VAIL, Colo. — Vail Resorts did not breach its contract with season pass holders when it closed its facilities amid the spread of COVID-19, a federal judge decided in tossing a lawsuit from those seeking refunds.
The Broomfield-based company suspended operations of its North American ski areas on March 15, 2020, days before Colorado's governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order. But one month later, customers began filing lawsuits against Vail Resorts in federal court demanding refunds. Because their Epic Pass entitled them to "unlimited" skiing, they argued, the operator had broken its contract by ending the season early.
But on Friday, U.S. District Court Senior Judge R. Brooke Jackson dismissed the consolidated lawsuit from 18 plaintiffs, saying Vail Resorts was within its rights to close facilities when conditions were no longer safe.
"That the safety threat came from a deadly virus rather than thinning snow is immaterial — skiing was too dangerous, so Vail closed its resorts. Plaintiffs nowhere allege that passholders could ski and snowboard safely after March 15, 2020. They therefore fail to allege that Vail breached its contractual obligations," Jackson wrote in an Oct. 15 order.
> Watch video above: A sneak-peak of Arapahoe Basin ahead of ski season.
Currently, there is a separate lawsuit pending in Colorado against ski corporation Alterra Mountain Company in which season pass holders are similarly seeking restitution after COVID-19 cancelations. U.S. District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore is overseeing that litigation, but in contrast to the Vail case, he has declined to dismiss those customers' breach of contract claims.
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