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Vail Daily column: Merchant pass offers many benefits

Chris Cremer
Vail Chamber

The leaves have fallen, the temperatures are dropping, and snowmaking on Golden Peak has begun. It is that time of year again — all of us in Vail are picking up the pace in preparation for winter. It looks like a fantastic ski season is shaping up with strong early season lodging bookings and the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships just around the corner. An integral part of the annual winter ramp up is the merchant pass presentation, which will be held Wednesday.

Vail Resorts is continuing its support of this program that benefits those of us not associated with the resort by allowing access to discounted passes for employees throughout the season. This benefit is offered to members of the VCBA and Vail Valley Partnership that choose to attend the seminar or to participate in the secret shopper Platinum Service Program.



Wednesday’s Highlights

Highlights of this year’s customer service presentation on Wednesday:



• The Vail Valley Foundation will provide in-depth information about the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships.

• Vail Resorts will give an update for the upcoming ski season.

• Chuck Wachendorfer, of Think 2 Perform, will focus on “delivering a world-class customer experience.”



• There will also be a panel discussion on customer service best practices with Mark Herron, of the Four Seasons Resort Vail, Erin Boselli, of Generation BC, and John Shipp, of Dionysus Hospitality Group.

The Vail Chamber and Business Association is always looking for ways to support Vail businesses. This is a great opportunity to join us and have the immediate benefit of enhancing your guests’ experience and being able to help your staff obtain a discounted merchant ski pass.

Compelling Hiring Tool

The merchant pass program has been in existence for many years providing a compelling 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 pass holder 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. In the event that an employee leaves, the pass must be deactivated by the business and may be transferred to another employee. The merchant pass will be restricted at Vail and Beaver Creek Nov. 28-29, Dec. 26-31, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14-15.

Merchant Pass Benefits

The merchant pass provides a number of ancillary benefits to employees. Benefit offerings include access to Vail Resorts’ popular ski and snowboard application EpicMix, six ski-with-a-friend tickets and six buddy lift tickets, summer lift access at Vail and Beaver Creek (excluding bike haul), Adventure Ridge discounts during the winter season, one free ski or snowboard group lesson at Vail or Beaver Creek, Nordic lesson discounts and more. Some restrictions apply for these benefits.

Additional merchant pass benefits:

• A merchant pass may be transferred once to another employee from the same business for $100.

• Six buddy lift tickets provide the option to purchase a ticket to ski and ride during restricted periods. The buddy tickets also may be used for friends and family all season. Payment does not need to be made by the merchant pass holder; a friend or family may pay for the ticket. Pass holder must be present to redeem.

• Six ski-with-a-friend tickets offer up to six days of unrestricted skiing or snowboarding for family or friends at a discounted rate that varies by date. Tickets will be electronically loaded onto the merchant pass and can be redeemed at any ticket window. Payment does not need to be made by the merchant pass holder; a friend or family may pay for the ticket. Pass holder must be present to redeem.

• One free adult ski or snowboard group lesson at Vail or Beaver Creek, valid Dec. 1-20 or Jan. 19-Feb. 8. Alternatively, pass holders may select a free introductory cross country lesson or snowshoe tour in Vail or Beaver Creek, or a Tele Tuesday in Beaver Creek anytime during the season when a paying guest is present. Reservations may be made for a discounted tele workshop in Vail or Beaver Creek anytime during the season for $62.

• Enjoy a multi-day lesson offer and enroll in a three-day adult ski or snowboard group lesson program for the price of two days. Offered to merchant pass holders for $340 in Vail and $360 in Beaver Creek.

• Adventure Ridge discounts will be available. For more information, please check http://www.vail.com/vbcmerchantpass.

• Access to Vail Resorts’ award winning and popular ski and snowboard application EpicMix. For more information, visit EpicMix.com.

Opening Day Drawing Near

Opening Day is on Nov. 21 this year for Vail Mountain and is on Nov. 26 for Beaver Creek Mountain. Ensure that your employees are ready to welcome our guests and the world this season. There is no such thing as too much customer service training!

Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the VCBA weekly e-newsletter, then all you need to do is email us at info@vailchamber.org to start receiving it.

The Vail Chamber and Business Association is the leading business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and Business Association and what we have to offer to business in and that do business in Vail, then please contact us at 970-477-0075 or email info@vailchamber.org. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top level of the Vail transportation center. Stop by and say hello!

Chris Cremer is the general manager of Bridge Street Ski Haus located in Vail Village. He is a Vail Chamber & Business Association board member.


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