Californian Man Starts Class-Action Lawsuit Against Vail Resorts for Unused Epic Pass Days

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Heavenly Ski Resort is just one of three Tahoe resorts on the Epic Pass.

A Californian man is launching a class-action lawsuit against Vail Resorts after they shut down all their ski resorts due to the coronavirus pandemic. Filed on April 10th, the plaintiff claims that Vail Resorts “has made the unconscionable decision to retain its millions of customers passholder fees while closing 100% of its mountain resorts”.

Brian Hunt, of San Ramon, CA, bought his Tahoe Local Value Epic Pass for $499 in June 2019. The pass promised mountain access from October 2019 to June 2020, as long as there was snow. Mr. Hunt claims he would not have purchased the pass had he known that he would not have access to any of the resorts.

Plaintiff signed up for Defendant’s annual pass with the understanding that he would be able to access Defendant’s resorts from October 2019 through June 2020, so long as there was snow on the mountains. Plaintiff would not have paid for the annual pass, or would not have paid for it on the same terms, had he known that he would not have access to any of Defendant’s resorts.

vail resorts, closed
Vail Resorts CLOSED.

Along with most of the country, Vail Resorts temporarily closed their resorts on March 14th in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, before shutting them permanently on March 25th. Mr. Hunt is unhappy that Vail Resorts have retained his full payment while their resorts sit closed.

On March 25, 2020, Defendant notified passholders that it closed all 34 of its North American resorts. Defendant has retained the full amount of his annual pass fee even though Plaintiff does not have access to any of Defendant’s resorts. Further, Defendant has not refunded Plaintiff any part of his annual pass fee for March 25 through the present, when Defendant’s resorts were closed (and continue to remain closed).

Further, the docket goes on to accuse Vail Resorts of ‘unjustly enriching itself by retaining passholder fees of hundreds of thousands of consumers’.

Defendant has unjustly enriched itself by retaining passholder fees of hundreds of thousands of consumers – while denying passholders all access to all of Defendant’s mountain resorts.

The court docket estimates that the class-action lawsuit could cost Vail Resorts in excess of $5,000,000, excluding interest and costs. The document adds that there are hundreds of thousands of customers nationwide that purchased passes that are unable to be used. In the scheme of things, what is $5-million to a company like Vail Resorts? It’s nothing really, especially to keep their customers happy and the good PR that would come from it. But it would certainly set a dangerous precedent.

vail resorts, layoffs,
Vail Resorts HQ, Broomfield, CO. Credit: mergr.com

Vail Resorts is the operator of more than 34 North American ski resorts throughout the United States. They sell “Epic Passes” promising “unlimited, unrestricted skiing at [its] best resorts”, promising that its passes are the “best way to ski … 7 days a week.”

Hunt is seeking to have each case certified as a class action on behalf of customers nationwide, as well as a subclass of California customers.

This is a mess and could go on for years. I can see the plaintiff’s argument, he didn’t get what he paid for. But where do you draw the line? I bought an alternative multi-resort pass for $650 and skied over 70-days at a number of resorts. Should I be entitled to a partial refund for the 30+ days I could’ve skied? I was going to ski Zermatt in April, but have been deprived of that. To be clear, I think I had more than my money’s worth, so am not interested in any form of reimbursement. But what about those that were frugal enough to buy a pass last April at its cheapest rate for their annual spring break trip? They have zero days on their pass and could be almost a grand out of pocket.


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17 thoughts on “Californian Man Starts Class-Action Lawsuit Against Vail Resorts for Unused Epic Pass Days

  1. Its s silly argument if you ask me. What was Vail supposed to do? Stay open and spread the virus? The virus is an extraordinary “act of god” that no one predicted.

    1. I have an Epic pass and purchased the optional insurance. When I contacted the insurance company and tried to get relief based on “act of God,” the response I received said that this was not an “Act of God.”

      1. Here is what I found out on the insurance. If you look at the wording of #5 on their policy. https://www.epicpass.com/info/pass-insurance.aspx

        “5. The insured being subpoenaed, required to serve on a jury, hijacked or quarantined.
        Police reports or other local authority reports or documentation must be provided.”

        Seems to me that the whole Country, maybe the world is under quarantine so this should apply. I am wondering if this would hold up in a court? I would have to get my hands on the entire policy and read the fine print but it certainly is something to look in to.

  2. Vail should refund a percentage of the Epic pass to passholders. As long as there was snow on the ground it was possible to ski at least another 30 days this season. Apply the discount to next season’s pass or refund the difference, vail resorts has already lost one case involving a pass holder and parking fees at North Star.
    Do the Right thing Vail and the pass holder will be happy .

  3. refund passes for those that got under “X” days, probably something like 6 or 7. whatever amount of days at which if you bought day tickets, the prices would equal out.

    example using easy numbers:
    season pass = $1000
    day pass = $100
    total days = 10

    now in theory, buying a season pass is generally because you know you will want to ride more days than that math allows. In this case 10. So if the concept is you hoped to pay less than day pass prices each day, making your pass the best option. So In my example they would determine, if you rode at least 11 days (the day you start getting the actual savings) on your pass, you got your value out of it. If you rode less than that, you should get some form of refund. And not a discount on next years pass… Cuz that’s not a refund, and who knows right now if i want a pass next season. These are my thoughts on it. Of course it won’t happen but it’s nice to dream that some companies can be reasonable….

    1. We’re talking about Vail resorts and their corporate greed ! They have an opportunity to create a ton of good publicity and new customers . Vail resorts needs to do the right thing and refund or credit their pass holders.

    2. Many resorts in Vail’s profile don’t even cost $100/day. For those purchasing a full pass (or Epic Local) to mainly use at their local Mtn, those people typically don’t venture out on their Epic pass but once or twice a year – to other Mtns.

  4. When it comes to customer service Vail sucks .
    Over and over vail resorts customers complain about the lack of customer service at the majority of their resorts, this whole Covid 19 pandemic is going to change how ski resorts conduct business. If they manage to stay in business they will have to completely change their customer service experience .
    Very few ski resorts do a good job of cleaning and sanitizing their bathrooms and public areas. This will be the test of who can make the adjustments and who fails at customer service.

  5. I’m one of those people who has zero days on a pass that I planned to use in April, since my work contract ended March 31st and I would have the month off. It’s brutal that they won’t do the right thing. Been a passholder for 14 years, you can bet I’ll be skiing somewhere else next year.

    1. Same boat here, will have the same reaction depending on what they do. I just want my unused pass moved to next year.

  6. All they needed to do was the right thing. But no greed is what Vail is all about. Now they will pay for their mistake, and loose me as a customer.

  7. My wife and I just asked to have our passes moved to next year. We did not get to ski even one day. What’s 80% credit? We didn’t ski 20%. Do the math Vail. We even said that we would pay the price difference for next year. I used to live in Breck and when Vail resorts bought Breck… I cringed

  8. What is the latest on this lawsuit? Interested in joining, as we never got to use our passes at all. A full refund is the only acceptable response.

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