After a flurry of complaints about problems at Stevens Pass ski resort, parent company Vail Resorts said skiers and snowboarders will get a deal if they renew their passes for next winter. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

After a flurry of complaints about problems at Stevens Pass ski resort, parent company Vail Resorts said skiers and snowboarders will get a deal if they renew their passes for next winter. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Amid rocky ski season with 300 complaints, Stevens Pass offers deal

Vail Resorts said returning customers can get discounts for 2022-23 if they renew their passes by May 30.

SKYKOMISH — Stevens Pass skiers and snowboarders will get a deal if they decide to renew their resort passes for next winter after a turbulent start to the 2021-22 season.

Parent company Vail Resorts notified pass holders across Washington this week about the special offer. The deal requires them to renew or purchase their 2022-23 season pass by May 30, and the discount varies based on the type of pass a customer chooses, according to company spokeswoman Sara Roston.

The offer comes amid a flurry of complaints to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office about problems at the resort, on U.S. 2 near Skykomish, since it opened for the winter on Dec. 15.

Nearly 300 complaints had been filed against Stevens Pass and its ownership as of late Wednesday afternoon.

Skiers and snowboarders have called for pass refunds and better wages for staff, citing long lift lines, parking problems and mountain closures.

Those who now have season passes to only Stevens Pass can get them renewed at a reduced price: $50 off for seniors and $150 off for adults, young adults and teens, Vail Resorts told customers in an email.

The company also sells the Epic Pass, providing a range of options for accessing Stevens Pass and its other ski areas. Current Epic and Epic Local customers who decide to buy those passes again can get a $150 credit for food, lodging, retail items, lift tickets, rentals or lessons at Stevens Pass next season, according to the email.

The 2022-23 passes are not on sale yet, but will be soon.

“We are always listening to our guests and understand their frustrations regarding terrain availability so far this season at Stevens Pass,” Roston said in a statement. “We began working on a potential guest loyalty offer for the 22/23 season over the Christmas holiday, as the challenges in the guest experience became apparent. We hope these offers demonstrate that we are committed to honoring the loyalty of our pass holders as we also work to improve the experience at Stevens Pass.”

This month, the company announced that lifelong Stevens Pass skier Tom Fortune has taken over as interim general manager at the ski area. Fortune is detailing the steps he’s taking to improve operations on the resort’s Facebook page.

Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch acknowledged this month that the season “got off to a slow start” at Vail-owned resorts due to various challenges, including the staffing issues, weather and a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.

Through mid-January, 2021-22 season pass and lift ticket revenue was up nearly 26% compared to a similar period last winter, but still down about 5% compared to sales at the start of the ski season before the pandemic, according to a news release from the ski conglomerate.

“Given the challenging staffing environment, exacerbated by COVID-19 related work exclusions, we implemented both a holiday and end of season bonus for our employees, the cost of which we estimate at $20 million,” Lynch said, “and which we believe will positively impact staffing through the rest of the season in conjunction with expected declines in COVID-19 work exclusions.”

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

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