VAIL, Colorado - Vail Resorts last week announced details of the 2012-13 Eagle County Merchant Pass program, which offers access to skiing and snowboarding on more than 11,000 acres at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, with some restrictions. The pass will be sold for $659. The price is subject to change.The Merchant Pass program has a long history and is a hiring tool for local businesses due to the wide-ranging benefits for employees and, most importantly, unlike other pass products, the pass ownership resides with the business versus an individual and features a one-time transfer for $100 to accommodate employee changes. Unlike the Epic Pass, which is owned by the passholder and cannot be revoked or transferred by an employer regardless of who paid for it, the Merchant Pass is owned by the "merchant" or business, and in the event that an employee leaves, the pass must be deactivated by the business and transferred to another employee.The Merchant Pass will be restricted at Vail and Beaver Creek Nov. 23-24 and 26-31, Jan. 19, 2012 and Feb.16-17.The Merchant Pass provides a number of ancillary benefits to employees. Benefit offerings include access to Vail Resorts' new EpicMix functionality, EpicMix Racing, six ski-with-a-friend tickets and four $79 lift tickets, summer lift access at Vail and Beaver Creek (excluding bike haul), Adventure Ridge discounts, one free ski or snowboard group lesson at Vail or Beaver Creek, Nordic lesson discounts and more.In order to be eligible for the Merchant Pass program, businesses must first belong to the Vail Chamber & Business Association, Vail Valley Partnership or Beaver Creek Resort Co. Second, businesses must participate in one of two customer service programs: "Service to the Power of You," or the "Platinum Service Program.""Service to the Power of You," will be offered Nov. 1 from 8-11 a.m. at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa. The cost is $40 for the first attendee and $20 for additional attendees. R.S.V.P. to the Vail Valley Partnership or the Vail Chamber by Tuesday.The keynote speaker is Eric Chester who will be presenting "Turning Rookies into Superstars: How to Get Young Front Line Talent to Perform Better, Lead Faster and Stay Longer." Chester is the leading authority on developing work ethic in teens and young adults and leading young employees to achieve at their potential. His presentation will illustrate why the work ethic in America has declined, and he'll provide solid, actionable ideas and tools to develop the young worker into an outstanding employee.The "Platinum Service Program," offered through the Vail Valley Partnership, is a "secret shopper" program, which evaluates and recognizes outstanding customer service in the Vail Valley. For more information or to sign up, visit VailValleyPartnership.com or contact Jen Weintraub, events and membership manager, at 970-477-4001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To obtain a Merchant Pass, businesses must contact their qualified association to determine eligibility. All Merchant Pass information is distributed through the associations.Vail Merchant Pass sales will begin Nov. 2 at the Lionshead Pass Office.Beaver Creek will begin selling the Merchant Pass on Nov. 3. Vail Mountain is scheduled to open Nov. 16, and Beaver Creek Mountain is scheduled to open Nov. 21.For additional information about the 2012-13 Vail Resorts Merchant Pass, call 970-SKI-3080 (754-3080) or e-mail email@example.com or visit www.vail.com/vbcmerchantpass. For information about the "Service to the Power of You" or Platinum Service Program, call the Vail Valley Partnership at 970-477-4001or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For class information you may also contact Vail Chamber & Business Association, call 970-477-0075 or email email@example.com, and for the Beaver Creek Resort Company, call 970-845-5972.