Sadly it has become a case of not if, but when the greater Sydney area lockdown passed 30 consecutive days.
Starting on 6PM Saturday June 26 from the Greater Sydney area, it is set to last at least through August.
As we reported back on July 13, Vail Resorts in Australia (Perisher Blue Py Ltd*) faced an epic refund bill if the greater Sydney area lockdown hits 30 consecutive days.
That has now happened, and is the key trigger the will affect most EPIC Australia Pass holders from the area – who are presumably by far the largest market for the pass.
According to their terms and conditions (key clauses below see the website for full details) pass holders have 30 days from when that happens to claim a refund.
That means for those waiting and hoping to get some mileage from their pass in September if the lockdown does end then – which looks like a safe bet snow wise as dumps continue to build and the season just gets better – should make a note to decide by mid-August.
This was our earlier report from mid-July; we didn’t need to be Nostradamus to predict what has happened since:
“As case numbers stay high – 122 on Monday, 89 Tuesday, 97 on Wednesday, with plenty of those still in the community while infectious, the chances of lockdown lifting early look increasingly remote. Experts are saying it’s still a couple of weeks before it peaks.”
The was July 14, cases have risen steadily since to 172 on Tuesday 27 July and another 177 today 28 July – which was a day past the 30 days of consecutive lock down/travel restriction orders.
So the key clause in the lengthy terms and conditions of the EPIC Coverage refund policy boils down to this one for most people affected – regardless of whether you nominated Perisher, Falls, Hotham, All Australian Resorts, or All Resorts as your preferred option:
“Stay-at Home Order. You are unable to use your pass during the applicable Core Season because the municipality, county, state, province, or country in which your Permanent Residence is located is subject to a “quarantine,” “stay-at-home,” “shelter-in-place” or other comparable mandatory governmental order lasting thirty (30) or more consecutive days. Your “Permanent Residence” refers to your fixed, permanent and principal home for legal and tax purposes.”
Buyers had to choose to apply either ‘Specific Week’ 7 day consecutive dates of their choice, or a ‘Core Season Visit’ (defined as June 26 – September 12) for which lost period qualified them for a ‘Personal Refund Event’ under their Epic Coverage.
“If you do not make an election, your default elections for coverage under this policy will automatically be “All Australian Resorts” and “Core Season Visit”
The EPIC Coverage is pretty comprehensive. The range of personal events from job transfer to illness are very broad. Sure, there is a lot of detail to wade through in the terms and conditions. You can read the full conditions here
But the bottom line for most Sydney based skiers and boarders is they will be eligible for refunds now the lockdown has passed 30 consecutive days.
A couple of key considerations apply to that.
If you have already used the pass prior to lockdown refunds will be reduced according to the following scale:
Time limitations apply for Refund Requests – within 30 days of the event arising. So even if the lockdown continues for weeks more, you should get your refund request in within 30 days of the lockdown hitting 30 days.
If you think things may open up in time to let you get in more days later in September you could hold off till near the end of 30 days after the 30 days of lockdown – like around 20 August – to decide.
If you did select a specific week that 30 day deadline for the event arising presumably runs from the end of that week – so don’t delay in that case.
When you apply for and get a refund – whether full or pro rata – your pass is then deactivated, and even if lockdown ends before season ends your pass is not valid.
Remember, this disaster is not Perisher’s fault at all.
We have long called it the World’s best value ski pass, and it’s hard to argue with that. Unless you are prevented from using it at home or overseas, as A lot of Aussies are at the moment (if we can’t even go to New Zealand you would not bet much on our chances of traveling to America, Canada or Japan for the 21-22 winter).
Submitting an Epic Australia Pass Refund Request
You can’t do this in person at a resort office. Lodge your claim on the link here
*Perisher Blue Pty Limited supplies the Epic Australia Pass for use at Perisher, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek in Australia and other ski areas owned and operated by Vail Resorts, Inc., its affiliates and partner resort operators.
Update 15/9/21: Thousands of refunds have been processed already. Ongoing lockdowns wrecked the rest of the season for many – us included! So bummed, but there it is. 2022 Pass went on sale today with lowest rates available for $49 down until October 20