Family frustrated by lack of refund from Whistler Blackcomb after cancelling trip due to pandemic

·2 min read

A Saskatchewan family is struggling to get a refund from Whistler Blackcomb after cancelling a ski vacation, as officials urge Canadians to stop all non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Susan Nichol says her family, from Saskatoon, is being responsible by not taking the trip to Whistler, B.C., scheduled for Feb. 13-20, and that means at least some of the $1,700 they spent on ski passes should be returned.

Nichol said they booked their trip to Whistler Blackcomb last fall, when COVID-19 case numbers were much lower in British Columbia.

But circumstances have changed dramatically during the winter months, with a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and provincial government officials advising against travel between provinces and within B.C.

Nichol decided to cancel the family's flights, accommodation and passes earlier this month.

"Given what's going on with cases, it's just not the right thing to do," said Nichol.

She says she got a refund for the family's accommodation within three days of cancelling — but it's been a different story trying to get money back from Vail Resorts, which owns Whistler Blackcomb.

Nichol said she purchased four five-day Edge cards for the resort for a total of $1,700.

In March 2020, Vail Resorts introduced the Whistler Blackcomb five-day Edge card which it said in a news release was exclusively available to residents of Canada and Washington State.

She said she submitted a cancellation request on Jan. 7 and has been waiting ever since to hear about a refund.

Refund policy not clear

It's unclear if the circumstances limiting travel to the area due to the pandemic would qualify the family for a full refund.

According to the Vail Resorts website, the company covers "refunds associated with illness, job loss, injury and certain resort closures, such as any due to COVID-19."

In a statement, a Vail Resorts spokesperson confirmed the company would provide a refund in the case of a resort closure, but did not specify if travel restrictions warrant a refund or a credit.

"We know some of our pass holders are experiencing additional challenges this season. We sincerely understand their frustrations and will take all guest concerns into consideration at the end of the season as we seek to retain the loyalty of our pass holders," the spokesperson said.

Nichol is hoping that given the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, the company will return at least some of her money.

"I completely understand that we wouldn't get a full refund. I would just like some type of recognition that travelling across provinces isn't the right thing to do and that they want to do something for their customer," she said.