More Epic Pass Holders Complain of Having Refunds Denied by Vail Resorts

SnowBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
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Vail Resorts.

After the abrupt closure of resorts in March 2020, many Epic Pass holders were concerned that if the same were to happen again this season it would leave them with a thousand-dollar season pass they could not use. To allay these fears, Vail Resorts announced that they would provide ‘Epic Coverage’ for free on all its 20-21 pass products.

When announcing their ‘Epic Coverage’ in May 2020, Vail Resorts wrote this on their website:

If you purchase a Season Pass, such as an Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass, you will receive a refund if you use your pass less than 7 days in the 2020/21 season if certain personal events occur, including illness, job loss, and injury.
Additionally, Epic Coverage protects you from certain resort closures, such as due to COVID-19, during this past season. These refunds will be determined by guest input on which resorts they plan on skiing or riding at, as well as the time periods in which they plan to visit.

However, as the end of the season approaches, some Epic Pass holders are still waiting for the refunds they believe they’re entitled to, reports Vail Daily.

Larry Augustyn, of Breckenridge, CO, has been trying to get a refund since his wife passed away in November. He told Vail Daily:

“I’ve called, I’ve sent emails, I’ve left messages, and no one has responded to me. It’s kind of like they’re too busy.”

– Larry Augustyn

As well as battling his grief, he is battling Vail Resorts for a refund on the pass his wife bought and never used. He believes Vail Resorts are being as obstructive as possible.

“It’s a big corporation, and I understand that they’ve got to go up the chain of command, but I just think it’s ridiculous that they’re taking so long to do this refund. The only thing I would really like to ask Vail is, please don’t make it so hard on someone who is having a grieving process already; it just exacerbates that process.”

– Larry Augustyn

Another customer is still waiting for a refund; he claims he should be covered by Epic Coverage after his wife contracted Covid-19 and is now suffering from long covid, rendering her unable to ski. She sent her medical records to Vail Resorts, but was denied the refund.

A family from Minnesota was unable to make their annual trip to Keystone Resort, CO, this year when the daughter’s school requested students quarantine before returning to school. The father was under the impression that his pass purchases would be covered by Vail’s Epic Coverage. His claim for a refund was denied within 24-hours, citing “refunds are not issued in the event of travel advisories or governmental-directed quarantines related to travel.”

“Their whole Epic Coverage certainly seemed to lend itself to some protection if you weren’t able to travel this year. They really touted themselves as, ‘You’re covered if you can’t ski.’ That was the impression they seemed to be giving, but they don’t seem to be standing behind it very well at this point.”

– Epic Pass holder told Vail Daily

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CEO of Vail Resorts Rob Katz. Photo by Matt Nager.

In a letter to passholders last week, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz addressed the long call center lines experienced by many customers, claiming that the company has since doubled and plans to quadruple their call center staff. 

In January, a group of Epic Pass holders on the east coast were unhappy with Vail Resorts for “forcing them to either violate state pandemic travel restrictions or lose significant money they paid for ski passes,” reported WVCB. However, since then, Vail Resorts has done a u-turn and is preparing to offer credits to Epic Pass holders affected by individual state’s quarantine rules meaning they couldn’t ski this season.

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Vail Resorts’ Epic Coverage.

Frequently asked questions about Epic Coverage: 

Q: How do I sign up for Epic Coverage?

A: Epic Coverage is free for all pass holders, and there is no sign-up required.

Step 1: Purchase any season pass, day pass, resort pass, or multi-pack season pass product on Epicpass.com or any of our resort sites. During check out, please ensure to confirm you have read the terms and conditions, which includes our Epic Coverage policy.

