Letter: Is this how it ends, Vail Resorts?
I have always held Vail in high regard. In 1991, fresh out of college, I moved west from Massachusetts for the season and worked for the ski school out of Lionshead. The experience was wonderful. In the handful of trips I’ve made back to the resort since, I’ve always found myself falling back into a “mountain ambassador-like” role with other skiers I would meet on the lifts, etc. — still proud of the mountain after all these years.
In the 19/20 season, my family learned of and purchased Epic passes so we could ski the resorts north of Boston in Vermont and New Hampshire. We were happy to see your portfolio of resorts growing in the Northeast. We also took the opportunity to travel west to Vail so the family could experience what I had told them so much about. We were delighted.
We had hopes we could be back in the 20/21 season. After reading the Epic Coverage and having experienced how Vail Resorts was more than reasonable in their response to closing resorts early in the 19/20 season, we renewed our passes for the 20/21 season, figuring even if we could not get back out west, the resorts in New Hampshire and Vermont would be a welcome refuge for day trips.
As I know you are aware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont all had some form of travel restriction in place through the bulk of the ski season requiring a two-week quarantine and COVID testing.
This made it impossible for us to be able to day trip to any place outside of Massachusetts without disrupting our ability to return to the responsibilities of work and school, or violating the travel mandate. While we held out hope that the travel restrictions would be lifted before the season ended, it became apparent this was not going to happen.
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In early March, having used zero days on our passes, we submitted an Epic coverage claim, which was denied. Day tripping from Boston to the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont is very similar to day tripping from the Denver area up to Vail/Keystone/Breck. I wonder how Vail would have responded had this kind of restriction been placed on that skier base?
While we did take a risk in purchasing passes this year, Vail Resorts also made a commitment to protect its pass holders. As none of us could foresee what this season would bring, I would not expect to be made 100% whole and certainly would not want to see Vail Resorts’ business get driven into the ground. But, right now, we, your pass holders, are being hung out to dry.
Am I frustrated? Yes. But, mainly, I’m disappointed. Maybe the loyalty for Vail I’ve carried since 1991 has been misplaced.