A single mother says Marble Mountain’s policy on family passes discriminates against some variations of families, such as her and her seven-year-old son.
Dawn Leja wants to see that policy changed, either in its scope or its wording, after receiving an email from the ski resort on Newfoundland’s west coast that her family of two didn’t qualify for the pass.
That’s despite the fact that she had already bought it on Marble’s website a week or so earlier.
“I just found it really disheartening to get that response from them, especially after the fact that I had already purchased it. They had already accepted the money for the passes,” said Leja, who lives in Corner Brook.
Marble’s family pass eligibility is based on a family of three or more members, defined as including at least one parent and children or students living at the same residence.
The pass also comes at a significant discount. For Leja to purchase individual season’s passes for her and her son, under the early bird pricing, she would have to spend $150 more than if she could buy them under the family pass rate.
Group vs. family
Leja was aware of the family pass policy, saying she had brought the issue up to resort staff last ski season. But she assumed something had changed when Marble took her money this year.
“I would really like them to honour the purchase,” she said.
The really should be reclassifying it as a group rate.– Dawn Leja
“If there was an error on their end, on the website… that’s not my fault.”
The provincially owned and operated Marble Mountain did not respond to CBC requests for an interview.
Now, Leja says she wants to see the resort make changes, not only for her but for others who don’t fit Marble’s policy, such as other two-person families, or parents and children who might live in separate households but together constitute a family, regardless of address.
“I really think that they need to look at what their policies are,” she told CBC Radio’s Newfoundland Morning.
And if Marble doesn’t want to revisit its definition of family, Leja said, then they should remove the word altogether.
“They cannot call it a family pass. They really should be reclassifying it as a group rate,” she said.
Encourage more skiers
Whatever the larger outcome, Leja says the price difference probably means she won’t buy an season’s pass for herself, but will instead occasionally buy day passes to join her son skiing.
The resort has struggled with declining skier numbers for years. Its latest data available tallied 59,402 ski visits for the 2017-18 ski season, a six per cent decrease from the previous year and a steep drop from the 95,270 visits logged a decade earlier, in 2007-08.
With that in mind, Leja asked why the resort would put up barriers to potential business.
“The point of a season’s pass is to encourage more people to use the hill,” she said.
“When you have people on the hill, they’re more likely to go inside, spend money on concessions, and that’s really where Marble Mountain is making all of their money.”
Leja is still hoping a solution can be worked out between her family and the resort, but if not, she said she’ll keep the spat from affecting her son’s enjoyment of his favourite winter sport.
“My son loves to ski, and I don’t want this to have an impact on his love of skiing,” she said.