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- The shortened ski season prompted many season pass holders to request refunds for missed days at the mountain.
- One of the most popular season pass providers, Vail Resorts, announced it would issue credit refunds to all 2019/20 Epic Pass holders.
- The refunds range from a minimum of 20% of the pass cost on up to 80% depending on how many days it was used, and the credits are eligible to be used on future pass purchases.
With the end of the 2019/20 ski season disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vail Resorts knows its Epic Pass holders aren't happy about missing valuable spring skiing days. As many clamored for refunds and cashback, the company responded by announcing a program that would allow pass holders to use redeemable credits on future passes.
"Passholders were so disappointed that Vail's resorts closed when they did, and so were we," Vail Resorts director of communications, Johanna Muscente, told Business Insider. "With this plan, we wanted to address last season, and also provide assurance for next season."
What is the Epic Pass?
- Epic Pass ($979): Unlimited and unrestricted access to resorts like Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado, Stowe in Vermont, Stevens Pass in Washington, and Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia, among many others. Also includes limited days of skiing at resorts such as Telluride in Colorado and Sun Valley in Idaho.
- Epic Local Pass ($729): Unlimited and unrestricted access to a smaller list of resorts and has some holiday restrictions.
- Epic Day Pass ($109): Flexible day pass that allows you to choose which days you'd like to ski and offers discounts of up to 50% off, depending on the resort.
How to get the Epic Pass refund
Vail's announcement detailed a specific breakdown for the number of credits each pass holder can expect, with the bulk of the math coming down to the number of days skied. Though every 2019/20 Epic Pass user received a minimum of a 20% credit regardless of how active they were, others who skied less often were able to get even more.
For instance, pass holders who skied five days or less are eligible for a credit refund of up to 80% of their initial pass price. This means that if they bought a full season pass at the normal price of $979, then the most they'd get back would be roughly $790 worth of credits.
Those who bought and used the day pass variety of the Epic Pass are also able to get back 80% credit on any unused days, while date-specific purchasers are permitted to get full refunds. Vail already began issuing all refunds automatically.
What can the credits be used for?
All credits refunded to pass holders are able to be put toward the purchase of any future Epic Pass, be it a full season pass, a multi-day pass, or a date-specific pass. Vail also pushed back the season pass renewal deadline to Labor Day.
The company will also be including its Epic Coverage insurance free of charge on all future pass purchases (previously a $60 add-on). With Epic Coverage, pass holders are eligible for refunds if they miss ski days as a result of job loss or transfer, stay at home orders, student visa issues, and pregnancy, for example.
Is it worth renewing for the 2020/21 season?
Vail's promise to offer credits for the shortened 2019/20 ski season should allow most pass holders to remain confident in purchasing again for the following season. Along with free Epic Coverage and a similar credit refund policy for the 2020/21 season, Vail's Epic Pass still represents one of the best deals for multi-mountain access currently available to skiers and snowboarders (saving more money to be spent on gear or even gas to the mountain).
Vail continues to try to reframe how skiers view season passes, too. Buying a season pass early puts many users in a position to have it pay for itself in around five days on the mountain. With options for date-specific and multi-day passes, spring-only access, and the ability to visit a laundry list of mountains, Vail's Epic Pass is one of the most versatile season passes available.
For more information, or to inquire about credit refunds or next year's pricing, visit the Epic Pass website.
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