A chairlift sits idle at Stevens Pass on Dec. 30. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

A chairlift sits idle at Stevens Pass on Dec. 30. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

A blizzard of Stevens Pass complaints hits the AG’s office

The ski resort’s new manager says he’s working to address frustrations about lines and closures.

OLYMPIA — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is requesting input from skiers and snowboarders who have been affected by hangups at Stevens Pass ski resort this season.

In the past two months, Ferguson’s office has received more than 80 complaints about the resort on U.S. 2 near Skykomish.

“This is a significant number of complaints in a short period of time. If you have been impacted, or have information, I’m asking that you file a complaint with my office,” he wrote in a tweet.

The appeal to consumers comes amid widespread concerns about limited operations at Stevens Pass this winter due to understaffing. Those frustrations erupted last month, when roughly half of the mountain remained closed through the holidays. Season pass holders have also complained about parking troubles, long lift lines and limited food and lodging options.

“We are aware of pass holder complaints being filed with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, and will work with all parties as appropriate,” Vail Resorts spokesperson Sara Roston said in an email on Friday.

Vail, the ski conglomerate that owns Stevens Pass, replaced the resort’s general manager last week in a bid to address the problems. Interim General Manager Tom Fortune, a lifelong skier of the pass, has pledged to “work towards getting the mountain open as quickly and safely as possible.”

Ferguson’s office is responsible for enforcing state consumer protection laws and can take legal action against businesses for deceptive dealings and unfair practices. In such cases, the attorney general can impose civil penalties against violators or seek refunds for customers who fell victim.

Complaints filed with Ferguson’s office also are evaluated to determine whether they can be resolved informally, without litigation.

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, priced from about $500 to $1,000, offers a range of options for seasonal access to Stevens Pass and dozens of other Vail-owned ski areas across North America.

People continue to add their names to an online petition, started in late December, that accuses the company of underpaying employees and deceiving consumers. As of 1 p.m. on Friday, the Change.org petition had more than 42,000 signatures.

Some consumer protection attorneys have said customers might be able to argue in court that the company violated consumer protection laws by charging high prices for resort access and then not fully delivering on that promise. However, the Epic Pass purchase agreement includes provisions that bar patrons from suing the company based on their resort experience.

In a Wednesday blog post, Fortune said the resort has already made a few “subtle” operational improvements and is focusing on opening the backside of the mountain.

“We’re reworking current plans to determine a path towards this, and hope to do so within two weeks,” he wrote. “This isn’t guaranteed, but we want to be transparent that we are working against this projected timeline.”

The resort is also recruiting more staff for the season.

“We have created a specific hiring plan for lift operations that has been implemented and I am happy to say that we’ve brought on several new people in just the last 48 hours,” Fortune wrote.

He plans to continue posting regular updates to social media to share information about openings and other steps that the resort is taking to improve the employee and customer experience.

“It’s not lost on me how high expectations are, but please know that I am listening … and so is our company,” Fortune said in the post. “We want Stevens Pass to be the mountain that you love and have pride in.”

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; rriley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A Port Angeles police officer cordons off an empty lot in Sequim on Thursday as law enforcement officials investigate an incident in the area. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Man arrested in Sequim, connected to homicide, has Snohomish County ties

A dead woman was found in Bret Allen Kenney’s home, police say. He previously attacked Snohomish County Jail guards.

A car makes its way through a winding unpaved section of the Mountain Loop Highway 15 miles outside of Darrington.
14-mile scenic stretch of Mountain Loop Highway opens early

The highway between Granite Falls and Darrington reopened to traffic on Friday due to good weather.

Britney Barber, owner of Everett Improv. Barber performs a shows based on cuttings from The Everett Herald. Photographed in Everett, Washington on May 16, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Cut this paper up and have a laugh at Everett Improv

The troupe’s new recurring “Boozie Newzie” show is based off clippings from The Daily Herald. Meta, dude.

HIdden River Middle School (Monroe School District)
Monroe school employee on leave for ‘racially insensitive language’

The incident took place at Hidden River Middle School. Also, police were investigating racist vandalism found at another school.

Svetlana Kravchenko appears in court for her sentencing Thursday, May 19, 2022, at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett woman gets community service in 2019 fatal hit-and-run

Svetlana Kravchenko was required to stay at the scene after hitting and killing Te Nguyen, 83. Instead, she went home.

A tiny homes program that opened in early July began with each unit claimed and a wait list of 60. Here Patrick Diller, head of community partnerships for Pallet, discusses the Pallet Shelter Pilot Project on June 29, 2021 in Everett. (Katie Hayes / Herald file)
Everett marks $2.7 million in federal funds for homeless housing

With the American Rescue Plan money, the city’s small housing program for unsheltered people could expand to three sites.

WSDOT workers open up the Smokey Point Rest Area on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free coffee will be back soon at Smokey Point rest areas

Everett’s Silver Lake rest area for southbound I-5 drivers remains closed while WSDOT works on the facility.

Pro skateboarding competition coming to Everett in August

Street League Skateboarding’s championship tour will be at Angel of the Winds arena for two days.

Drivers heading north on Interstate 5 will take a detour from Highway 104 to 220th Street SW and back to I-5 this weekend during nightly lane closures for Sound Transit light rail work. (Sound Transit)
Light rail work closing I-5 North lanes nightly this weekend

Crews need to close northbound lanes between 220th Street SW and Highway 104. Drivers have two detour options.

Most Read