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Super-Mega Pass Buyers Sue Resort Corps.

by The Editors on April 22, 2020

Several skiers who bought super-mega passes from North America’s two major ski resort operators (without apparently reading the fine print which we warned our readers about last spring) are now suing these same companies for not offering refunds when the resorts closed early due to COVID-19, according to a story in the Summit Daily.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Vail Resorts on April 10 claiming false advertising, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, among other counts, due to lost mountain resort access without pass refunds. Four days later on April 14, a similar lawsuit was filed against Alterra Mountain Co., citing that by retaining revenue generated from Ikon Pass sales, the company holds tens of millions in unjust profits as the ski areas and resorts were closed prematurely. 

Obviously, ski resorts are not the only businesses currently facing lawsuits over COVID-19 shutdowns. Nearly every business that sells passes, like theme parks, gyms, and sports courts, are feeling similar pressure.

Seeing as we are not fans of the super-mega passes in the first place (unless you’re riding over 20 days a year at the same resorts) part of us feels the pass buyers got exactly what they had coming by agreeing to assume all risk for the upcoming season. Then again, the way resorts sell these passes is a classic example of corporations taking advantage of their customers by offering something for sale that the buyers obviously don’t understand. Guess we’ll have to see whose lawyers are better. We’re betting on the resorts’. 

[Link: Summit Daily]


The Sinister Plot Behind The Super-Mega Pass

by The Editors on March 5, 2019

It’s barely March, and already the resort industrial complex is inundating us with marketing for their super-mega season passes for the winter of 2023-2024. Really? Already? Why are they doing this, and what does it all mean? We’re glad you asked.

Before we dive in let’s make one thing clear — obviously if you ride 20 days a year or more at the same few resorts owned by the same corporation then buying a super-mega pass is a no-brainer. Spend the $1,159 and get on it. If, however, you enjoy controlling your own money, waiting for good snow, and riding different resorts all season long, here are a few things you might want to consider before shelling out hard-earned cash on an Epic or Ikon pass.

The corporations that run ski resorts in North America (Alterra Mountain Company and Vail Resorts) have very sound business reasons for selling super-mega season passes, and they have nothing to do with giving you a good deal. They’re not interested in saving you a boatload of money. And it’s not because they’re putting their guest’s needs first. It all comes down to three main goals:

  1. They want your money now. Not next year. Now!
  2. They want ALL your money. Resorts don’t want you to spend a dime with their competitors (or competitor as the case may be in North America).
  3. They want to offload all their weather, pandemic, acts of God-related business risks to you so they won’t have to worry as much when chaos strikes.

Once you understand this, the whole mega-pass gambit makes more sense — for the resorts. Look at the way they promote their mega-pass sales. It’s like they’re setting up a con. First, they manufacture scarcity to increase perceived value: “This special deal is available for a limited time only.” We’ve all see the emails, “You have one more week to lock in savings.” “Hurry, this deal won’t last forever.” Why won’t it last? Good question. It could last all season. Nothing is stopping the resorts from selling super-mega passes all season long. It wouldn’t even be that bad a deal for them. People who bought passes later in the year would have fewer chances to use them. You’d think resorts would do that. But selling passes further into the season doesn’t get your money a year in advance and lock you into their resort for the entire season, and it certainly doesn’t protect resort owners from the specter of a bad snow year or global chaos.

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Steve Astephen: Mega Agent To The Stars

by The Editors on December 5, 2008

Steve-Astephen-LNot getting enough of action sports super-agent Steve Astephen darting here and there in front of the TV cameras with a cellphone to his ear? Well then, has just want you’re looking for in the Entrepreneur Insider: Marketing That Takes Flight.

Steve Astephen’s legacy is everywhere. It’s in the oceans. It’s in the mountains. It’s on the street. But more than anywhere, it’s in the air, where his clients’ exploits inspire the next generation of action sports stars. Ten years ago, Astephen revolutionized the action sports industry when he recognized the marketability of its larger-than-life athletes and created an agency focused on turning them into brands. He has since partnered with Wasserman Media Group and become one of the biggest names in the game, but he still remembers when his biggest asset was the sort of infectious energy that comes only from someone eager to break the mold.

Not sure “revolutionized” is the right word, but he certainly brought a circus-tent load of commercialism. We just hope Steve’s “legacy” doesn’t run us over the next time we go outside; ’cause that thing is apparently everywhere.



Alterra Gobbles Up SoCal’s Snow Valley

by The Editors on January 20, 2023

It is sad to see them go. It really is. Snow Valley, one of California’s last independent snow resorts (a quiet, fun place where neither super mega pass was accepted) has been devoured by the Alterra Mountain Company, according to a press release from the Denver, Colorado based mega resort corp.

“Snow Valley Mountain Resort has been a treasured destination since 1924 and together we will continue its incredible legacy,” said Kevin Somes, Vice President and General Manager of Snow Valley Mountain Resort. “By becoming a member of the Alterra Mountain Company family of destinations, Snow Valley will continue to deliver exceptional guest experiences to ski and snow enthusiasts in Southern California and beyond.”

