It’s no secret at this point, right?
Vail Resorts sold more Epic Passes this season than any season before. The 20% price cut was enticing for skiers and snowboarding across the country. The influx in pass sales has led to reports of mismanagement across all of Vail Resort’s properties.
Susan Glaser, of cleveland.com, is reporting that Epic Passholders who frequent Vail’s three properties in northeast Ohio are very unhappy with how this season has gone so far.
Vail has owned and operated Brandywine, Boston Mills, and Alpine Valley since 2019.
Shawn Pepera told cleveland.com that she waited with her daughter for three hours at Boston Mills for rentals on a recent Friday. Her daughter missed her lesson, and only got in one run before the ski area closed for the night.
Skiers are also frustrated that Vail Resorts has slashed operating hours at their Ohio properties. Brandywine and Boston Mills are not open for night skiing on weekends, and Alpine Valley is closed Monday-Thursday. Alpine only operates 3:30PM-9:00PM, and 9:00AM-4:00PM on weekends.
The ski areas have been smashed with lift lines thanks to the limited operating hours, lack of employees to run the lifts, and increased Epic Pass sales.
Dale Habekorn, a long-time season passholder told cleveland.com:
“There has been not one time that I went there that I didn’t leave in disgust,” said Dale Haberkorn, a long-time season passholder from Strongsville, who has made at least six trips to the Summit County parks this year with his 13-year-old son. “He doesn’t want to go anymore either.”
A Vail spokesman has said that the ski areas are hosting job fairs to hire people on the spot. Their main focus is to hire lift operators.
It’s honestly kind of sad to keep writing about Vail’s failures across the country. It’s not good for the health of the ski industry, but I feel an obligation to call out the BS whenever I see it.
My opinion of Vail has slightly evolved over the season. I’m sympathetic to the fact that their small ski areas are struggling to hire employees, but Vail’s desire to maximize pass sales heading into this season just downright sucks. They oversold passes with profits in mind, and disregarded how that would effect the skier experience at their mountains.
Here’s to hoping Brandywine, Boston Mills, and Alpine Valley are able to hire more employees and turn this season around. I feel bad for the skiers who dropped hundreds of dollars on an Epic Pass only to wait in hours of lift lines on small hills that are barely open.