Amid tough ski season with 300 complaints, Stevens Pass offers deal

SKYKOMISH — Skiers and snowboarders at Stevens Pass will get a deal if they decide to renew their resort passes for next winter after a rocky start to the 2021-22 season.

Parent company Vail Resorts this week notified Washington pass holders of the special offer. The deal requires them to renew or purchase their 2022-23 season pass by May 30, and the discount varies depending on the type of pass the customer chooses, according to company spokeswoman Sara Roston.

The offer comes amid a flurry of complaints to the Washington state attorney general’s office about problems at the resort, on US 2 near Skykomish, since it opened for the winter on Dec. 15.

Nearly 300 complaints had been filed against Stevens Pass and its property by late Wednesday afternoon.

Skiers and snowboarders have demanded refunds for passes and better wages for staff, citing long lift lines, parking issues and mountain closures.

Those who now have Stevens Pass-only season passes can renew them at a discounted price: $50 off for seniors and $150 off for adults, young adults and teens, Vail Resorts told the customers in an email.

The company also sells the Epic Pass, offering a range of options for accessing Stevens Pass and its other ski areas. Current Epic and Epic Local customers who decide to repurchase these passes can get a $150 credit for food, lodging, retail items, lift tickets, rentals, or lessons at Stevens Pass next season, according to the email.

2022-23 passes are not yet on sale, but will be soon.

“We are always listening to our customers and understand their frustrations with pitch availability so far this season at Stevens Pass,” Roston said in a statement. “We began work on a potential customer retention offer for the 22/23 season over the Christmas holidays, as the customer experience challenges became apparent. We hope these offers demonstrate that we are committed to honoring the loyalty of our pass holders, as we also work to improve the experience at Stevens Pass.

This month, the company announced that longtime Stevens Pass skier Tom Fortune has taken over as interim general manager of the ski area. Fortune details steps it is taking to improve operations on the station’s Facebook page.

Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch acknowledged this month that the season “got off to a slow start” at Vail-owned resorts due to various challenges, including staffing issues, weather and an increase in COVID cases. -19 caused by the omicron variant.

Through mid-January, 2021-22 season pass and lift ticket revenue was up nearly 26% from a similar period last winter, but still down about 5% from compared to sales at the start of the pre-pandemic ski season, according to a press release from the ski conglomerate.

“Given the difficult recruitment environment, exacerbated by work exclusions related to COVID-19, we have implemented both a holiday and end-of-season bonus for our employees, the cost of which we estimate at $20 million,” Lynch said, “and which we believe will positively impact staffing throughout the season in conjunction with expected declines in COVID-19 work exclusions.

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; [email protected] Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

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