Step 2: To ensure your Epic Coverage is tailored to your skiing and riding preferences, we will be asking you two questions about the resort(s) you would like to have covered and when you plan to ski or ride. These preferences do not change the access of your pass – they are strictly used to determine your refund if a qualifying event occurs. The two key preferences you will be asked to provide are:

    • All Resorts or a Primary Resort for coverage: You can choose a specific resort your pass has access to, or you can choose “All Resorts.” Your choice will be used to determine which resorts must be closed to trigger a qualifying coverage. Please refer to “How are Refunds Determined?” to decide on the best selection for you.
    • Core Season or Specific Week for coverage: You can choose a specific week that you would most like to have covered, or you can choose “Core Season.” The “Core Season” is from November 26, 2020, to April 4, 2021.  This choice will influence how your refund is determined, so please refer to the “How are Refunds Determined?” section to decide on the best selection for you.

After purchasing your pass for the 2020/21 season, you will automatically be defaulted to “All Resorts” and “Core Season.” Starting in late June until November 21st, 2020, you can change your selection in the “My Account” section online at Epicpass.com. For guests purchasing their pass after November 21st, you have until the first day you ski or when passes go off sale to update your preferences, whichever comes first. Learn more in the “What is covered?” and the “How are Refunds Determined?” sections below.

Step 3: That’s it. Your pass is now covered for specific personal events and certain resort closures for the 2020/21 season defined in the terms and conditions.

If you experience a qualifying personal event or qualifying resort closure, please refer to the “How do I submit a refund request?” section for more information on how to request a refund.

Q: Do I have to pay for Epic Coverage?

A: No, Epic Coverage is free for all pass holders. Historically, our pass holders had to pay up to $35 if they chose to insure their pass against personal risk, but the new Epic Coverage program is now included with all passes.

Q: Can I still purchase Pass Insurance?

A: No, Vail Resorts no longer offers Pass Insurance. Epic Coverage provides refunds for qualifying personal events as well as certain resort closures due to disease (e.g., COVID-19), war, terrorism, or specific natural disasters. And it’s free for all pass holders.

Q: Which pass products are included in Epic Coverage?

A: All season pass, day pass, resort pass, or multi-pack season pass products sold on EpicPass.com, our resort websites, and through our third-party partners are included in Epic Coverage. This includes;

  • Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, and Military Epic Pass
  • Epic Day Pass
  • Regional Pass Products: Summit Value, Keystone Plus Pass, Tahoe Local Pass, Tahoe Value Pass, Kirkwood Pass, Park City Youth Pass, Afton Alps Pass, Mt Brighton Pass, Wilmot Pass, Stevens Pass Select Pass, Stevens Pass Premium Pass, Crested Butte Pass, Northeast Value Pass, Northeast Midweek Pass, Ohio Pass, Hidden Valley Pass, Snow Creek Pass, Paoli Peaks Pass, Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass, Whistler Blackcomb Edge Cards and Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited Season Pass.

To view all other additional eligible passes, click here.

Q: Are all pass and card products sold on WhistlerBlackcomb.com included in Epic Coverage?

A: Yes. All pass or card products sold on WhistlerBlackcomb.com are included in Epic Coverage. To review a full list of Whistler Blackcomb passes, visit the Whistler Blackcomb website.

Q: Is the Epic Australia Pass included in Epic Coverage?

A: The Epic Australia Pass will not be included in Epic Coverage for the 2020 Australian winter season. We are separately working on a plan to ensure we properly address the situation in Australia, and we will share details of the plan with our Epic Australia Pass guests as soon as we can.

Q: Do I still have Epic Coverage once I use my pass?

A: Yes, you will have Epic Coverage from when you purchase your pass through the end of the 2020/21 ski and ride season for qualifying personal events and through the “Core Season” for certain resort closures, depending on your coverage preferences selected.

Q: With Epic Coverage, will I have to make a choice at the beginning of the season between deferring my pass to the next season or losing my protection?

A: No, with Epic Coverage, you are not forced to make a decision about whether to defer your pass to the following season.  Instead, Epic Coverage provides you with protection against qualifying personal events through the end of the 2020/21 ski and ride season and certain resort closures through the Core Season.  You can start using your pass when the season opens, and if a qualifying personal event or a resort closure that is covered occurs, you may be eligible for a refund during the 2020/21 season.

