Alterra ordered to compensate Ikon Pass holders for COVID shutdowns

Skiers, snowboarders who had a pass in 2019-20 will get a credit for a future season pass

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Skiers are required to wear face coverings they ski at Park City on opening day, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Vail Resorts, which own Park City Mountain, and Alterra Mountain Company have both been sued by pass holders for cutting short the 2019-20 ski season because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Alterra reached a settlement earlier this year and began issuing credits to customers this week.

Alterra Mountain Company will be giving some skiers and snowboarders a discount on their next Ikon Pass, albeit begrudgingly.

Alterra, which runs the multi-resort Ikon Pass, in January settled a $17.5 million class-action lawsuit. As a result, it has agreed to give anyone who held an Ikon Pass in 2019-20 a credit on a future season pass.

Alterra joined most of the ski industry in shutting down its resorts earlier than usual during the 2019-20 season because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In response, a dozen separate class-action lawsuits were filed against the company charging that, according to the plantiffs’ law firm, Dovel & Luner, pass holders “did not receive the full ski season they bargained for.” Those lawsuits were combined and, on Jan. 27 in a federal district court in Colorado, judge Raymond P. Moore granted the settlement.

“Although we fully stand by the decision to pause operations in the face of unprecedented and unknown health and safety risks,” a statement posted on Alterra’s website said, “we wanted to move beyond March 2020 and have agreed to a settlement resolution for our valued pass holders who were impacted.”

Affected Ikon pass holders began receiving notices of their windfall in their inboxes this week. Credits will range between $10 for those who used their pass seven days or more and $150 for those who used their pass one day. Holders of unused passes received a full refund. Credits can be applied to the purchase of a 2023-24 pass or a 2024-25 pass and expire in July 2025.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The stoke is high for opening day at Solitude Mountain Resort on Thursday Nov. 10, 2022. Solitude is owned by Alterra Mountain Company which this week began issuing pass credits and day-ticket vouchers to those who held its Ikon Pass during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season after reaching a settlement earlier this year.

Those who do not want to buy another Ikon pass will receive vouchers for discounts of 20%-50% on single-day lift tickets at Alterra-owned resorts. In Utah, that includes Solitude Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort.

Alterra also has agreements with Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Brighton and Snowbasin. Vouchers are not valid at those resorts.

Alterra is not a publicly traded company and does not disclose how many passes it sells, so it is unclear how many people were affected. The Burlington Free Press estimated that number to be about 500,000. Information on the terms of the credit disbursement can be found at ikonpass.com/en/covid-class-action-credit.

Vail Resorts, which offers the Epic Pass for access to its own and partner resorts, was also sued by pass holders seeking prorated refunds after the shortened 2019-20 season. A judge in a federal court in Colorado ruled against the pass holders in that case, but they plan to challenge that decision in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A key difference between the two cases is that prior to the 2020-21 season, Vail granted 2019-20 Epic Pass holders credits of between 20% and 80% toward a future pass. Where pass holders fell in the range depended on how many days they had used their pass. Alterra, meanwhile, made no concessions to its 2019-20 Ikon pass holders.

Vail owns Park City Mountain Resort but also offered days at Snowbasin during the 2019-20 season.