A family is suing Aspen Ski Co. claiming the company refuses to refund a $60,000 deposit following the cancelation of a wedding at the Little Nell. The family canceled the wedding after Aspen Ski Co. and Pitkin County announced updated covid-19 restrictions, Rick Carroll reports for the Aspen Times.
The event was booked for June 3rd, 2022. Kayla Baxter of Syracuse, NY, had booked the Little Nell for her ceremony and reception, including food and service. To reserve the date, the family paid half of the total cost of $116,515 in September 2021.
Less than a month later, Aspen Skiing Co. announced it would require guests 12 and older to show proof of vaccination to enter certain Skico-owned properties, which included the Little Nell. Then in November, Pitkin County announced that in December a public-health order would come into effect requiring face-coverings to be worn inside and limiting indoor occupancy to 50%. Upon hearing these new rules and regulations, the family decided in December to cancel its booking.
The lawsuit claims that a number of the family had refused the covid-19 vaccination, meaning they would be unable to attend the ceremony or the reception.
“Some guests, including the groom’s family, are and were opposed to being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Aspen Skiing Co.’s policies and/or the Public Health Order would have made it illegal for these participants and guests to participate in the wedding ceremony, reception, and related activities as contemplated by the contract.”
The family was of the understanding that the previously paid deposit could be applied to a new rebooked date, with no deadline. However, the lawsuit claims that “Skico tried to change the contract’s terms by setting a June 2023 deadline in order for the deposit to apply to a future wedding date,” which was rejected by the family. Aspen Skiing Co. also attempted to add $10,000 to the food and beverage service, increase the site fee by $7,000 and raise the service fee from 22% to 25%.
The two parties finally agreed on an August 2023 date, but when the family realized that Aspen Skiing Co. would not transfer the original deposit they’d had enough.
“After announcing it cashed the Baxters’ $58,257 deposit, which violated the contract, Skico would not honor the August 2023 rescheduled wedding date without a new deposit of $64,213. The Baxters’ efforts to resolve the dispute before filing suit were met with Skico’s threat to charge an additional 25% on top of the deposit they illegally took.”
– Baxter family lawyer
Claims in the lawsuit include breach of contract and unjust enrichment, claims relating to civil fraud, not acting in good faith, and negligent misrepresentation.
Aspen Skiing Co. has not formally responded to the suit, which was filed on September 12th, 2022.