Jilted Ikon Pass holders, your time has come.
Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of 16 ski resorts and facilitator of the Ikon Pass, will pay a total of $17.5 million to those who held passes in the COVID-shortened 2019-2020 season. That’s after a Colorado judge awarded the sum following a court case in late January.
Instead of a lump sum of cash, Alterra agreed to offer credits toward future passes, or free lift tickets, to eligible class members who held 2019-2020 Ikon Passes. Here’s how it works, according to the settlement:
An individual’s usage of their 2019-2020 Ikon Pass determines the amount of the pass credit they can receive. The credit amount ranges from $10 for those who used their pass at an Ikon Resort seven or more times to $150 for those who used their pass only once.
Ikon Pass holders didn’t receive the benefits that the pass promised in 2019-2020, law firm Dovel and Luner argued. According to the court filing, Alterra halted the season “prematurely,” which entitled plaintiffs to “damages stemming from their pass purchases because they allegedly did not receive the full ski season they bargained for.”
COVID Shut Ski Resorts
The 2019-2020 season ended at every Alterra resort on March 14. “After careful thought and deliberation of our duty in the face of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, and in what I believe is in the best interest of our guests, employees and local communities … [a]ll lift operations, food and beverage, retail and rental services will be closed until further notice,” the company said in a statement undersigned by CEO Rusty Gregory.
What that meant: Winter Park, Big Bear, Steamboat, Mammoth, and every other Alterra property shut the doors — and therefore shut out Ikon Pass holders who had already paid the seasonal rate.
Dovel and Luner took up the lawsuit against the company promptly in April 2020. The action consolidated the claims of a dozen separate plaintiffs. Timothy Goodrich, Nolte Mehnert, George T. Farmer, Erik Ernstrom, W. Walter Layman, Bradley Briar, and Keri Reid are listed, “each individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated.” Along with a free Ikon Pass, they’ll also receive $3,500 each for the “work they performed” during the litigation.
Ikon Pass Settlement
The settlement became final on January 19. At the court session, Alterra objected to Dovel and Luner’s lawyer fees but agreed to the awards for the plaintiffs. The attorney fees Alterra disputed amounted to 16% of the benefits provided to the class, which the court estimated at $17.5-18 million. The math works out to $2.8 million in fees, and the court denied Alterra’s argument, thus awarding the firm.
It’s a win for everyone disgruntled at Alterra’s 2020 decision. Whether it sets a precedent that will affect Vail Resorts, which owns Epic Pass, remains to be seen. Vail closed its season on March 17, 2020, and pass holders reportedly struggled to recoup funds — despite the fact that the company established protocols for refunds. However, the fact that the company made an effort could occlude any potential legal action.
Representatives from Alterra were not available for comment as of this writing, and the company had not announced the news of the settlement.