Blue Mountain finally changes ski pass terms due to backlash before lockdown
Skiers and snowboarders are furious after learning that Ontario hills like Blue Mountain are being forced to close as part of the provincewide lockdown starting Dec. 26, especially because of restrictive terms on some season passes.
Customers who spent hundreds on the Collingwood resort's popular 5x7 or Ikon passes for 2020/2021 were, according to Blue's original terms, unable to get a pass deferral if they had used it to hit the slopes even once thus far.
These were the policies that winter sports lovers agreed to upon purchase, but no one was anticipating a blanket shut down that would interrupt the season and move the attraction's region, Grey Bruce Health Unit, from Yellow-Protect to the most drastic form of lockdown.
Yeah, big issue here, and quite unfair to be completely honest. I went snowboarding Saturday for 2 hours before any shutdown, and your deferral policy dictates that if we used it prior to shutdown we can't defer? Is this how you treat homeowners than have been buying for 20 years— James (@habs_anonymous) December 22, 2020
Deferrals were also not permitted on passes used just for the discount it provides on goods purchased at Blue Mountain Village retailers, meaning that some people who hadn't even stepped on the hill yet were not allowed to defer their pass to next year.
Understandably, patrons took to social media to express their disdain, especially when other comparable resorts such as Mount St. Louis Moonstone came out with more flexible policies that include full refunds for guests.
As a result of the backlash, Blue Mountain changed its tune on Tuesday, updating its rules to clarify that all 2020/21 5x7 passholders are eligible to defer their pass to the 2021/22 season at no additional cost if they have not used it on or after Dec. 23.
Skiers need simply to fill out a form on Blue's website before March 31, 2021 to do so.
I used my 5x7 to get a discount on toddler mittens before the resort was even open for skiing and now I can't get a deferral. That's a terrible policy and unless resolved, Blue will not be getting any more of my money.— Joe Sinbandhit (@jsinb88) December 22, 2020
Those who wish to get in a final few runs before the lockdown can still do so up until closing on Christmas night, but will have to hold out hope that the resort will be permitted to reopen for operations before the end of the winter, because they will no longer be entitled to a pass deferral if they do so.
"There is no rush to return your 2020/21 5x7 if you have registered your intention to defer by completing the form below," the team states as part of the new terms.
"You may hold on to your pass for the duration of the 2020/21 ski season. Should you change your mind at anytime, simply use your pass as normal and you'll waive your intention to defer."
Unfortunately for those who purchased the far pricier Ikon pass, the conditions for deferral appear to be the same as they always have been, with passholders unable to defer if they have visited the mountain (or any of the 44 that are part of the pass) this winter.
So if you skied once this past weekend with a 5x7 pass you can’t defer and you get no discount for losing at least a third of the season?— Eugene Michasiw (@eugene_fm) December 22, 2020
Though Ontario residents are still disheartened at the prospect of losing part or even the entirety of their ski season depending on how the province fares with COVID-19, there was a communal sigh of relief once the new rules were released.
"Thank you kindly for amending your deferral policy. It has restored my longstanding confidence in Blue Mountain as a leader in customer service," one user wrote in response on Facebook.
"Furthermore, it has given me hope that, throughout these troubling and uncertain times, the heart of the human spirit is still very much alive and the decency of human understanding and compassion still exists."
Thanks @fordnation. You've never stepped foot on a ski hill and yet you're establishing policies that impact it. Everyone's outside in face masks yet they pose a threat but hey, you can still shop at Walmart... Logic.— Brian (@briancosta1) December 22, 2020
In the wake of Monday's announcement about the new lockdown, many Ontarians have been confounded about some of the specifics, such as those pertaining to ski hills, where physical distancing and masking are required.
One change.org petition calling for ski hills to remain open has garnered more than a staggering 40,000 signatures in just two days.
"Skiing should be the safest sport to participate in with face coverings, mandatory space between patrons [and] riding chair lifts with only family. In a time of immense negativity, this can also help our mental health, not to mention the exercise that we all desperately want. Most ski hills have created enough rules on their own to help keep COVID at bay on the slopes," it reads.
"Historically most resorts have 3.5 months to make the money... If we are unable to support our slopes and ski hill employees we may lose some of the resorts we have due to not being able to break even this year."
Join the conversation Load comments