Most of Colorado’s larger resorts now offer insurance on their season passes, and buyers are increasingly taking advantage of policies that provide prorated returns in case of injury, illness or a job change that prevents skiing. Ski resorts, in turn, are implementing stricter no-refund policies because of the availability of the policies.
It is a win-win for the resorts, profit is made by selling the insurance policies and it allows the resort to adopt a no-refund policy. But for the average skier, it can be a tough decision. The cost of the insurance correlates with the price of the pass. Insurance on season passes to Vail’s four Colorado hills, Copper Mountain and Intrawest’s Winter Park and Steamboat cost $20, and a policy for Aspen Skiing’s $1,819 premier pass costs $109.
Travel Guard, the largest provider of vacation travel insurance in North America, provides season-pass coverage to 20 ski areas across the country. The company’s season-pass program began at Vail and has been adopted at Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Steamboat and all four Aspen Skiing Co. ski areas.
Vail Resorts, which began offering pass insurance five years ago, has adopted a strict zero-refund policy. The company estimates about 30 percent of its roughly 300,000 pass holders have insured their passes with policies that cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids.
This marks the ninth season Aspen Skiing has offered insurance on its season passes. Last season, 18 percent of people with passes purchased insurance and roughly 2.5 percent of those ended up filing claims. This year the company expects to sell even more policies.
Intrawest, which is offering $20 insurance pass policies at Winter Park and Steamboat for the first time this season, has also adopted a simple no-refund policy.