Vail Resorts announces details of 2010-11 Eagle County Merchant Pass program

By Real Vail
October 24, 2010

Vail Resorts last week announced details for the Eagle County Merchant Pass program, which is consistent with the product offering from years past and offers access to skiing and snowboarding on more than 11,000 acres at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with some restrictions. The Merchant Pass will be offered for $599. The price of the pass will be subject to change with sufficient notice.

The Merchant Pass program has a long history and is a compelling hiring tool for local businesses due to the wide-ranging benefits for employees and, most importantly, unlike other pass products, the pass ownership resides with the business versus an individual and features a one-time transfer for $100 to accommodate employee changes. Unlike the Epic Pass where the pass holder owns the pass and it cannot be revoked or transferred by an employer regardless of who paid for it, the Merchant Pass is owned by the “merchant” or business, and in the event that an employee leaves, the pass may be revoked by the business and transferred to another employee. The Merchant Pass will be restricted at Vail and Beaver Creek Nov. 26-27, 2010, Dec. 27-31, 2010 and Feb.19-20, 2011.

The Merchant Pass provides a number of ancillary benefits to employees. Benefit offerings include access to Vail Resorts' new EpicMix functionality, six ski-with-a-friend tickets and four $59 lift tickets, summer lift access at Vail and Beaver Creek (excluding bike haul), Adventure Ridge discounts, one free ski or snowboard group lesson at Vail or Beaver Creek and more. Some restrictions apply for these benefits.

“The Merchant Pass program delivers a valuable and affordable tool for community employers and Vail Resorts is pleased to continue providing the program which also includes an important class that focuses on our commitment to providing exceptional guest service when people come to our resorts and communities.” said John Garnsey, co-president of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division.

Qualifying for the Merchant Pass

In order to be eligible for the Merchant Pass program, businesses must first belong to the Vail Chamber & Business Association (VCBA), Vail Valley Partnership (VVP) or Beaver Creek Resort Company (BCRC). Second, businesses must participate in one of two customer service programs: “Service to the Power of You,” or the “Platinum Service Program.”

Sponsored by Vail Resorts, VVP and VCBA, “Service to the Power of You,” will be offered on Thursday, Nov. 4 from 8-11 a.m. at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa.

The program will be presented by Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE and author of “The Fred Factor.” Sanborn is the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc, a leadership development consultancy. The presentation will address how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, regardless of job title through the story of Fred in Sanborn's bestselling book. Attendees will learn the principles, strategies and tactics for being the service provider customers love and tell others about, including how to create value without spending money to do it, the power of treating customers like friends, the one-a-day principles and how to have more “Freds” on your team.

John Garnsey, co-president of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division, and Chris Jarnot, senior vice president of Vail Resorts and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain, will kick-off the meeting to put the importance of serving our guests in perspective within the framework of today's economic conditions. The presentation is open to all members but only those in good standing of the VVP, VCBA, and BCRC are eligible for the pass. Businesses are strongly encouraged to send management to this important meeting.

The “Platinum Service Program”, managed by the Vail Valley Partnership, is a “secret shopper” program, which evaluates and recognizes outstanding customer service in the Vail Valley. A variety of participation levels are available. For more information or to sign up, visit or contact Jen Weintraub, Events & Membership Manager at (970) 477-4001 or by email at

Additional Merchant Pass Benefits

* Adventure Ridge discounts include: $15 off tubing, $3 off trampoline and $15 off a ski bike tour. Offers are valid Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 4 - Feb. 10, 2011. Adventure Ridge Is Open Tues.-Sat. 2-9 p.m. Reservations are encouraged for ski biking. Call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245). You must have your Merchant Pass present to receive discounts and discounts are only valid for Merchant Pass holders. All participants must sign a release of liability to participate in any Adventure Ridge activity.

* A Merchant Pass may be transferred once to another employee from the same business for $100.

* Four $59 lift tickets provide the option to purchase a ticket to ski and ride during restricted periods. The $59 tickets also may be used for friends and family all season.

* Six ski-with-a-friend tickets offer up to six days of unrestricted skiing or snowboarding for family or friends at a discounted rate that varies by date. Tickets will be electronically loaded onto the Merchant Pass and can be redeemed at any ticket window. Payment does not need to be made by the merchant pass holder; friend or family may pay for the ticket. Pass holder must be present.

* One free adult ski or snowboard group lesson at Vail or Beaver Creek, valid Nov. 28-Dec. 13, 2010 or Jan. 8-9, Jan. 22-23, 2011. Or use your free lesson on a Nordic lesson/tour in Vail Dec. 12-13, 2010.

* Pass holders also can purchase a three-day series adult ski or snowboard group lesson; three consecutive days for the price of two for $270 in Vail or $280 in Beaver Creek.

* Discounted Eagle County/Lake County Student Pass Offer: Any Eagle or Lake County parent or legal guardian who purchase a Vail Resorts season pass may purchase one Eagle County/Lake County Student Pass at a discounted price for his or her child. Forms may be obtained from Eagle or Lake County School Districts.

* Access to the features of EpicMix, a digital application that guests can access online, at their computer or via a free mobile application that can be downloaded for the iPhone, Android or other smart phone. EpicMix automatically captures the activity of guests by leveraging Vail Resorts' state-of-the-art radio frequency (RF) scanners that have been installed at each lift. An RF-enabled chip embedded in Vail Resorts' season passes, including the Merchant Pass, will automatically track lift rides, calculating vertical feet skied and days on the mountain and will recognize special achievements and accomplishments by granting guests commemorative, collectible digital pins. EpicMix will have hundreds of available digital pins for a multitude of unique experiences available at each resort. No information collected through EpicMix will be shared unless a guest “opts in” and specifically chooses to share their information. All information collected through EpicMix is subject to the strict privacy policies of Vail Resorts. For more information, visit

To obtain a Merchant Pass, businesses must contact their qualified association to determine eligibility. All Merchant Pass information is distributed through the associations. Vail Merchant Pass sales will begin Nov. 5 at the Lionshead Pass Office. Beaver Creek will begin selling the Merchant Pass on Nov. 6. Vail Mountain is scheduled to open Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 and Beaver Creek Mountain is scheduled to open Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010.

For additional information about the 2010-2011 Vail Resorts Merchant Pass, call (970) SKI-3080 (754-3080) or e-mail For information about the “Service to the Power of You” or Platinum Service Program, call the Vail Valley Partnership at (970) 477-4001or e-mail For class information you may also contact Vail Chamber & Business Association, call (970) 477-0075 or email, and for the Beaver Creek Resort Company, call (970) 845-5972.

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