SilverStar's season ticket policy leaves locals out in the cold - InfoNews

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SilverStar's season ticket policy leaves locals out in the cold

An image from the village webcam, Thursday, March 21, 2019 at SilverStar Mountain Resort.
Image Credit: SilverStar Mountain Resort
September 27, 2020 - 6:00 AM

A move by SilverStar Mountain Resort to limit the number of season lift passes sold this year has angered many longtime skiers and snowboarders who have missed out on purchasing a yearly pass.

Somewhat unexpectedly, SilverStar announced Sept. 18, had it had sold out of unlimited use lift tickets for the season, catching many people off guard.

"It's turning their backs on their repeat season pass holders," Lake Country resident Chris Neid told "It doesn't look good, and it doesn't seem like they really care about their locals."

Neid said his family of five have bought season passes each year for the last five years, and wasn't aware SilverStar was limiting the number of tickets sold this year until he went to buy them and couldn't.

Armstrong resident Raphaël Arsenault Coulombe tells a similar story.

Arsenault Coulombe said he wasn't even aware SilverStar had limited season ticket numbers until he went to buy some and found they were sold out. Arsenault Coulombe said he and his family had six season passes last year and had planned to do the same this year.

As last year's season ended early due to COVID-19, Arsenault Coulombe, along with all other pass holders, had a discount voucher for this season's pass. Neid said on top of the vouchers he has $450 credit for ski school lessons after they were cut short in March.

An early bird unlimited season pass at SilverStar cost $899, considerably cheaper than the $129 charged to ski for one day at the weekend.

Season lift tickets had been on sale for six months and SilverStar had advertised that season passes at early bird prices would be available until Sept. 27. But then a few days before they sold out on Sept. 18, the resort announced tickets were limited and selling fast. It caught a lot of people off guard.

"I'm mostly mad at the way they did," Arsenault Coulombe said. "I was pretty disappointed."

And he's one of many, as numerous people – many who say they've been regular customers for years – who took to the company's Facebook page to complain about the lack of notice given by the resort that tickets were limited and had sold out. Many also questioned how they could use their vouchers if there were no tickets to buy?

SilverStar Mountain Resort spokesperson Chantelle Deacon told the company decided to limit the number of seasons passes sold this year because of COVID-19.

"Our top priority is, and will continue to be keeping the community and our staff safe, because of the pandemic we just feel that because of the protocols of B.C. Health and Interior Health that is was something that we absolutely had to do to keep the numbers down on the mountain this year," Deacon said.

Deacon wouldn't say how many seasons tickets they normally sell or how many they sold this year, instead saying it is "significantly less."

"It's an unfortunate situation and it's definitely not something that we wanted to do this year however with COVID-19 and the global pandemic we thought it necessary," Deacon said.

She also defended the companies late announcement that tickets were limited.

"When we said (seasons tickets) were limited they sold out within 24 hours, so we could have done it a week earlier but they would have sold out within 24 hours," Deacon said.

Neid doesn't buy it.

"Giving 24 hours notice is hardly giving your dedicated season pass holders an opportunity to buy these things before they essentially sold out," he said, adding he thought the decision had been "poorly managed."

SilverStar has released restricted season tickets but they're not valid for use on Saturdays or holidays, blacking a total of 25 days in the season. They also cost the same amount.

"I debated not buying a (restricted) pass because I was mad at them," Arsenault Coulombe said. "But it's punishing myself more than punishing them."

However, Arsenault Coulombe says he'll only snowboard with his six-year-old, and the rest of the family won't get a SilverStar pass.

With skiing and snowboarding being a big part of their families' lives throughout the winter, both men say they're very disappointed in the way that SilverStar has gone about the ticket situation.

"It's going to call into question next year when hopefully this whole COVID-19 thing passes over," Neid said. "Then maybe we wont go back there if this is how they're going to treat us now, how are you going to treat us in the future?"

While Sun Peaks Resort also capped and sold out, its season passes, it appears Kelowna's Big White Ski Resort may take advantage of this.

"With other resorts cutting off the sale of their season pass, Big White Ski Resort is pleased to confirm that our early bird season pass will continue to be on sale until Oct. 18 at midnight," the resort posted to social media saying it will not be restricting the number of passes.

However, Arsenault Coulombe says he'll head to Revelstoke on the days his SilverStar pass is blocked out, and Neid says his family will probably just give skiing a miss this year.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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