Sadly, it will also limit the ability of Southern California snowboarders to ride a mountain without handing over all their shred money to the Alterra Mountain Company a year in advance in the form of a super-mega pass. If business goes a usual, Alterra will raise the prices at Snow Valley so high that only super-mega pass holders will be able to afford a visit. Resort consolidation is bad for everyone. Snow Valley, we will miss you. But, we guess somebody’s gonna have to jump. For the official word from Alterra, please click to continue.

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Mt. High Owners Buy California’s China Peak

by The Editors on December 12, 2022

The consolidation of California’s smaller ski resorts moved forward today as Invision Capital, owners of Mountain High and Dodge Ridge, announced that they had purchased the Fresno adjacent China Peak from long time owner Tim Cohee.

“As of Friday I have completed the sale of China Peak Mountain Resort to Private Equity firm, Invision Capital, based in Chicago,” said Cohee. “I have agreed to remain General Manager for the foreseeable future. We weren’t anxious sellers but Karl and Invision were very interested in having a resort group that covers most of California’s market geographically.”

We’re big fans of resorts that are not part of the “super mega pass” industrial complex so we’re not sure if this is good news exactly. Bundling smaller resorts into larger bites makes it easier for the big guys to hoover them up, but until then this is a great little group of California resorts to spend some time with. For all the official details please follow the jump.

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Mountain High Labor Day Pass Sale

by The Editors on August 25, 2022

It’s currently the warmest part of the year in Southern California and maybe that’s why Mountain High is offering their hottest deals on 2022-23 season passes. For SoCal snowboarders there are many reasons to love Mountain High. It’s real. It’s real close. And it’s not part of some super mega resort run by a massive Colorado corporation. Here’s the deal they’re serving up for Labor Day weekend.

Snowy days are on their way and this Labor Day weekend, skiers & snowboarders save up to $350 on 22/23 Season Passes to Mountain High, Southern California’s closest winter resort. Guests who purchase by 9/5 receive a FREE Buddy Ticket worth $129. It’s the best season pass deal in Southern California and pays for itself in just 4 visits. . . “For the cost of a handful of tickets, you can enjoy an entire season of skiing and snowboarding at Mountain High, Southern California’s closest winter resort,” says John McColly, Mountain High Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Ride local and leave the super mega passes for the tourists. For the official details from Mountain High, please follow the jump.

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Vail Resorts Shorts International Workers

by The Editors on February 25, 2023

In what should come as a surprise to no one, Vail Resorts is being accused of cutting the hours of many of its international workers because, why not? According to The Summit Daily News, one worker has seen his hours cut substantially since the end of the Christmas Holiday.

When he began working as a back-of-house employee at the Timber Ridge restaurant in December, Queiroz said he was scheduled for 40-hour weeks, but by the middle of the month his hours began to get cut to 32. Then, he hit 24 hours in January. . . Copies of Queiroz’s work schedules, which he provided to the Summit Daily, show that for every week since Jan. 28, Queiroz was scheduled for two days — or 16 hours — not including an unpaid break. He said it’s barely enough money to cover his living expenses.

As in all business, the easiest way to cut costs is to trim labor, and if you already have everyone’s money from the super-mega pass, why provide quality services? That’s right. No reason. Vail has responded with more corporate speak about being “fully staffed” etc. . . but everyone knows what’s going on–too many employees is always better than not enough.

Even thought Vail Resorts in an offer letter (which Queiroz was required to sign) suggested that workers would get 32 hours a week, the company says it doesn’t use employment contracts. After Queiroz factors in the cost of getting to Colorado and his flight home to Brazil, he’s basically paying to work for Vail. Ah, capitalism!

[Link: Summit Daily News]


Olympic Surfing Officials Visit Teahupo’o

by The Editors on August 21, 2022

When France hosts the Olympic Games in 2024 their surfing venue is going to be a short 22 hour plane ride away in French Polynesia a.k.a. Tahiti, home to the monster wave Teahupo’o. Of course you already know this and we just watched the mostly boring contest from there last week. That said, the leaders from the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (including Owen Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, Tony Estanguet, Italo Ferreira and Jean-Philippe Gatien, pictured above) visited Tahiti during the contest to officially check things out.  According to the ISA:

The ISA and Paris teams held productive discussions on key elements of the surfing competition in Tahiti and toured core elements of the planned Olympic surfing location. Agenda items for the meetings covered major topics such as the 2024 event format, competition schedule, infrastructure, sustainability, athlete accommodation and broadcast services.

Nice work if you can get it. For the rest of the official details, please follow the jump.
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At The Top Of The Action News List Tonight

by The Editors on March 24, 2022

This was going to be the Ides of March news listers. Then the Holi lister, now it’s just the late-in-March list of news stories that caught our eye and might be of interest to you. That’s all. No snide asides, no out-of-context comments, no misinformed snark, and no 200 word headlines. Just links to stories that are at the top of the news tonight.

Follow the jump for all the stories.

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Pre-Holiday November News Lister

by The Editors on November 8, 2021

Lots going on here in the world of news headline lists. This one is a big one because, well, we’ve been doing other stuff lately. But here it is anyway. Sharks, COVID, and all that jazz.

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