Q: If I purchase my pass through a travel agency, online, or wholesale partner, will I still receive Epic Coverage?

A: Yes. All season pass, day pass, resort pass, or multi-pack season pass products sold on EpicPass.com, our resort websites, and through our third-party partners have Epic Coverage. This includes Epic Day Pass products and Military Epic Pass products. You can view a list of all qualifying passes here.

Q: What is covered?

A: Epic Coverage provides protection across a range of personal events and certain resort closures. A summary of the qualifying personal and resort closure events that are covered are shown below. For additional details, please refer to the Terms & Conditions.

If any of the following happens over the course of next season, you will get a full or prorated refund.

Personal Coverage

  • Job Loss
  • Stay-at-home order from county, state, country
  • Injury, Sickness, Death
  • Student Transfer
  • Pregnancy
  • Visa Rejection
  • Jury Duty
  • Military Service
  • Employee Transfer
  • And More

Resort Closure between U.S. Thanksgiving (November 26, 2020) and Easter (April 4, 2021)

  • Disease (e.g., COVID-19)
  • War
  • Terrorism
  • Natural Disaster (specifically defined in our terms and conditions)

You are covered when you need it the most throughout the season.

Q: When does my Epic Coverage become effective? 

A: Your Epic Coverage begins when you purchase your pass and agree to the terms and conditions of Epic Coverage and lasts until the last day of the 2020/21 ski season for personal events and through the Core Season for certain resort closures.

Q: What is the coverage period for a personal event?

A: If a qualifying personal event occurs between the purchase of your pass and the last day of the 2020/21 ski and ride season, you may be eligible for a full or prorated refund based on when your personal event occurred and/or how many days you are able to ski or ride during the season. Specific personal events must impact at least 30 consecutive days of the core season to qualify. Please see “How are refunds determined?” for more details.

Q: When does a resort closure event need to occur to be covered?

A: A covered resort closure event must occur during the Core Season. The “Core Season” is from November 26, 2020, to April 4, 2021. This is the time period used to define the percentage of the season impacted when determining refunds. Please see the “How are Refunds Determined?” section for additional details.

Q: Are resort closures caused by snow events covered by Epic Coverage?

A: No. The only weather-related events that are covered by Epic Coverage are for natural disasters (flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire, and volcanic eruption) that lead to a resort closure. All other weather-related closures are not eligible for refunds.

Q: Which resorts are covered by Epic Coverage?

A: If a qualifying resort closure occurs, your coverage will be determined by the resort you selected for coverage, the visitation timing you have selected, and the pass you purchased.

If you have selected a specific resort in your preferences, you will have coverage if that specific resort has a qualifying coverage event that:

  • Lasts 7+ consecutive days if you selected “Core Season” or
  • Lasts 3 or more days in the specific week of visitation you selected.

If you have selected “All Resorts” in your preferences, you will have coverage based on the pass you purchased:

  • Epic Pass, Epic Local, Epic Day Pass, Military Epic Pass– 100% of the following resorts must be simultaneously closed due to a covered closure event (Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood)
    • All resorts must be closed 7+ consecutive days if you selected “Core Season” in your preferences or
    • All resorts must be closed 3 or more days in the specific week of visitation you selected in your preferences
  • Northeast Value – 100% of the following resorts must be simultaneously closed due to a covered closure event (Stowe, Mount Snow, Hunter, Okemo, and Mount Sunapee)
    • All resorts must be closed 7+ consecutive days if you selected “Core Season” in your preferences or
    • All resorts must be closed 3 or more days in the specific week of visitation you selected in your preferences
  • All other passes (View list of all passes)– 100% of the resorts that are accessible on the pass must be simultaneously closed due to a covered closure event
    • All resorts must be closed 7+ consecutive days if you selected “Core Season” in your preferences or
    • All resorts must be closed 3 or more days in the specific week of visitation you selected in your preferences

Please refer to the Terms and Conditions for additional details.

