Vail Resorts extends Epic Pass insurance deadline to Dec. 14 |

Vail Resorts extends Epic Pass insurance deadline to Dec. 14

Ski 59 days and still receive a 50% refund if your season gets cut short

Vail Resorts Epic Pass insurance option of “core season” will provide a refund to everyone whose home resort closes at least one day before scheduled, regardless of how much they skied before the closure.

If the season ends on Feb. 5, and you lose 59 of the 118 days in the core season (Dec. 8 to April 4) on your home mountain, you would receive a 50% refund on your pass, provided you did not use that pass at other resorts during the resort closure event.

The early season doesn’t count against you, either. Keystone skiers who started Nov. 4 could ski more than 90 days and still receive a 50% refund if the season ends Feb. 5 or earlier, provided they selected the core season option of insurance.

But if you purchased an Epic Pass and have already made priority reservations on that pass, you were defaulted into priority insurance. Conversely, if there are days you really want to ski this season, and you want to insure those days but you have not yet reserved them, you have also been defaulted into the wrong insurance category.

The deadline to change your pass insurance category was Dec. 7, but was extended by one week following a Dec. 6 story in the Vail Daily. You now have until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 14 to change your insurance preference.

Vail Mountain spokesperson John Plack said the deadline was extended “to provide our pass holders with more time to plan their season with confidence.”

’Redefines pass protection’

When Vail Resorts unveiled the company’s new Epic Coverage pass insurance program in April, Vail Resorts EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Kirsten Lynch touted it as a program that redefines pass protection.

But as the 2020-21 season was still uncertain, it was too soon to hash out hypothetical scenarios.

Now, with 2020-21 well underway, Vail Resorts will have successfully opened all 34 of its North American resorts “from Whistler to Vail to Stowe,” as pointed out in a letter from CEO Rob Katz.

The company’s goal this season has always been to get open and stay open, and in seeing through the goal to keep the lifts at the Colorado resorts spinning past the critical date of April 4, a close examination of the insurance program offers another explanation to attain that goal. Simply stated, early closures could be costly in refunds offered through the Epic Coverage program.

Getting canceled

Pass purchasers are given a choice of two insurance options: “Cover my priority reservation days” or “Core season.”

Priority reservation insurance covers a specific time period which you do not want to miss. The deadline to book the priority days that you want to insure has also been extended to Dec. 14. Pass holders who do not reserve any priority days before 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 14, or do not make an Epic Coverage election, will automatically receive coverage for the core season.

If you select core season, the resort can cancel your priority reservation days, and you will only receive a nominal refund. A $1,000 Epic Pass with seven priority days (which were booked before Dec. 14) would receive a $59 refund under core insurance. If, however, you had selected to cover your priority reservation days, booked those seven days on Dec. 14 or earlier, and the resort canceled your reservation days, you would receive a 100% refund if you didn’t use your pass any other time that season.

Cash for core

While the priority option offers more protection for those who don’t want to lose days to reservation cancellation events, the core season offers good protection to those who buy their season pass in an effort to use it all season long.

To calculate your potential refund amount under core insurance, you must first select which resort you consider your home mountain, or the place you want to use it most. Epic Pass purchasers who want to use their pass at a number of marquee resorts in Vail Resorts’ suite can select an “all mountain” option, which covers you if Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, NorthStar and Kirkwood are all closed simultaneously.

The other definition required is the core season — Vail Resorts has identified the core season at their major ski areas as Dec. 8 to April 4, which is 118 days.

The percentage of your pass purchase price which you will have refunded in event of a closure is first calculated by dividing the number of days you missed in the core season by 118.

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But to arrive at the final percentage, you must then factor in one more important determination — did you use your pass during the resort closure event? Did you travel to another destination which was not closed? If you did, you will be severely penalized.

But if you did not, you could see a decent refund, no matter how much you used the pass during the regular season.

The number of days the pass has been used will not be held against the pass holder if they’ve selected core season coverage. So someone who bought an Epic Pass for $1,000 who skis 100 days this core season could still receive a $152 credit if the season ends on March 18, if their home resort core season went to April 4, assuming they don’t visit other resorts during the closure.

One of the values of the Epic Pass is its ability to work at 34 resorts across North America. If your home resort closes, you can visit another nearby. With this feature offering a high value, there’s also a high penalty in taking advantage of it during a closure event. If resorts around the state start closing early, the potential for a bigger refund for non-travelers under the core coverage plan encourages pass holders not to crowd the few mountains which remain open. If the reason for that closure is pandemic, it discourages traveling during the pandemic.

If any resorts experience closure or priority reservation cancellation events this season, the time to submit applications for refunds under the Epic Coverage program will be between May 1 and May 31.

“Untimely submissions may be rejected,” Vail Resorts warns in the terms and conditions of the Epic Coverage program.

For more information, visit that terms and conditions page at

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