Vail Resorts is most likely in the clear from a lawsuit that’s been annoying them for the past three years. Colorado Politics reports the federal appeals court in Denver has ruled that the passholder plaintiffs can not sue Vail Resorts for refunds from their 2019-20 Epic Passes.

The plaintiffs argued in the lawsuit that the passes gave them unlimited access to the ski resorts included on the Epic Pass during the ski season. These passholders believed that the ski season was determined by the conditions at the ski resort, meaning that Vail Resorts violated the terms of their agreement. Vail Resorts did offer guests credits on their Epic Passes for the 2020-21 season if they had one during the 2019-20 season, but they did not give out cash refunds.

Here’s what Vail Resorts’ lawyers argued in the case:

“No law or principle of morality requires that the economic consequences of COVID-19 cannot affect these plaintiffs in the slightest.”

The court ruled that Vail Resorts clearly disclosed that there are no Epic Pass refunds, no matter what the circumstances were. This included shutting down their lifts in the middle of March, which they did to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Judge Carolyn B. McHugh wrote the following in her ruling:

“The plain meaning is to deny all refunds no matter the circumstances and Passholders cannot now seek the exact remedy they contracted away.”

Before the trial reached the federal appeals court, U.S. District Court Senior Judge R. Brooke Jackson dismissed the case. This snippet from his ruling explained why:

“Vail did not fail to compensate passholders. It issued Epic Pass credits. The contracting parties may have reasonably expected adequate compensation in the event of an unexpected closure, but they could not have expected cash only.”

The major surprise from this ruling though is that the plaintiffs can refile their lawsuit. While they can no longer sue for refunds, they are allowed to refile a lawsuit that would seek another form of relief that doesn’t have to do with financial compensation. Here’s what Judge Carolyn B. McHugh wrote in her ruling:

“This, however, does not prevent Passholders from seeking some other type of relief from Vail if they establish Vail breached its contracts with Passholders by closing its resorts. [The plaintiffs] could seek future access to Vail’s resorts for the amount of time Vail closed its resorts prior to the end of the 2019–2020 ski season.”

It’ll be interesting to see if the plaintiffs try to refile the case, or if they just throw in the towel. At this point, it’s probably best to avoid the legal fees and just get your season pass for next winter, whether that be with Vail Resorts or someone else.

Image Credits: Vail Resorts


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