I used to be "one of those", a one-week-a-year skier from outside of Colorado who would descend on the ski resorts for 5 days of snow and ski. Even being first on the lift in the morning and last down every afternoon never seemed enough. Moving to Colorado a few years ago meant I could ski whenever I wanted--all winter! And, now that I was living here, I could get a local ski pass.
The first winter living here, I was like a kid in a candy store, just imagining virtually unlimited access to any number of my favorite resorts. However, things seemed to have changed, and snow was considerably less forthcoming than I had remembered. The first winter, it was January before there seemed to be a substantial enough base to ensure that I wouldn't be skiing on ice. Then I had to have the new type of skis, or the ski shops wouldn't even adjust or tune my old skis. Then I lost my toenails because of my old boots, so I needed new boots. On top of all that, it seemed a really short season, and the March "Spring skiing" was mostly slush.
Determined not to let that dull my enthusiasm, I put my $49 down IN APRIL to lock in the price for the local pass for the following ski season. I was also advised to pay an extra $20 to ensure that if "for any reason I was unable to ski or if I got hurt during the season", I would get a full or pro-rated refund of my local pass. No problem, seemed reasonable.
Then came another disappointing ski season. We had to go south to Dallas for Christmas to experience snow! I had covered the opening day at many of the resorts, and brave souls were virtually and literally skiing on rocks. So again, it was January until we actually got out to try the still questionable conditions. They were so short on snow that many of the resorts actually closed early that year. Then a May snow? My ski gear was already packed away.
So, again, in APRIL came another request and expectation of putting the $49 + $20 "insurance" to hold the next season's local pass, to be charged in full in September. But no worries, I had the "insurance" in case anything prevented me from skiing, right?
Wrong. I found out how ridiculous this "insurance" was when I called the ticket office to inform them that I had developed a bad back injury over the summer and couldn't chance skiing in the coming season. At the time, I couldn't even walk. The ski pass people didn't want to discuss it, but said I had to file a claim with the insurance company. Then, if or when it was approved, they would refund what the insurance company approved.
What? In the first place, my credit card had not yet been charged for the local pass, and was not scheduled to do so for about another month. So, why couldn't they just stop the process? I had bought the insurance they recommended. So, I called the number for the insurance company they gave me.
It turns out, they are really a travel insurance company, and began with telling me it would likely to be about 2 months before my "claim" was decided. I said that was ridiculous, that I haven't even been charged for the pass yet, and didn't want to be. They said that was not up to them, but that I probably would be charged, anyway, but would eventually get it back IF they approved my claim. However, the clock didn't start on processing the claim until they received all the paperwork back. I was told that a claims representative would eventually call me to "discuss" my problem and my claim.
All the paperwork turned out to be 12 pages of extremely in-depth medical and personal information, mostly aimed at travelers on trips. For instance, it wanted to know if your doctor or doctors determined you were "medically able" to "travel" when you signed up for the insurance. What???
The very involved and highly personal claim form basically wants all your medical history and any doctor that has ever been involved in your treatment for your problem, plus your family doctor, all the dates you have ever been treated, and a long and highly confusing "attending physician's statement" regarding their diagnosis, when, where, how, and when did they tell you that you could not "travel". The physician has to determine when she/he advised cancellation of your "trip".
I faxed the form to my poor doctor, who could not figure out how to answer all the travel questions. I have had minor back problems for decades, but nothing that would really ground me like this has. Nevertheless, the claim forms require a complete litany of any doctor who has EVER treated me. I was required to sign a release for all my medical information to this "travel" insurance outfit.
So now I am waiting for my very busy doctor to find the time to fill out these invasive forms, then I will have to send them to the insurance company, let them poke around and "consult" about my "claim" for a few months. Meanwhile, the local pass people assure me they WILL charge my credit card for the full amount of the ski pass I won't be using, within a month.
This has taught me a couple of things. First, it probably doesn't pay for me to get a season ski pass in light of our recently quirky winters. Second, if I do decide to get a pass, I definitely won't sign up in APRIL, wildly guessing that I'll be healthy and able to ski 7 or 8 months later. Third, I will NEVER again trust their assurances about the pass "insurance". This was a horrendous mistake, and I will likely never invest in a season pass again. Considering the conditions the last couple of seasons, this is not a good way for the mega-resorts to keep skiers happy and coming back for more.