Friday, March 17, 2006

Don't Fall for the Ski Pass Scam

Skiers and riders beware. If a last minute deal on one of Copper Mountain’s popular ski passes seems too good to be true, it probably is, said Copper spokesperson Carlos Garcia.

Copper Mountain’s four passes are being resold in abundance on the internet and in local classified ads, but the purchaser might end up wishing they’d gone to the ticket window instead.

“From our estimation, 60 percent of pass sales that are happening outside of Copper are involving some type of scam,” Garcia said.

Four passes are typically sold during the early season for anywhere between $69 and $89, and entitle the buyer to four days on the mountain, with some blackout dates, Garcia said. They are not transferable.

Most of the problem takes place on eBay, where a quick search for “Copper Mountain ski pass” brings up a long list of four passes for sale. The scam involves people who bill the pass as a four-day deal when they’ve already used a portion of the allotted days, or people who sell the pass, then call Copper to report it lost. The resort will send out a new pass and cancel the pass the person just sold on eBay.

“They’re selling nothing and screwing over (the buyer),” Garcia said.

Copper Mountain prohibits people from reselling its tickets anywhere on its property. It’s also illegal to resell lift tickets from any ski area — be it on eBay, in the classified ads or via a different venue — if the voucher is being sold for a profit, he said.

Illegally reselling a ski pass is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $300 fine, said Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Paulette Horr.

While Copper has had to call in the sheriff’s office on occasion to cite scalpers, the resort is attempting to handle the problem on its own. It has contacted eBay about pulling the illegal ads off its website, and has been in touch with local newspapers with the same request.

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