs’ claim is implausible. Indeed, read as a whole, it supports Plaintiffs’ position that the ‘Cancellation Policy’ applies such that if they canceled or revoked the contract, they would not be entitled to a refund … Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim is also not subject to dismissal on this basis.”

Photo courtesy of Ikon Pass.

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3 thoughts on “Alterra Mountain Co. Ordered to Pay $18 Million to Ikon Pass Holders for Closing Resorts Due to COVID

  1. Funny – ski resorts use the same excuse when the conditions are terrible and all but one shitty lift is closed and you spent $150 on a lift ticket. Pretty nice they’re the one getting taken for a ride for once.

  2. People took the word of Ikon and other companies that their pass insurance would cover COVID related issues and were lied to. My wife & I are victims of the “Epic failure” because between the Vermont travel restrictions, the restrictions in my home state of Connecticut AND my employers threat of termination will I violated any of those, we weren’t allowed to use our Epic passes.

    We bought our passes before these travel restriction were put in place. We attempted to contract our “home mountain” of Mount Snow & Vail corporation without success until March of 2021. After 4 claim attempts we were denied (all 4 times) any compensation. We even asked them to just roll over our passes to the 21/22 season and they refused.

    I’m also against frivolous lawsuits but this is not the case. I’m glad that these Ikon pass holders are finally getting the compensation they deserve and only wish the courts would do the same for Epic pass holders too!

  3. What a load of S***
    It was an act of God or CHINA!

    Resorts had committed millions to improvements and staff and lost, like most of us.

    The people that filed this frivolous claim probably worked from home in their pajamas and lost nothing.


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