Q: Do I qualify for a refund if one of my family members has a qualifying personal event?

A: Yes, there are specific qualifying personal events that are eligible for a refund if the event occurs to you or your family member and impacts your ability to ski or ride during the Core Season. Personal events include illness, injury, death, pregnancy, military service, job loss, and visa rejection. For additional details, refer to the terms and conditions here.

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Credit: Vail Resorts

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10 thoughts on “More Epic Pass Holders Complain of Having Refunds Denied by Vail Resorts

  1. Still waiting for them to stop chasing me for a $550 payment on the East Coast. Didn’t ski one day. It will be VERY INTERESTING to see how this actually plays out. Mass Attorney General Office is moving forward for many people with complaints on the East Coast. This whole thing was such a scam for everyone. Katz shouldn’t be standing there looking so smug.

  2. Ikon was not providing refunds for customers who bought their pass last year and never used it, despite the shutdowns in March. People viewed Epic’s policy as insurance against the same thing happening to them, but it appears Epic may end up being even worse because Ikon eventually at least allowed folks to rollover their unused passes to this season or next.
    Epic will be losing many customers for life if they don’t start granting more refunds….especially for those who haven’t even used their pass once this season.

    The CDC is still not recommending travel for anyone. How is that alone not grounds for an immediate refund??

  3. i was unable to use my epic pass due to my wife’s cancer and on-going treatment. a covid infection could have been fatal for her. i was told in no uncertain terms it would be too risky for me to travel and be exposed to large numbers of people. my understanding was this situation was covered under the so-called insurance offer by vail. well my claim was denied….i did provide a supporting letter from my wife’s oncologist from the dana farber cancer institute as well…..

  4. I not only was diagnosed with Covid-19 the day before my trip was going to take place (therefore my wife, my daugher and me were quarantined for at least 14 days), but I also had to have an unplane surgery which did not allowed me to go to the ski trip, but in spite of those facts, they denied my claim. I sent all the documents to support the claim and they never gave any response. The CEO must be fired.

  5. I asked to cancel my pass the day before the deadline to get a full refund (Sept 17) and they have denied my request repeatedly citing the insurance policy rules yet that should not even apply in my situation. I think someone should file a class action lawsuit.

    1. @julie Ford that’s just ridiculous. They disregard their own terms and conditions! So dishonest! I called to cancel in August and was told that if I didn’t ski at all I’d get a refund. What a load of crap. Been dragging this along since December. Absolute WORST buying experience ever!! The struggle is real.

  6. I have been waiting for over three weeks after submitting documentation due to financial hardship and have not heard back anything, even after repeated email requests to their claim company. The house we bought earlier this year had hidden asbestos all over it, and an unexpected/hidden foundation issue that set us out 40K to even be able to move in, so no skiing for us this year)
    Just called ACM and they told me that my claim was closed, and the person on the phone didn’t even know what that meant. COuld be denied, could be funded… Beyond belief. He said that an adjuster should be contacting me within 24 to 48 hours and to please “keep my line open”. Now I wait I guess…
    Simply disgraceful and a huge scam. I will be happy to be part of a class-action suit, as it will surely arise…

  7. I have filed a claim with our AG. I would recommend everyone do the same so they have enough complaints to take action. They also suggested filing with BBB.

  8. Massachusetts AG is already working on this, so if anyone here is from Massachusetts, get your claims in so they can add you to the pile! I was able to get my refund, but it happened Thru my credit card company before the AG was able to vouch for me. Definitely do this though! Don’t let them keep your hard earned money!

  9. I did not use even a day. I was listed as close contact and issued a quarantine order right before my ski trip. I decided to cancel the trip. Very disappointed at the this, but not surprised. No wonder the whole country is a shit hole now. The CDC issued guidance, states issued order were treated as nothing LEGALLY by those big companies, like Vail.

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